I don't think I could ever get tired of pizza. It's been a staple throughout my college years (is this where the nostalgia sets in..when I talk about food?). I feel I've moved up the ranks in my pizza obsession in these last four years. It started out as it would with any young, naive freshman, ordering late night pizza from the greasiest place in town, Gumby's. There is honestly nothing better than Gumby's "Pokey Stix" at 2am. They're garlicky, greasy and delicious. You can also smell them from a mile away and get an XXL for $10. It was an essential part of making friends. The problem is, you only enjoy Pokey's for the brief time you are actually eating them. Guilt sets in about five minutes later. Then slight nausea.
So, then it came to sophomore year. Sophomore year I chose the more traditional route: Domino's, Papa John's or pizza from one of our great local places. I hoarded coupons to keep things cheap. By sophomore year you scoff at the freshmen ordering Pokey's and pretend like you weren't doing the same thing a year before. Junior year I discovered pizza bread. That's when I started making my own pizza...all. the. time. That's healthy. A week ago (aka one week to go in my senior year) I discovered these. Good heavens. It was a long and, at times, treacherous journey, but it was all worth it if this is the pinnacle of pizza perfection. Yes, I know I could go and get amazing pizza from a restaurant, but I'm young and broke.
I've been up working on a final exam since 5am this morning. I only made it to 6am before I had to go down and heat up two of these. Do I stop getting away with odd eating habits once I graduate? That's unfortunate. As an awkward side note, I had to sprint through campus to turn my take home exam in on time and ran right past my professor who immediately called me out. So much for cool, calm and collected to close out senior year.
You've probably seen something similar to these without the sauce and garlic in the bread. I've made those a few times in the past. I've never posted them because I don't really like posting things I don't love, and they're good, but not great. But I found the missing link. Also, I did not measure out anything. Pizza is all about personalization. I tried to guess out about how much I put of everything, but if you use more or less that's fine!
1 batch pizza dough *
50 pepperonis, cut in quarters
1/4 cup pizza sauce
Minced garlic spread (I use California Style Minced Garlic)
6 ounces shredded mozzarella or Italian blend cheese
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9-inch pie plate (a cake pan will also work fine if you don't have a pie plate).
- Divide the dough into 10 roughly equal pieces. Take the dough pieces, one at a time, and flatten them out into a small circle about 4 inches wide.
- Spread about 1/8 teaspoon minced garlic across the dough. You are not trying to overwhelm anyone with garlic, it's just for a slight kick.
- Dab roughly a tablespoon of sauce on, but don't spread it out to the edges.
- Place a few pepperonis on top, and sprinkle about a tablespoon of cheese on.
- Pull the edges around the contents and pinch closed. If you put on too much sauce, the sauce will start dripping out and you'll never be able to seal the dough, so be careful with amounts!
- Place seam-side down around the outside of the pie pan.
- Repeat this process, placing the sealed rolls side by side. One or two might have to go in the middle, this is ok.
- Lightly brush the tops of the dough with olive oil, then sprinkle Italian seasoning and parmesan. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown. Serve warm, with ranch or marinara (or both!).
*I happen to stockpile frozen pizza dough like it's my ticket to surviving the apocalypse. My recommendation, buy it in bulk when it's on sale for 99 cents at the grocery store. When you get home, pop what you aren't using in the freezer. You can either thaw it by setting it out on the counter for ~6 hours, or thaw it in the fridge overnight when you are ready to use it. If you have time and want to try homemade pizza dough go for it! I just like shortcuts.