Don’t let the fact that this French bread pizza rustica doesn’t have a sauce on it throw you off. Every bite is incredible. All of your favorite toppings, but with a little twist. Spinach. Yes, spinach. You can play around with the toppings, substituting whatever suits your fancy, but don’t leave out the spinach.
I’ve found variations on this French bread pizza rustica online, and some have you cook the vegetables a bit before putting them onto the bread. I opted to skip that step. We found the slightly crunchy (they do cook a bit in the oven) vegetables to be perfect. If you do want to cook the vegetables, just add to the skillet after you cook the Italian sausage and saute for about 5 minutes.
Also make my baked Italian sub pizza.
French Bread Pizza Rustica
- 1 large loaf French bread
- 1 pound Italian sausage
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 small red bell pepper seeded, chopped
- 1/2 small green bell pepper seeded, chopped
- 1 small red onion chopped
- 2 cloves garlic chopped
- 1 12 ounce package frozen chopped spinach, defrosted, squeezed dry
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 cups Ricotta
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
- 1/2 stick pepperoni chopped
- 4 cups shredded Mozzarella and Provolone cheese mixture
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon or more dried red pepper flakes
- Preheat your oven to 425 F.
- Split the bread lengthwise. Optionally, hollow out the loaf by removing some of the bread. Love toppings? Hollow it out. Want less topping? Don't hollow it out. (You might have topping left over).
- Crumble sausage into a large skillet with the oil and cook until done.
- Remove and let cool. Optionally, transfer sausage to a food processor and pulse a few times to make the meat finer.
- Transfer meat to a large bowl.
- Add the remaining ingredients and stir.
- Spread mixture out onto the bread halves.
- Place bread on baking sheets and bake for 10-15 minutes or until the bread is crunchy and the cheese starts to melt. Place under the broiler to brown lightly if desired.