You know how you love having people over, and how happy you are when you have a house full of mouths to feed? But when you get ready to have people over, and you think up what to cook for them, you never quite know what fits? Because party food is tricky. It’s often bite-sized, which means more time in the kitchen, bent over little squares of dough. Or it’s fried, which means hot, smelly oil, that can’t be dealt with in advance. Neither of these situations is ideal. It’s more than likely that party food = whatever was cheapest and least offensive looking in the Trader Joe’s freezer section warmed up in the oven while everyone is working on their first drink.
There’s better out there.
It comes in the form of Shutterbean’s Garlic Herb Breadsticks.
Jennie, you already know that garlic, herbs, and Parmesan cheese have near universal appeal. If there’s a guest who wouldn’t enjoy these, do you really want to invite that person into your home?
These are pillows of Trader Joe’s pizza dough, filled with cheese and herbs, then baked, and finished off with oil and more cheese. They are as good as it gets in the snack food department. You can prep them quickly in the morning, and then finish them off at night, right before company comes. And everyone you feed will want to come over again and again because everyone you feed will recognize that these are in a class of their own. That we all cave and order cheesy bread with our pizza, and yes, it feels right at the time, but it’s never memorable. Garlic Herb Bread Twists are memorable. They have a kick from some red pepper flakes, a double dose of cheese (mozzarella and Parmesan), and they have that soft-pretzel-y thing going on where parts of the dough are crisp and crunchy, while the twistier parts are soft and dreamy.
Garlic Herb Bread Twists. Round up your friends, send out the invite, and get these on the menu, stat.
*a note: I made Tracy’s recipe pretty much as-is, except for an herb substitution, and a last minute mozzarella sprinkle. But this is a versatile recipe that could hold up to an infinite number of flavor combinations. Tell me what you’d do with it.
To make Garlic Herb Bread Twists as a snack for 3, you will need:
- 1 Trader Joe’s pizza crust
- 1 tsp. dried basil (which I didn’t have, so I used thyme)
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp. dried red pepper flakes (this is going to give you enough of a kick that you can taste it in each bite, so adjust accordingly)
- 1/2 C grated Parmigiano Reggiano, divided
- 1/8 C olive oil, plus more for the pan
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 C shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 C marinara sauce, for dipping
Set dough on counter to come to room temperature. If you’ve removed the dough from the package, keep it covered with a kitchen towel. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly oil a baking sheet. If you do this with your hands, it’ll help you work with the pizza dough.
Combine basil, oregano, red pepper flakes, and Parmesan cheese in bowl, and set aside.
Place minced garlic in oil and set aside.
Roll or spread the dough out till you’ve formed a rectangle that is roughly 10 x 15 inches. Sprinkle dough with 1/2 the Parmesan mixture, and fold dough in half. Tracy did this the long way, though I did mine the short way. The longer dough will make for (longer, duh, and) thinner, crispier twists. The short way makes them puffier. I’m a sucker for puffy. Slice dough into pieces less than 1 inch thick. Use your sharpest knife, or a pizza cutter. Pick up each end of a slice of dough and twist in opposite directions from both ends. Transfer to baking sheet, and top with garlic oil. I did my best to get all the pieces of garlic onto the tops of the twists. Repeat for each piece of dough. Bake for 17 minutes.
Remove from oven and sprinkle each twist with a little bit of mozzarella. Return to oven for 4 more minutes.
Remove from oven and brush with oil. Be careful not to get any remaining pieces of garlic on the bread at this point, as it’s not baking off in the oven anymore. Then, top with remaining Parmesan mixture, which will melt right onto the piping hot twists.
Serve with marinara sauce, for dipping.