Italian Sausage Bites

Makes: 36 servings
Prep Time: 90 min.
Cook Time: 25-30 min.
Difficulty: Moderate

Recipe By: Chef Pamela B. of Hermosa Beach, CA

Everyone loves these because they're very flavorful and easy to eat when milling around at a party.


  • 2 cups All Purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup butter; 2 Sticks (cut into pieces), chilled, unsalted
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 2 Tbsp. half & half (or milk)
  • 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese; shredded
  • 2 large eggs; separated
  • 1 pkg. Johnsonville Mild Italian Sausage
  • 1 small fennel bulb; chopped fine
  • 1 small onion; grated
  • 2 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp. vermouth (or white wine)
  • 1/4 tsp. Kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp. fresh ground black pepper


  • Directions for Dough:
  • In a medium size bowl whisk 1 egg and half and half together until thoroughly combined and set aside.
  • In the bowl of your food processor add the flour, salt, Italian seosoning and the pieces from one of the sticks of butter. Pulse until butter disappears into flour mixture. Next add the second stick of butter pieces and pulse again until butter disappears and what is left is fine crumbles.
  • Pour flour/butter mixture into the egg and half & half. Whisk to combine (yes, that is enough liquid to do that). You only need to whisk until the dough is damp and holds together when you squeeze it in your hand.
  • Add the cheese to the dough and stir to combine.
  • Knead the dough a few times, in the bowl, until it all comes together into one large piece.
  • Separate the dough into 2 equal pieces and wrap with plastic wrap.
  • Place in the refrigerator for at least 60 min. or up to 2 days.
  • Let the dough sit on the counter for 15–30 min. to become workable. On a well-floured surface roll each dough piece into a 9x12 in. rectangle.
  • Cut that rectangle into 3 1/2.
  • Continue rolling, cutting and brushing the rest of the dough with egg.
  • Directions for Filling:
  • In a large sauté pan, cook the sausage over medium heat until most of the pink is gone.
  • Add in the rest of the filling ingredients to the pan and cook until fennel begins to soften.
  • Drain any grease or moisture that is in the pan before cooling.
  • Remove from heat and let cool.
  • The filling can be covered and stored in the refrigerator (for up to 5 days or) until ready to use.
  • Assembly:
  • Preheat oven to 350° F.
  • Place 1 tsp. of filling onto the dough circle that has been brushed with the egg. Leave a 1/2 in. border around the edges.
  • Fold circle in 1/2 covering the filling.
  • Press the edges together and then use a fork to press down and seal the edges.
  • Slide the pastries onto a baking pan that has been lined with a silicon sheet or parchment paper.
  • Brush the tops of the pastries with the remaining beaten egg.
  • Prick the top of each pastry 3-4 times, with a fork, to let the steam escape while they are baking.
  • Chill the pastry for 15 min. in the refrigerator.
  • Bake for 25–35 min.
  • Pastries are done when the dough is golden brown.
  • If baking multiple pans at the same time. Switch the pans halfway through baking.
  • Serve:
  • If freezing the appetizers, follow the directions up to the point of chilling. Once you are ready to chill, slide the sheet into the freezer. Let freeze overnight. Remove the individual appetizers from the pan and put into a freezer bag. When baking later, remove from bag and line up on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake for 5 additional min. When the dough is golden brown, they are done.
  • You will have quite a bit of the filling left over. You could either make a double batch of dough or use the filling to add to scrambled eggs for a delicious breakfast.