Homemade Pizza Rolls

Kevin Bruce

photos: kevin bruce

Last week, on a particularly sunny day, I stepped out into my backyard to embrace the suns glow and relax with a glass of recently finished kombucha. As I unfolded the chair and sat down, I took the first sip. It's always exciting to first taste something that's been brewing in your kitchen for a week. It's also a little suspenseful, and in the case of this glass, disappointing. The kombucha was vinegar. I brewed it my usual time and strength, but had forgotten to take into account the change in weather. Higher temperatures make for higher rates of fermentation. Taking this into account I tasted the other brews–root beer, sweet potato fly and ginger beer–fermenting in my kitchen. They tasted fine but needed to finish somewhere a bit cooler, the basement.

With my arms full of mason jars, I made my way down to the larder, but paused at the bottom of the stairwell. “Oh, look,” I thought. “I still have a skateboard.”

I think the only time I've used it in the last few years was to wheel a mattress three blocks to our new apartment.

As a fifteen year old kid, living at my parent's house in a suburb of Cincinnati, I would have been super stoked on Spring's return because it meant one thing to me: I'm going to skate all day, every day.

But after hours and hours of pushing around trying to grind, like, six stair handrails, you work up quite an appetite. Every night–seriously, every night–I would get home from skating well after dark, put on The Simpsons or some Toy Machine video, drink a massive glass of chocolate milk and eat a fucking ton of Pizza Rolls. So while that basement board will probably continue to collect dust this year too, I figured I could at least celebrate Spring by reliving the best part of those years. So tonight, que up some of the classics on youtube and let's fuck up a huge plate of homemade pizza rolls.

For the dough:
1 cup bread flour
1 cup 00 or all-purpose flour, whatever's in the cabinet should be fine
1 packet yeast
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup warm water
1 tablespoon (or more) olive oil
handful of corn meal
splash of whey, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, yogurt, cultured buttermilk or kefir (optional)

For a more easily digestible and more nutritious dough, mix the flour, water and a splash of whey, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, yogurt, cultured buttermilk or kefir and leave to soak at room temperature overnight. Soaking the flour in an acidic medium will neutralize phytic acid in the grain which inhibits the absorption of calcium, magnesium, iron, copper and zinc. Chances are the pizza rolls of your past weren't made with strict adherence to traditional nutritional wisdom, so these don't necessarily have to be either. Mix in the yeast, then salt, then oil. Knead about ten minutes, until the dough is noticeably smoother. Form the dough into a round, cover with oil and let rise in a bowl wrapped in a plastic bag or wet towel, until doubled in size.

For the sauce:
1 can peeled tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1 onion, halved
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
a couple pinches red pepper flakes
pinch sugar
salt and pepper

Finely chop garlic and saute in butter and olive oil until soft. Pulse tomatoes in a food processor until almost smooth and add to garlic. Mix in oregano, basil, sugar and chili flakes. Add onion. Simmer on low heat, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens–about an hour. Remove onion and add salt to taste. When tomatoes are in season, it's not a bad idea to call in sick and spend the entire day making a year's worth of sauce with local tomatoes and freezing it all. Bruised and ugly tomatoes can go for pretty cheap at the Farmer's Market and will make great sauce.

For the inside:
Mozzarella
Parmesan
Pepperoni or whatever fixins you dig

Preheat oven to 350. Flour your work surface and roll out a handful of dough to about 1/4″ thick. Cut into four roughly 3″ squares. Add a spoonful of pizza sauce in the center of each square. Rip off a hunk of Mozzarella and place it in the sauce. Add any additional toppings and grate parmesan over everything. Fold each square in half and press the sides in with a fork. Lightly dredge in corn meal. Repeat until the dough is used up. Bake for 7-9 minutes. Enjoy with a tall glass of chocolate milk and some LOVE Park footage.

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