Friday, June 26, 2009

Pizza Sticks...

Yesterday we checked out the berry patches on the hill and guess what...

8 1/2 more pounds of perfectly ripe berries! And today, while the berries were a little smaller, we managed to pull off another 6 3/4 pounds. Dang! We are swimming in strawberries and lovin' every sweet minute.

Nothing really struck my fancy when I was looking for pizza recipes to make for our Friday Night pizza, so I thought we would just stick some of our favorite ingredients on top and wing it. After playing around, I ended up with what we'll call Roasted Garlic, Asiago and Pepperoni Pizza Sticks.

For the roasted garlic, I looked to a recipe we made back in March and prepared the garlic much the same way by roasting the individual cloves (just ends up being a little quicker) and mashing it to create a garlic smear. We took that now sweet and mellow paste and spread it all over the top of (wait for it....) our favorite whole-wheat pizza dough. What, did you think I'd actually branch out to another recipe? I know... not just yet - I just can't get over how easy to prepare and a dream to work with this dough is. Ok, ok I'll stop now... but really, try it if you haven't yet!

Since we had the idea to make sticks, we stretched the pound version of the dough (giving us thicker sticks) into a large rectangle just before that lovely mashed garlic went on. Next came a wealth of Asiago cheese that we used our handy microplane to grate into tiny, fluffy shreds, which looked like snow as it fell from my hand and hit the dough. After looking at our patches of fresh herbs, Jeff said these flavors so far reminded him of those Cloverleaf Rolls we make every Thanksgiving and suggested we chop a few leaves of fresh rosemary to add.

Once that fragrant herb made it on, I took a pizza wheel and sliced the dough in half lengthwise, then went back crosswise to make the sticks. I did this now to ensure the pepperoni slices I was about to add stayed intact, but I also wanted to be able to just pull the sticks apart from one another after they've baked. Doing it this way lets me complete the assembly of the pizza as a whole, rather than trying to fit the toppings on each individual stick too. I did use turkey pepperoni simply because we find it less greasy and think it tastes just as good, without the guilt. Since we had it anyway, we swiped a couple ounces from a hunk of mozzarella we had in the refrigerator and shredded it to add on top. I mean really, as if we were going to just stop at the Asiago!

To give the dough a little boost, I did give the topped dough a rest, allowing the yeast to do its business and add a little height. This doesn't take too long to bake either - these sticks were ready as soon as the dough was golden and that mozzarella we added on top had melted and turned golden in spots. Give it just a minute or two to cool down so you don't burn your fingers, but if you tear into it while it is still warm, the pieces come apart without any effort. However, if you let it sit, you might want to score through the cheese first so each piece isn't stripped of its topping.

Using the pound of dough left us with sticks that were puffy and chewy, with enough crispness to the bottom that you could pick up each piece without if flopping around, keeping the topping in plate and not on your lap. As suspected, Jeff was spot on with suggesting the fresh rosemary - I figured its punch would match well with the roasted garlic, but more interesting was just how well we thought it worked well the spice in the pepperoni and nutty Asiago. Quite fun to make and chow down on, I can see these sticks being enjoyed by all ages - I'd even think about doubling the recipe just to freeze the extra pieces for easy snacks!


  1. Mmm....sounds great. I think I will try it without the pepperoni but add sauteed onions and mushrooms as well as some thinly slice tomato to the top. I wanted to say I really enjoy your blog and your recipes.

  2. Oh my word. Those look and sound divine. This is totally going on my to-make list.

    And congrats on your strawberry haul. I love, love, love fresh strawberries and have been toying with the idea of picking more myself (we did pick your own last weekend!).

  3. Joe,do you know what variety of strawberry you are growing? They look a lot like the ones we picked today at a nearby farm, and mentally I told myself that I need to find out what variety they are so someday I can try growing them myself.

  4. Arelel - Let us know how the veggie topping comes out!

    Sarah Caron - Thank you!

    Erika - We put in Jewel and Honeoye.