Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Stuffed Pizza Pockets

One of my dearest and oldest friends, Megan, is getting married this June. I've been working with some of the other bridesmaids to plan and execute her bachelorette party, which will be at the beginning of May. I'm in charge or bringing one - or maybe more! - appetizers to the bachelorette party. I spent some time today watching cooking shows and looking up recipes for some delicious appetizers, and I found so many yummy things to try. Luckily, John loves being a guinea pig to my cooking, and I've started a bonanza of appetizers in our house. This recipe, by Giada de Laurentis, also known as the cook from Everyday Italian, was the first I tried and it was delicious.

I've gotten a few requests for vegetarian dishes and I've been really thinking about how to modify my non-vegetarian dishes or fun neutral ones to make (John loves his meat, sorry!). This recipe calls for Italian sausage, but I really think that you could substitute the sausage for mushrooms, peppers, or other veggie pizza toppings. If any of you try some substitutions, I'd love to ear how they work out for you. Happy hosting! :)

Stuffed Pizza Pockets
Recipe by Giada de Laurentis
Yields about 16 pizza pockets
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*13.5 oz can of pizza dough (I found it by the juice and biscuits in the refrigerated section)
*8 oz Italian turkey sausage (or regular Italian sausage)
*1 cup packed arugula, chopped
*1/2 package or 4 oz cream cheese (I used the light cream cheese and it tasted great!)
*1/3 cup parmesan cheese (plus more to sprinkle over pizza pockets)
*1 egg, beaten
*1 1/2 cups marinara sauce (can or homemade - my Simple Tomato Sauce recipe is here)

*Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

*Cook sausage in olive oil until crumbled and golden, about 5 minutes depending on how hot your skillet was to start. Add arugula and cook  until it is wilted. Turn off heat and cool for 10 minutes.

*Mix cream cheese, parmesan cheese and pinch of salt and pepper in a bowl. Add sausage and arugula. Stir to combine.

*Roll out pizza dough (labeled "pizza crust" in the grocery store) on a floured surface to a 20x12 inch rectangle (I say eyeball it). Cut in half lengthwise. Cut each half into 8 equal rectangles (as you'll see below, mine were not all equal).

*Spoon mixture onto 1 side of each rectangle. Brush the edges of the rectangle with egg wash (aka beaten egg). Close dough and use a fork to crimp and seal the dough (Warning: this process, while easy, is a bit tedious. See pictures below if wording is confusing!).

*Place pockets on parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush each top with egg wash and sprinkle with parmesan cheese (your preference!). Bake until golden, about 12-17 minutes. (Recipe called for 15-17, but mine were done closer to 12).

*Serve with warm marinara. (Or, if you're like John, serve with marinara, cheese and ranch dressing!)

Ground sausage and arugula, off heat

My rolled and cut pizza crust

I started filling each pocket so I could assess which needed more/less filling

Fresh out of the oven. Thanks to the parchment paper - no mess on the pan!

Close up

Served with marinara

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