This is a great recipe! So delicious, in fact, that it may be a shame to just make this as an appetizer. The meat and cheese combo could be turned into an outstanding sauceless pizza. Just add some mushrooms and sliced onions, and you’d be set! I’ll explain more near the final step of the instructions.
Based on a Food & Wine recipe, this originally calls for 8 oz. of Taleggio cheese, but it’s difficult to find, and it costs about $40 per pound. With that said, $20 for the cheese for this recipe is worth it (Taleggio is really good), but in this case, my local rip-off high-end grocery store was sold out. Brie and Gruyere make outstanding substitutes without being too mild. The Gouda also made for an excellent substitute to the original shredded Fontina that was called for.
What you’ll need
- 1 lb. Italian sausage—sweet or hot—in bulk, or links with the casings removed
- 4 oz. mascarpone cheese or cream cheese—shoot for mascarpone, as it lends a nice sweetness to the dish
- 1T Worcestershire sauce or tonkatsu sauce
- 1t chopped fresh or dried oregano
- 4 oz. Brie cut into medium pieces
- 4 oz. Gruyere, either shredded or cut into medium pieces ounces
- 0.25t kosher salt
- 2 large pieces of flatbread, or the equivalent amount of naan or similar bread
- 4 oz. Gouda cheese, shredded
What to do
If you’re going to make and eat the appetizers or pizza right away, heat your oven to 350°F. Note that the sausage and cheese can be cooked and stored in a covered container for up to 3 days.
Cook the sausage in a 10- or 12-inch nonstick frypan over medium-high heat, breaking it up into small pieces with a spoon until just browned and no longer pink. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage to a large cutting board. Drain off the fat left in the pan and wipe it out with a paper towel. Let the sausage cool until it can be safely handled, then chop up any larger pieces into smaller pieces.
Return the sausage to the frypan over medium-low heat, and stir in the mascarpone, Worcestershire sauce and oregano, until smooth. Add the Brie and Gruyere and slowly cook, stirring often, until the cheeses have melted, and the sausage and cheese mixture is gooey. Remove the frypan from the heat and let the meat and cheeses cool for about 20 minutes.
At this point, you can store the meat and cheese mixture to finish the recipe later, or make it now.
If the oven is at 350°F, cut your flatbread, naan or whatever type of flatbread into about 4-inch by 4-inch pieces, then arrange them on a parchment paper-lined sheet pan. You’ll probably need two sheet pans. Top each piece of bread with enough cheese-sausage mixture to cover its surface. Try to keep it a bit away from the edges. Sprinkle enough Gouda over each piece to just cover the top.
Bake in the oven until the flatbread is toasted and the topping is lightly browned—about 15-20 minutes. Cut each piece into two triangles before serving hot or warm.
Alternatively, you could just make pizzas out of the cheese and sausage mixture. Just top a large flatbread or pizza crust and cook it for the same amount of time as the appetizers in a 350°F oven. While the pizza is baking, sauté some sliced mushrooms and quick-caramelize some onions. When the pizza comes out of the oven, immediately top it with the mushrooms and onions. Cut into slices and serve hot or warm.