Pizza Week: Pizza Rolls....The New Dinner Roll with Attitude!

Friday, June 17, 2011

When I was younger, one of the few, fonder memories I had with my mother was her taking me shopping in the valley or to visit her old office, and then stopping by a place called Pizza Cookery. You walk in through the heavy doors, the place is almost pitch dark, and saw dust covers the floor. I remember being totally freaked out by the sawdust and had to have my dad on occasion carry me (I was like 4). They have the best antipasto salad, pretty damn good pizza, and these rolls. Omg, the rolls. Made with pizza dough, they were cheesy and super garlicky and you could eat 20 of them alone before your food came. They were incredible.

It took me a while to figure out how they did it. The pizza dough you use is extremely important. I've found Whole Foods' brand has the perfect balanced flavor and texture, and most importantly, the puff -up factor you're looking for with these rolls. I experimented with a few versions before I figured out their secret was a combination of fresh and powdered garlic. Ah ha! And of course, good olive oil and shredded mozzarella cheese. These are super easy to make and bake up in 10 minutes and are the perfect dinner roll to spruce up an Italian-American meal or with a good antipasto salad. Enjoy these. And if you're in the Woodland Hills area in Southern California, it's worth the trip! Get the antipasto salad with baskets of these rolls, the pepperoni pizza is outstanding, and I heard the lasagna is awesome.

Pizza Dinner Rolls     makes about 8-10 rolls, depending on size
2 store-bought pizza doughs
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 head of garlic, cloves roughly chopped (these are supposed to be heavy on the garlic, so hold back if you want it less)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Roll out one of the pizza doughs into a rectangle, about 1/4" or so thick. Brush the top with some olive oil, then leaving a border, sprinkle half of the garlic on top. Sprinkle half of the garlic powder, and top with the mozzarella cheese. It should look like this:

Then taking the longer-side facing you, begin rolling that longer side up until you get a log, as if you were making a jellyroll or cinnamon rolls. Pinch the sides at the end of the roll and press in the seams. Repeat with remaining dough and rest of the ingredients.

Cut the logs into 2" thick pieces. Take a casserole or lasagna dish and brush the bottom with some olive oil. Place the pieces in the dish, cut-side down (meaning, one side with the filling exposed touches the bottom of the dish, the other side of the filling is facing up). Fit the rolls snugly together but leave enough room for them to expand and fluff up.

Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 10 minutes or until lightly golden brown and the tops and bottoms are golden, cheese is melted, and it smells divine. Serve piping hot!

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