A couple of days ago, I posted about this delicious meat roll I had eaten for lunch in Morgantown.
Pepperoni, Sausage, Ricotta, and Mozzarella Roll, served with marinara sauce.
It was so good, that despite how tired I was by the time I got home, the first thing I did was make a bowl of dough and attempt to recreate this divine roll. It turned out maybe even more delicious than what I had at the restaurant! Morgan loved it and begged for more. I couldn’t remember the name of the restaurant except that it meant something like “place of friends” in Italian. I spent a little time Googling and found it. The restaurant is on High Street in Morgantown, West Virginia, and it’s called Casa D’Amici. Check out the menu page and the very last item, under Baked Rolls, is the Pepperoni, Sausage, Ricotta, and Mozzarella roll. ($4.25) Notice the other combinations offered: Sausage, Roasted Peppers, and Onions; Pepperoni, Mozzarella, and Onions; Sauteed Broccoli and Mozzarella; Sauteed Spinach and Mozzarella; Chicken Parmesan; and Buffalo Chicken.
If the pepperoni, sausage, ricotta, and mozzarella combination doesn’t rock your world, try one of the others–or make up your own combination! It can all be done using this same basic process.
Of course, they didn’t hand over the recipe, so I had to make it up, but it works! And anyway, the menu titles are fairly self-explanatory, so not pretending to be a genius here. For the dough, I turned to my trusty Grandmother Bread, with oil. I sensed with my mafioso baking radar that the Italian bread used in the roll included oil.
Dough for the Rolls:
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 teaspoon yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup olive oil
4 cups flour
In a large bowl, combine water, yeast, sugar, and salt. Let sit five minutes. Stir in oil then flour a cup at a time with a heavy spoon. Continue adding flour a little at a time as needed, stirring until dough becomes too stiff to stir easily. Add a little more flour and begin kneading. The amount of flour is approximate–your mileage may vary! Continue adding flour and kneading until the dough is smooth and elastic. Let dough rise in a greased, covered bowl until doubled. (Usually, about an hour.) Uncover bowl; sprinkle in a little more flour and knead again before dividing in half.
Prepare a well-floured surface. Roll half the dough into a 9 x 12 rectangle. Cut into 3-inch sections (from the 12-inch side) to make 4 sections.
8 ounces ricotta (or other soft cheese)
6 ounces shredded mozzarella
8 ounces sausage, cooked, crumbled
4 ounces sliced pepperoni
Note: These filling quantities are approximate, depending on how much you want to pile on. You can use more or less of any ingredient and make substitutions at will! Also, I didn’t have any ricotta. I used lactic cheese the first time I made it. The second time, I used fromagina. (Yes, this is so good, I’ve already made it twice since Friday.) For the mozzarella, I used homemade mozzarella.
Using filling ingredients in the order listed, layer them on down the center of the strips.
The first time I tried this, I had some trouble figuring out the twist technique with so much filling and such long strips. By the second time, I’d figured it out. Don’t try to twist the entire strip from one end. Twist half the strip from one end.
Then half the strip from the other end (and push it together in the middle).
Results in a much nicer-looking roll. Transfer to greased baking sheets.
You will have eight rolls. I used two large pizza pans with curved edges, four per pan. The curved edges contain any extra olive oil that may drain off the rolls, preventing oven mess. I don’t recommend using a flat baking sheet.
coarse ground salt
mixed Italian herbs
crushed red pepper*
*Leave out the crushed red pepper if you don’t like it hot!
Drizzle or brush on olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, herbs, and crushed red pepper, if using. Let rolls rise about 20-30 minutes.
Bake at 375-degrees for approximately 20-25 minutes. Your time will vary depending on the size of your rolls, so keep an eye on ’em. I put both pans in the oven at the same time, one on the top rack, one on the bottom, then switching halfway through the baking time.
Serve with nothing, marinara sauce, pizza sauce, Ranch dressing, or whatever you adore.
These rolls are FABULOUS. Serve as an accompaniment to a meal (cut in half), or a meal unto itself. Make it vegetarian, or vegan, if you like. (For vegans, use soy cheese, or no cheese at all, and a combination of sauteed vegetables.) Thank you, Casa D’Amici (even though you have no idea who I am) for the inspiration!
See this recipe at Farm Bell Recipes and save it to your recipe box.