It’s unseasonably warm outside and there’s no sign of snow this winter season. Snow for us in the south is like a big adventure. We wake up extra early and peek out at the glistening white powder that frosts the once dreary landscape. We whisper to the children, “Get up and look out the window!,” and then we watch their sleepy eyes grow wide with excitement when they realize that this day will be special. One for making memories. We brew a big pot of coffee and hover in front of the morning news, waiting for our district to announce its closing. When it finally scrolls across the bottom of the screen, the children whoop and holler and stumble towards the bedroom in their socked feet scrambling to find something suitable for a snow day.
They stuff their toes into year old snow boots and dig through drawers for waterproof gloves. With snow only dusting the ground once or twice a year here, snowy clothes are hard to come by. I can remember when I was about 8 my mom made us tie plastic bags over our shoes so they wouldn’t get all wet. All fashion sense goes out the window when snow falls in the south.
It does not matter if the dawn is still an hour away. It doesn’t matter if you have to use a pool float for a makeshift sled. No one cares that your snowman is muddy or that you have to scrape every available surface to make a decent snowball. We do ridiculous amounts of laundry (because everytime the kids head out into the wintry cold they change their clothes) and make dozens of mugs of hot chocolate. Snow cream gets mixed on the kitchen table and we all hover over it with spoons. There is no need to drive because everything is closed, and if you actually made it to the grocery store there would be no bread or milk anyway (what DO THEY DO with all the bread and milk ??). So we dig through the cabinets, take something out of the freezer, and make a cozy meal.
This winter there’s not a chance of snow in sight. It’s February already and the birds are chirping like it’s spring. I’ve resorted to reminiscing over my boys’ favorite cozy winter meal.
Brown Italian sausage on the stove with garlic and onions. Drain any excess grease and set aside.
You can use prepared dough (store bought or from a local pizzeria), or if you planned ahead you can use your own Homemade Pizza Dough. Stretch the dough out and spread it with the cooked sausage, shredded mozzarella cheese, and grated parmesan and romano.
Start from one side and pull about 2 inches of the dough in towards the center.
Fold the corners in towards the center and then gently roll the whole thing up (you can continue tucking the sides in everytime you roll it if your filling starts to spill out). My experience with store-brand store bought pizza dough is that it’s a little too sticky and doesn’t like to stretch so it tears. Pillsbury works pretty well, but this always turns out best when the dough is pliable (homemade!).
When you’ve rolled it all the way up, use a knife to punch holes across the top.
Brush it with olive oil and bake on a pizza stone at 450 for about 25 minutes. If you are not using a pizza stone, make sure that you lightly grease the baking sheet. The crust will be a nice golden brown when it’s finished.
Sausage Roll Up
1 recipe Homemade Pizza Dough OR enough store bought pizza dough for 2 pizzas
1 pound Italian sausage (hot or mild- whatever your preference)
1 1/2 coarsely chopped onions
4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 cups shredded part skim mozzarella cheese, divided (1 cup per roll)
1 cup grated parmesan or romano cheese (1/2 cup per roll)
a little flour for dusting your work surface
a little olive oil for brushing the crust
In a large skillet brown the sausage and use the spatula to crumble it while it cooks. After a minute or two add in the onions and garlic and continue cooking until the sausage is completely browned and the onions and garlic are soft. Drain any excess grease and set aside. Preheat the oven to 450, and if you are using a baking sheet instead of a pizza stone, lightly grease the pan. Making only one roll up at a time, stretch the dough on a lightly floured surface into a rough rectangle. Spread with half of the sausage mixture, 1 cup of the mozzarella cheese, and 1/2 cup of the parmesan romano. Carefully roll it up, puncture slits across the top, and brush with olive oil. Repeat with the second roll up. Bake on a pizza stone or on the prepared baking sheet for about 25 minutes (check for doneness; you don’t want the center to be doughy). Slice and serve!
Happy thoughts of last year’s snow…