The snow today really got me craving comfort food. I hope you all like this recipe because it is absolutely delicious. DELICIOUS. It’s like, deep dish pizza, but without all of the work of the crust. It’s packed with flavor. And meat. And cheesy goodness. Excuse me as I make another hole in my belt.
Anyway, I created this recipe for a contest. Johnsonville is currently having an Italian Inspiration contest using any Johnsonville Italian Sausage product. I encourage everyone to enter! Who needs to win a cooking vacation for two to Italy? Everyone.
I obviously wanted to do something that made Johnsonville’s Sweet Italian Sausage the star of the show. I know I succeeded. I can’t even tell you how unbelievable this sausage-pepperoni-Canadian bacon pot pie tastes. It’s also loaded with gooey cheese, which really puts it over the top. Way over. I thought my husband was going to bow down and proclaim me kitchen goddess of all times…basically he couldn’t get enough of this meat lover’s paradise. Okay, neither could I.
I love sweet Italian sausage, so when I made the “pizza” sauce, I mirrored the flavor of the sausage by adding fennel seeds…the sauce and the sausage played together nicely. It has such intense, incredible flavor. And then I topped the whole thing with flaky puff pastry…OMG…it just melts in your mouth.
Your family is going to do flips for this and ask for it again and again.
Sausage Pizza Pot Pies
For the sauce:
1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
For the filling:
2-1/2 Tablespoons Bertolli olive oil, divided
1 green bell pepper, diced
8 oz sliced white mushrooms
3 Johnsonville sweet Italian sausages
24 pepperoni slices, diced
2 oz Canadian bacon, diced (already cooked)
2-1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1/2 cup Kraft Parmesan cheese
2 sheets puff pastry, thawed
1 egg white
Preheat oven to 375o F. Place frozen puff pastry sheets on counter and let thaw while you are getting the ingredients together. Unfold when thawed and cover with a damp towel if you are not ready to use them right away.
For the sauce, in a medium saucepan, combine all ingredients and simmer on low for 15 minutes. This will help meld all the flavors.
In a medium skillet, warm 2 Tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add green pepper and mushrooms, sauteing until softened, about 7 minutes; remove from pan. Set aside. Without cleaning pan, turn heat to low and add remaining 1/2 Tablespoon of olive oil. Place sausages in pan and brown on all sides. I spend about 10 minutes browning my sausages. I use tongs and hold them on their ends and sides to get a beautiful golden color all over. It’s worth the time spent. When sausages are done, cut them lengthwise, then crosswise into a 1/2″ dice.
In a large bowl, combine sauce, green pepper-mushroom mix, sausage, pepperoni, Canadian bacon,
2 cups mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese; mix well.
Fill ramekins to the top with filling and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese. Place an empty ramekin (or whatever dish you are using) on top of puff pastry sheet to measure the area of the puff pastry sheet for your top crust. Cut a circle slightly larger than the area around your dish. Place puff pastry on top of filled ramekin, pulling and stretching slightly to fit over sides. Seal edges. Brush tops with egg white. Cut slits into puff pastry for venting.
Place ramekins on a cookie sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes or until sauce is bubbling and tops are golden brown. (My oven is commercial grade and I used the convection setting for this recipe. Your crust might take a little longer to brown as my oven tends to run very warm.) Serve immediately.
*This dish serves approximately 6-10 people depending on the size of your serving dishes. I usually mix and match ramekin sizes using 4, 6 and 10 ounce sizes. This allows for smaller sizes for the kids and larger ones for adults. It’s also more fun and rustic when all the dishes are different, use what you have as long as it is oven safe.
Look at the crust…it’s layers of flaky, buttery goodness.