I had a law professor who once said, “they are two things in life that you don’t want to see how they are made; one is sausage and second is the law.” We all laughed so hard, and I’ll never forget this mad analogy. However, I still like the sausage better than congress.
Generally speaking, I too, don’t want to know how the sausage is made(even though once I was), however, if you have moved on with those troubling thoughts, it’s time to know how a good sausage appetizer is made.
This sausage appetizers are real easy to make, and they require only few ingredients. This appetizers are perfect party food. Make plenty. Take them to your office party or a friend’s potluck, and watch them vanish.
Thanks professor for traumatizing me for years, but I’m still gonna get it going on with spicy Italian sausage!
1 sheet frozen puff pastry(10”x15”), defrosted
2 lb. spicy Italian sausage(about 7-8 links)
3 tbsp olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced in 1/2 inch squares
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp tomato paste
2-3 cups shredded Mozzarella cheese
1 small red onion, diced in 1.5”x1/8” pieces
1 tsp of Aleppo pepper (if not available, use Ancho chile or paprika)
A pinch of kosher salt
A pinch of black pepper
Defrost one sheet of puff pastry overnight in the refrigerator, and leave it out at room temperature just about 5-10 minutes before you are ready to unroll it.
Cover a medium sheet pan with aluminum foil, and place a piece of parchment paper over the foil coverage.
Cut each sausage lengthwise, and remove sausages from its casing. Place a medium teflon pan on the stovetop over medium heat, and place all the sausages in the pan. Break each sausage into very small bite size pieces with a wooden spatula. Turn the sausages quiet frequently to make sure all the sides are browned evenly. Remove the pan from the heat, and drain all the grease by using a strainer or discard the grease by tilting the pan over the sink using a big flat spatula to hold sausages from sliding.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a frying pan, and add the diced onions. Season with a pinch of salt and black pepper, and sauté it until lightly golden about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and Aleppo pepper and sauté for 1 more minute. Then add the tomato paste to this mixture, stirring everything together and sauté for 2-3 more minutes. Next, add the onion mixture to the browned sausages, and sauté everything together for additional 3-5 minutes until the flavors combine. Allow the mixture to cool down to warm/room temperature.
Preheat the oven to 380 degrees F.
Place the defrosted puff pastry on a clean, flat kitchen surface, and unroll it gently until it is flat. Gently lift it up with your both hands, and transfer it to the lined up sheet pan. We really don’t need any floured surface because we are not using rolling pin to roll out the pastry, but dust some flour under the pastry if it makes you comfortable while working.
Eyeball and dived the mozzarella cheese to half. Use the first half, and spread it evenly over the pastry. Then, gently spread the sausage mixture on its top without pressing down into the pastry. Next, top the sausage mixture with the red onions. At last, in a polka dot fashion, spread out the remaining mozzarella, so the finished pastry shows off all of its ingredients.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the pastry is puffed and golden brown. Allow to cool for 15 minutes, and with a sharp knife cut it to bite size squares. Serve warm or room temperature.
- When working with puff pastry, you need to be ready to assemble the toppings or fillings right after it has been rolled out. If the ingredients are not prepared and ready to go, just place the pastry on its lined up sheet pan and put it in the refrigerator, until you are ready to assemble.
- Do not rush through the process of browning the sausages. Keep them on medium heat, so they can cook first and then get nicely brown. Cooking them on high heat will toughen their texture.
- Please do not skip on parchment paper coverage, mainly because cheese easily sticks to the foil, and you'll have a hard time separating the pastry after baking. Also, parchment paper insures that the delicate flavor of the dough will not change.
- Resist the temptation to overload the dough with more ingredients(weight wise) to keep the pastry flaky. Also, stay away from mixtures that are too moist or too greasy, since the pastry will not rise properly again!
- Sometimes, I mix half sweet and half spicy sausages for a milder flavor. Additionally, you may substitute the pork sausage with other chicken or turkey sausage varieties, that are also available in kosher and halal styles.