Pizza Rolls by Ree


Pizza Rolls by Ree

IMG_3327I have a few disclaimers about these crazy rolls, which I made yesterday on a whim since I had half a batch of cinnamon roll dough leftover from Saturday.

1. I was working with no recipe whatsoever, and had no plan. The idea came together in about 5 minutes. Kind of like my idea to start a blog 10 years ago.

2. I did not have all the ingredients I normally would have wanted: I was low on the right cheeses, had no pepperoni, no black olives, and so on. In other words, I was totes prepared.

3. I could not find my camera anywhere, then ultimately gave up and decided to use my iPhone to photograph this recipe. So, no offense to iPhone, but if these photos lack a little somethin’-somethin’, you’ll know why.

4. As stated above, I wound up making these rolls because I had leftover dough from making cinnamon rolls on Saturday, and that’s what gave me the idea to roll out a rectangle of basic dough, fill it with ingredients, roll it up, slice it, and bake it. But after the whole experience, I determined that the next time I make these babies, I will use a true pizza dough with a little more chew to it. This dough was a little too soft to pass for pizza. (The recipe below calls for pizza dough.)

But other than that, everything totally went according to plan! Ha.
IMG_3254This is half of the dough recipe, and it was in the fridge for about 36 hours. It’s best to make this recipe when the dough is really cold, so go ahead and plop it onto a floured surface right out of the fridge.

IMG_3258Roll it out until it’s very flat…

IMG_3262Then drizzle on a little olive oil and spread it into a thin layer…

IMG_3271And sprinkle the crust with salt.

IMG_3274Grab a jar of marinara or pizza sauce…

IMG_3275Drop spoonfuls all over the crust…

IMG_3279Then spread it into a single layer and sprinkle the whole surface with grated Parmesan. As I said earlier, I was totally low on Italian cheeses in my fridge—I don’t know what happened! Low on Parmesan, low on mozzarella, and I’m going to the store today. I can’t let this ever happen to me again, as I found it very frightening.

Low on cheese? Me? What’s the world coming to?!?

IMG_3282You’re looking at all the mozzarella I had left, which is why it is so meager. If I had my regular stash, I would have put at least a couple of layers of slices on—and probably three. My printable recipe below reflects this.

Oh, and about the mozzarella: This is good ol’ Americanized sliced mozzarella cheese, not the bright white fresh mozzarella sold in balls. I think the latter would actually be a little too watery for this recipe and might result in a little bit of a doughy mess, so in this case I recommend the mass produced, supermarket stuff!

IMG_3286At this point in your life, you could add some other pizza fixings: chopped (or whole) slices of pepperoni, cooked and crumbled Italian sausage, chopped black olives, herbs…the list goes on! I kept it simple because I really just wanted to play around.

IMG_3291But oh! I happened to have a half-jar of pesto in my fridge.

Basil hasn’t taken off in my garden yet. It’ll be another six weeks or so.

Translation: It’ll be an eternity or so.

Hurry up, basil! I need you in my life.

IMG_3297Smear it all over the cheese…

And then I decided to try something weird.

IMG_3299I unwrapped a few pieces of string cheese and lay them in a line across the top of the dough.

IMG_3302I repeat: I have no idea what I’m doing or how this is going to turn out.

But it’s bread and cheese, friends. What could possibly go wrong?

IMG_3304Starting at the string cheese end, roll the dough toward you, trying to keep the roll as tight as possible. Note that I had taken my time to get to this point and the dough wasn’t as chilled anymore—and was therefore starting to get a little soft…and tough to handle. The colder the dough, the better the rolls will stay together!

IMG_3308Pinch the ends together, then roll the dough over so that the seam is facing down.

IMG_3310Slice it in half right down the middle, then cut slices about 1 inch thick (or a little thinner is good, too!) Use a serrated knife to make cutting easier.

IMG_3313Place the rolls, cut side up, in a baking pan (or iron skillet, if you want to be all rustic and charming.)

IMG_3320Let the rolls sit and rise for just a bit, while you preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

IMG_3322Bake them for about 15 to 18 minutes, until they’re hot and bubbly…like this!

IMG_3327Now, while the string cheese in the middle is a great idea and all—I mean, it’s cheese; there’s nothing more that can be said—There is a little complication in that the longer the rolls sit in the pan after coming out of the oven, the more the cheese continues to melt. If they sit too long before you serve them, the string cheese will just melt right down to the bottom of the rolls, leaving a little gap in the center of each roll. Now, this is by no means a bad thing—melted cheese never is—but if you’re wanting to keep the cheese in the center, go ahead and serve them up right out of the oven. I considered that freezing the string cheese before rolling it into the rolls might help a bit, as it would buy a little more time to allow the bread to get done without totally melting the cheese. I’ll try that next time!

And I’ll keep trying until I get it right.

It’s for the art.

IMG_3328Serve it with a side of warm marinara…

IMG_3329And a super hearty appetite!

IMG_3330Here’s the handy dandy printable. No precise measurements or amounts—just use what you have, and have fun doing it!