I have to admit that I am one of those people who enjoys the pizza dough a little bit more than the toppings sometimes. In my opinion, the dough can either make or break a pizza in most cases and for me, it’s biting into the chewy and warm crust at the edge of the pizza that defines the pizza-eating process. You can top a pizza with all the best toppings in the world, but if the dough is tough or soggy, then you might as well use the worst because the pizza just won’t be good.
And then there’s always that last “golden bite” of pizza at the end with the perfect ratio of crust to cheese to topping to sauce that is perhaps, even better than the first. The dough is definitely the foundation for a great pizza; with a sound and tasty base, the toppings are given the best chance to showcase all their flavors as well.
This recipe, for a crust lover like me, is wonderful. What better than cheesy bits of mozzarella and pepperoni (or whatever “toppings” you prefer to turn into fillings) encased in a warm and steaming ball of dough? The topping is crunchy and fragrant with a mix of parsley, basil and parmesan cheese. When dipped into some warm marinara sauce, every little bite of this recipe becomes that last “golden bite” of pizza we all look forward in the end.
Pizza Bites, adapted from this recipe
1 bag of prepared pizza dough (from Trader Joe’s)
1 cup of mozzarella (shredded or cut into cubes)
1/2 cup of thin pepperoni slices, cut into small pieces
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon red chile flakes
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
Marinara sauce, for dipping
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Prepare pizza dough according to directions. Lightly coat a baking or casserole dish with olive oil.
2. Pinch off about 1-inch balls of dough and flatten slightly, filling the middle with desired amount of mozzarella and pepperoni. Wrap dough around filling and roll into a ball, placing in baking dish seam-side down. Repeat with remaining dough.
3. Combine garlic, parsley, oregano, and red chile flakes in olive oil and brush or drizzle over the pizza bites in the baking dish. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
4. Bake in oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until top is nicely browned. Makes about 16 pizza bites. Serve with warm marinara sauce on the side for dipping.
You can, of course, substitute in any type of “toppings” you want instead of mozzarella and pepperoni. Sausages might be a good idea, and if using vegetables like onions, green peppers or mushrooms, it might be a good idea to sauté them a little before using as the filling.
This recipe smells great while baking and the sizzling of the dough as it comes out of the oven in the olive oil is wonderful. Be careful to keep a good ratio of filling to dough as you don’t want the bites to be too doughy. You want pizza bites, not pizza sticks!