Broccoli Rabe + Caramelized Fennel Sausage Stromboli
If there was ever a savory recipe on the blog I’d urge you to make, it’s probably this one. It is epic. First of all: we should probably talk about what a stromboli is. Think of it as a cousin of both the pizza and calzone. It is typically filled with meats, cheese, vegetables, and other various pizza related things and then rolled up like a burrito, brushed with a shiny veneer of egg wash, and baked to golden brown perfection. They require little extra effort than making a homemade pizza pie does and they are just as delicious, if not more. And if you’ve spent any amount of time here, you know I’m a bit of a pizza connoisseur. I only use the best ingredients because if I’m gonna make a stromboli, it’s gonna be the best.
That’s why I partnered with Muir Glen to create this recipe and headed to Central coop here in Seattle to pick up all the goods, including plenty of Muir Glen tomatoes. We’re going to use some diced in the actual stromboli and some sauce to make a quick dipping sauce because you can’t have stromboli without a dipping sauce, in my humble opinion. You know I love shopping local and supporting my community and local farmers and shopping at the coop is a great way to do that. Beyond that, they are not a grocery chain, but rather a member of the community themselves so they work for the sustainable development of their communities and because they are member owned and operated, being a member means they operate with complete autonomy and independence. In other words: they put their community and members first! And from January 16th through the 29th, all 14 oz cans of Muir Glen Tomatoes are 10 for $10 at your local coop. You can find your local coop here.
Along with the tomatoes, I chose to grab some broccoli rabe with fennel and sausage because it’s a classic pairing. The broccoli rabe, also called rapini, is a bit bitter and the sweet sausage and fennel along with the sweet and juicy diced tomatoes will be a perfect counterpoint. The result is a perfect, savory blend of Italian flavors all wrapped up in a gooey, cheesy little pocket. And the crust on the outside gets nice and crispy and almost soft-pretzel like on the outside with the egg wash and flaky salt. Not a bad thing. I hope you give this a try and let me know if you do!
Broccoli Rabe + Caramelized Fennel Sausage Stromboli
olive oil, for sauteing
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
pinch of red pepper flakes (or as much spice as you’d like)
1 small bunch broccoli rabe (also called rapini, about 6 oz), ends trimmed and roughly chopped
Himalayan pink salt, to taste
8 oz sweet Italian chicken sausage (could also sub pork)
1 medium fennel bulb, cored and thinly sliced (fronds reserved)
1 lb store-bought pizza dough
4 oz low-moisture mozzarella cheese, shredded
4 oz fontina cheese, shredded
1 14 oz can Muir Glen Diced Tomatoes San Marzano Style with Italian Herbs, drained well and patted dry on paper towels
1 T fresh oregano, finely chopped
1 T fresh basil, finely chopped
1 egg, lightly beaten
fennel fronds (reserved from bulb)
1 14 oz can Muir Glen No Salt Added Tomato Sauce
pinch of Himalayan pink salt
fresh basil, roughly chopped
prepare the fillings
Preheat oven to 500 F. In a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat, add in a good drizzle of olive oil and toss in the garlic and saute for a minute or two, until fragrant. Add in the red pepper flakes and toss them around in the oil then add in the broccoli rabe. Toss to coat in the oil and garlic and red pepper flake and season with salt to taste. Saute for about 4-5 minutes, until just crisp-tender, tossing occasionally. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. In the same skillet, add another small glug of olive oil and add in the sausage. Break it up into smaller pieces with a wooden spoon and cook until just cooked through, about 5-8 minutes. Remove from pan and add into bowl with the broccoli rabe. Add another glug of olive oil and add in the sliced fennel. Toss to coat and season to taste with salt then allow to cook until deep golden and caramelized and tender, about 10-15 minutes. You want to really take your time and bring out the natural sugars in the fennel here because its sweetness will really help offset the bitter edge of the broccoli rabe. Remove from heat and add to the broccoli rabe and sausage mixture.
assemble and bake
On a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet, sprinkle a little flour over and then gently hand-stretch the dough on it into a rough rectangle shape, using the baking sheet as a guide. You don’t want to go too thin here, so aim for about 1/4 inch thickness. It does not need to be as large as the baking sheet. Sprinkle the cheeses evenly over the dough, going all the way to the edges on 3 sides and leaving a 2 inch border on 1 of the longer sides. We’ll use this for sealing the stromboli. Evenly sprinkle over the sausage, broccoli rabe, and fennel mixture. Repeat with tomatoes. Sprinkle over the fresh herbs then beginning with the longest side we left the gap on furthest from you, begin rolling up the stromboli. Roll it all the way up until just the plain 2 inch dough border is left and pull that up over the roll and pinch the dough to seal. Position the stromboli so the seam is on the bottom then tuck the edges of the exposed sides under the bottom as well, like a little present. Brush generously all over the surface with egg wash then sprinkle with flaky salt and the reserved fennel fronds. Use a sharp knife to create a few vent holes on top to allow the steam to escape while baking. Allow to rise again for about 15 minutes then bake for about 10-15 minutes or until deep golden brown and cheese is bubbling out of the vent holes, rotating halfway though. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes then slice into about 1 1/2 inch pieces and serve with dipping sauce.
make the dipping sauce
While the stromboli is baking, make a quick dipping sauce by combining the tomato sauce, salt and basil in a small saucepan. Heat over medium heat until just warmed through. Remove from heat, transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle on a little more chopped basil.