This fun and hearty pull-apart bread is prime game-day food.
8 - ounces bulk Italian sausage
1/4 - cup finely chopped onion
3 1/4 - 3 3/4 - cups all-purpose flour
1 - package active dry yeast
2 - teaspoons dried Italian seasoning, crushed
1 - cup milk
1/3 - cup butter
1/4 - cup sugar
3/4 - teaspoon salt
1 - egg
1 1/2 - cups shredded fontina cheese (6 ounces)
1 1/2 - cups shredded mozzarella cheese (6 ounces)
1/2 - cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese (2 ounces)
1 - cup basil pesto
In a large skillet cook sausage and onion over medium-high heat until meat is brown, using a wooden spoon to break up meat as it cooks. Drain off fat. Cover and chill sausage mixture until needed.
In a large mixing bowl stir together 1 1/4 cups of the flour, the yeast, and Italian seasoning. In a medium saucepan heat and stir milk, butter, sugar, and salt just until warm (120 degrees F to 130 degrees F) and butter almost melts. Add milk mixture to flour mixture; add egg. Beat with an electric mixer on low to medium speed for 30 seconds, scraping sides of bowl constantly. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, stir in as much of the remaining flour as you can.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in enough of the remaining flour to make a moderately stiff dough that is smooth and elastic (6 to 8 minutes total). Shape dough into a ball. Place in a lightly greased bowl, turning once to grease surface of dough. Cover and let rise in a warm place until double in size (about 1 hour).
Punch dough down. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide dough in thirds. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two 9x5x3-inch loaf pans with parchment paper; set aside. In a medium bowl combine sausage mixture, fontina cheese, mozzarella cheese, and Parmesan cheese; set aside.
Roll each portion of dough into a 30-inch-long rope. Cut ropes into 1-inch pieces. Divide one-third of the pieces between the prepared loaf pans. Divide one-third of the cheese mixture between pans. Repeat layers two more times.
Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden. Cool in pans on wire racks for 5 minutes. Remove loaves from pans; peel off parchment paper. Serve warm with pesto.