I mentioned last week that I am dying for fall to begin. It coincides with all my favorite things — the weather finally turning from ungodly to tolerable and then downright pleasant, the return of hearty recipes, sweaters, school supplies and football. I love football. I’m one of those crazy people who yells and screams at the TV during games, because in my sports-induced insanity, I think the players can actually hear me. (I’m looking at you Manning.) Mr. Kitchen and I started getting serious right around the start of football season, and he says he was really pleasantly surprised when he found out I was a fan of the game. He gets a kick out of my insane TV ranting. So it should come as no surprise that when it comes to game-time snacks, I’ve got em covered. Trust me, even if you hate the game, if you’re dating a sports-guy, you’re gonna end up at at least one game. You’re likely going to a Super Bowl party if nothing else. Make these, and you are insta-Sports Girlfriend Goddess.
Pepperoni Provolone Bread
Makes 2 thin loaves
I am including a recipe for the dough that has been adapted slightly from Nick Malgieri’s “The Modern Baker,” but if you are short on time, most supermarkets carry pizza dough. (Pillsbury makes a dough if you’re really short on time.)
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt**
2 1/2 teaspoons active yeast (one packet)
1 2/3 cups warm water
3 tbsp oil (olive is best, but vegetable will do)
Additional oil for coating the pan
3/4 lb very thinly sliced pepperoni
3/4 lb very thinly sliced provolone
* 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese optional (shredded) for top of bread
1 Egg, beaten for wash
** The recipe would normally call for 2 teaspoons salt, but I find that the pepperoni is salty enough on its own to balance out the bread, especially if you’re topping the bread with Parmesan.
The Dough — Combine the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl and stir well to mix. In a separate bowl, whisk the yeast into the water and whisk in the oil. Make a well in the center of the flour and pour liquid into center. With a spatula, begin stirring in the center of the bowl, gradually stirring from the center outward, incorporating more and more flour as you go. Once the flour is totally incorporated, the dough will still be very soft. Knead the dough very lightly, by folding the outside edges into the center — keep folding until there are no dry bits left. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk (generally 1-2 hours depending on the air temperature). Lightly oil your hands and turn the dough over once. Cover again and let rise, approximately one hour.
Preheat the oven to 325 º.
The Roll — Once the pizza dough is prepared, roll out half the dough flat into a rectangle approximately 18 inches wide and 12 inches long. Lay out slices of provolone in one layer across surface of dough. Layer pepperoni slices on top of provolone. Starting at the top of the dough, roll edges downward horizontally so that dough forms a roll. Press down on seam and twist ends to seal dough. Place the roll on a tin-foil lined cookie sheet in a U-shape, seam-side down. Repeat rolling, layering provolone and pepperoni and sealing for remainder of dough. At this point, you can sprinkle shredded Parmesan on top of rolls and press cheese gently into dough. Brush egg wash across entire top surface of each roll. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until dough is golden. Let cool on pan for 15 minutes, then slice into 1″ wide slices.