This is a recipe I adapted from a restaurant I used to work in. It was an Italian restaurant and pizza place. My station was next to the pizza chef and I watched him make hundreds of pizzas, garlic knots, focaccia bread, rolls, breads and more. I learned so much about working with dough. I loved what they called garlic sticks and decided to make them at home. I was successful on the first try because I bought some of the dough they used to make everything. So if you’re too chicken or rushed to make your own dough, you should be able to purchase some from your local pizza restaurant. Please don’t get dough from a chain, like Dominos. It’s usually made in a warehouse, frozen and shipped to the store. Go to a small local pizza restaurant. You’ll be guaranteed to get the freshest dough around.
When you get the dough home let it sit for an hour or two. Make sure you put some olive oil in a room temperature bowl, move the dough around in it, being sure to coat the whole thing. Cover it with plastic wrap and let it sit.
When the dough is ready take a sheet pan and brush it with olive oil. Spread the dough in the pan, cover it and let it rise for another hour. Make sure it’s evenly distributed in the pan.
Turn your oven as far up as it will go. At the restaurant I worked in the ovens were 800+ degrees. At home my oven only goes up to 550 degrees but that was enough.
Take a whole head of garlic and dice it very finely. Spread it all over the dough. Garlic has a natural oil that will make the dough just divine. Make sure the garlic pieces are evenly spread on the dough. Distribute sliced red onions (preferably paper thin) and sun dried tomatoes – also thinly sliced – and push them to embed them in the dough. Sprinkle Parmesan or Romano evenly. Bake for 10 minutes. Cut into rectangles and enjoy. I cut off the edges but you can keep them on if you wish.
A word about the cheese. If you are going to the trouble of making the garlic sticks from scratch please use only the best cheese you can get your hands on. Please don’t use the kind of cheese that you will find in your supermarket. Need I say that is subpar – which is an understatement. It is usually so dry that it might as well be a spice.
We have a fabulous Italian Deli near us. It’s a real foodie’s paradise. They make their own Buffalo Mozzarella and the Proscuitto is to die for. I could buy everything in the store if I had the money and a reason to.
The next time you have guests try putting these on the table. I’m sure they’ll be gone in minutes. Try experimenting. Use Olives, Basil and/or Proscuitto, wherever your imagination takes you and enjoy!
Next week I will start to bake with my Sourdough Starter. I hope you will follow along.