Introduction: Just for Kicks...Pepperoni Sticks!
This is my first attempt at an instructable, as well as my first contest entry. I hope you'll give this recipe a try, it's worth it for the marinara alone!
Step 1: Ingredients
Marinara Dipping Sauce
1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 1/4 teaspoon italian seasoning
2 tablespoons diced onion
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons sugar
2 bags premade pizza dough
2 to 4 cups vegetable oil for frying
4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan/romano cheese
1 1/4 teaspoons italian seasoning
3/4 teaspoon garlic salt
3 ounces pepperoni, diced
Yields 40 to 50 pepperoni sticks depending on how thin you roll the dough.
Step 2: Preparations (Marinara Dipping Sauce)
Prepare the dipping sauce by combining all of the marinara ingredients in a medium-sized saucepan and bringing the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium/low, cover, and simmer the sauce for 1/2 hour. (The sauce can be made ahead and kept, refrigerated, for several days.)
Step 3: Preparations (Pizza)
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Lightly flour your cutting board and roll the dough out into a rectangle with you rolling pin. You should shoot for around 15" x 10" for each ball of dough. Using a pizza cutter or a sharp knife, trim off the excess, and neaten up the edges and corners. Slice the dough down the middle from top to bottom, dividing it into 2 equal-sized halves. Slice the dough across into 1 1/2-inch-wide pieces. You should have somewhere between 20 and 25 slices.
Place the slices onto a greased cookie sheet about 1/2 inch apart and bake for 3 minutes. You may have to use more than one cookie sheet. This step is important, as it will stiffen the dough and keep it from stretching when you get to the next stage, frying.
The dough will stretch a bit during the transition from your cutting board to the greased cookie sheet. Go slowly and you won't end up with any severely warped pieces.
Step 4: Frying the Dough
Heat vegetable oil in a frying pan to 350 degrees F. The oil should be at least 1 inch deep.
Fry the pizza sticks 5 to 6 at a time for about 1 minute per side or until they are a dark golden brown. Remove them from the oil onto paper towels to drain.
When all the pizza sticks are fried, arrange them once again on the cookie sheets. You can make cleanup easier if you line the cookie sheets with aluminum foil (I made a mess).
Step 5: Finishing Up
Preheat the broiler. I set mine on high.
Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese first, and then the grated parmesan/romano cheese evenly over the dough.
Sprinkle the italian seasoning and garlic salt over the cheese and the diced pepperoni over the top of that.
Broil the pizza sticks for 2 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Keep a constant eye on them, they can burn quickly under the heat of the broiler. Remove them from the oven and serve them hot with the dipping sauce.
You can also refrigerate the finished pizza sticks and heat them up for later. Warmed up in the oven at 250F, or a toaster oven. Microwaving is not recommended if you want them to stay crispy. They're still quite edible if you do.
Please give this recipe a try with your own toppings. The fried sticks make it easier to add toppings such as chopped mushrooms, or other ingredients with higher moisture content without getting soggy. The possibilities are endless and guaranteed delicious. I hope you enjoy them and make enough for your friends to share.
I made about 100 of these to bring to my friends Super Bowl party, and there were 3 left by halftime. I wish the Patriots had the same success as I did with these, but there's always next year right?