Pizza Rolls by Ree
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.
This 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.
Then 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?!?
You’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!
At 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.
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.
And then I decided to try something weird.
But it’s bread and cheese, friends. What could possibly go wrong?
Starting 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!
Now, 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.