Sooner or later, all my conversations inevitably turn to food.
Don’t believe me? Call me up sometime and try to, say, sell me some insurance. I guarantee that before we get off the phone, I’ll be giving you my recipe for blackberry jam. I can’t help it. It’s just how I work.
Perfect example: I was in a meeting a few weeks ago at the office. We finished up our conference call, started chatting as we wrapped up—and somehow wound up talking about stuffed breads. (Really. I have a recipe loosely jotted on the cover of a folder.)
What was the best way to make them? What kind of dough should you use? How can you keep them from bursting, etc.
Ah, the Frankenroll
This recipe borrows heavily from two fairly unrelated things. The stromboli, that rolled and stuffed bread extraordinaire—and the cinnamon bun.
To make these rolls, spread pizza dough liberally with melted butter, sprinkle it with cheese and spices, roll it up like a stromboli—then slice and bake like a pan of cinnamon buns.
The result? The rolls are soft, savory, and totally buttery and delicious. They’re topped with a layer of crispy, brown cheese, and shot through with molten cheese.
Fill them however you like
The best part about these rolls? You can stuff them with anything you like. Different cheeses (use any that melt well). Chopped pepperonil, olives, and spinach. Fresh herbs. Bits of leftover bacon or ham.
This is what I always refer to as a Sliding-Scale Recipe. Basically, that means it’s a recipe that works whether you put in a lot of effort—or hardly any at all.
You can toss it together with a ball of pre-made dough and a bag of shredded cheese from the grocery store—or you can go all out and make the dough from scratch and grate your favorite cheeses by hand. It’ll be delicious either way.
I like to throw these rolls together on a weeknight. All you need is a ball of pizza dough (grab one at the grocery store or from a local pizza joint) and a bag of shredded cheese.
It’s a great way to get fresher-than-storebought bread on the table when you have kids running around—or, say, a brand new puppy—or have just had a long day and are in the mood for some carb-laden goodness with dinner.
So, this one’s for you, Scott. It’s not *exactly* a stromboli, but it’s definitely a delicious first cousin.
Cheese Pinwheel Rolls
1 ball pizza dough
2 Tbls. butter
1 – 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese
Parmesan cheese, grated
freshly cracked black pepper
Makes about a dozen rolls
Lightly grease an 8-inch x 8-inch glass baking pan. Set it aside.
Roll out the pizza dough
Grab your dough (homemade or store bought).
Plop it on a lightly floured board.
Smoosh it flat and roughly in the shape of a rectangle.
Roll it out in a rough rectangle.
(Be sure to make your junior kitchen staff feel included.)
Spread the dough with butter & cheese
Melt the butter. (I do this in the microwave. About 20 seconds on high usually does the trick.)
Pour it in the center of your rolled dough.
With your hand or a spatula, spread the butter to cover the dough.
Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese.
Sprinkle the dough with an even layer of finely shredded cheese. I used a mix of mozzarella and cheddar.
You want to lay it on thick (cover the Parmesan so you don’t really see it), but not too thick.
Sprinkle with a little kosher salt, freshly cracked black pepper, and garlic powder. If you want to add other ingredients (herbs, olives, etc.) add them in a thin layer now.
Roll up the dough
Roll the dough up like this, so you wind up with a long tube. Tuck the cheese in as you roll, like you would when rolling a burrito or a spring roll.
Next, whack it into about 12 pieces.
I make them about an inch or so wide.
The end pieces will be kind of scrawny. That’s just fine. You’re going to stick them together in a corner of the pan to form one roll.
Take one roll carefully, so that it doesn’t unroll. Set it in the corner of your prepared pan.
Repeat with the rest of the rolls, until you’ve nestled them all in.
Stick the ends into a corner together. They’ll sort of bake together into one roll.
Let rise for 3o minutes
Cover with a lightly greased piece of plastic wrap. Set in a warm place to rise for about 30 minutes. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
They won’t poof up much after 30 minutes.
Bake the rolls
Pop into your preheated oven and bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.
They’re done when the dough is lightly browned, and the cheese has bubbled up and formed a nice, golden brown crust.
(Here are those ends you stuck together.)
The bottoms should have a similar, golden brown cheese thing going on, as well.
Cool them in the pan for about 10 minutes.
Then airlift them out with a spatula or two. Serve warm, or let cool to room temperature.
Pull apart. Serve and enjoy!