Ciabatta Pizza Sticks

Ciabatta Pizza Sticks
From www.foodfanatic.com, by Dionne Baldwin

Ciabatta Pizza Sticks Photo

When we have friends over on the weekends, they look forward to cooking with us and swapping recipes. That means dinner isn’t ready when they arrive but my family and I are pretty hungry after a day of cleaning and preparing for people to come over.

Our guests always arrive hungry because they know better than to eat before visiting my family and me. Seriously, I cannot imagine anyone saying, "Oh, I ate on the way over." When people come over, we eat. And laugh a lot.

Ciabatta Pizza Sticks Picture

There has been a time or two that I’ve had to think of a last minute appetizer because we are hungry. Once in awhile my efforts to plan the meal and dessert go swimmingly but I forget to plan for an appetizer. You’d think I know better by now. It’s part of the meal, right??

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I began letting our guests bring over items for the meal sometime last year. My intentions have always been good. I never wanted my friends to go out of their way to bring anything, but they actually enjoy contributing ingredients or sometimes signature dishes for us to try. So why not? Besides, it comes in handy when I forget to grab something at the store.

Ciabatta Pizza Sticks Image

These ciabatta pizza sticks were originally made as a spur of the moment appetizer for us to snack on while dinner was cooking. All I had to ask for was a loaf of ciabatta bread from my friend. I had everything else we needed. Sometimes I’ll use ham and pineapple if I don’t have any little sausage balls in the freezer. One of my local grocery stores has them, so I try to keep a few ounces in the freezer. Or I cook my own for freezing. 

I’ve made these pizza sticks for you today because they come together really fast and they don’t take long to bake. Wouldn’t these be perfect to serve when friends come over? You’re going to love these!  

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Ingredients

  • 1 loaf ciabatta
  • 1 24 ounce jar tomato sauce
  • 4 ounces sliced mushrooms
  • 5 ounces sausage balls, already cooked
  • 8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F.
  2. Carefully slice your ciabatta loaf in half horizontally as if you were going to make a giant sandwich out of it.
  3. Lay both pieces crust side down on a baking sheet lined with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.
  4. Spread tomato sauce in an even layer over the bread. You’ll probably have some left over.
  5. Layer on sliced mushrooms and sausage in an even layer.
  6. Top with shredded cheese.
  7. Bake for 10 minutes or until cheese is melted and edges of the bread begins to brown.
  8. Now switch the oven to broil, leaving the oven door open, and continue to broil until cheese is bubbly and begins to brown in places.
  9. Remove from the oven and carefully slice right away.
  10. You can let it cool for a minute or two just until it’s cool enough to eat then serve immediately. Enjoy! 

Notes

  • You can cook your own small pieces of ground Italian sausage ahead of time or you might be able to find them pre-cooked at your local grocery store. They will need to be cooked before baking in this recipe.
  • The ciabatta I buy is 6 by 11 inches so the number of pizza sticks you will get out of a batch will vary
    depending on the size of your ciabatta loaf.
  • Be sure to cut it into pieces right away while it’s hot so the cheese doesn’t pull off of the bread.
  • If you serve the pizza sticks right away, they are usually rigid enough to eat by hand. If you let them rest they will soften and become soggy. You’ll need plates for them. Either way, they’re delicious!

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