Recipe of the Month: Pepperoni Parmesan Stuffed Rolls

Ingredients:

12” by 16” sheeted dough

14 oz. pork and beef spicy pepperoni, sliced (48 slices)
½ tbsp. light olive oil
2 oz. Parmesan cheese, shredded
5 oz. pizza cheese (blend of 80% skim mozzarella and 20% Parmesan cheese), shredded
8 oz. marinara sauce
½ oz. Parmesan cheese, grated

Instructions:

Brush dough with ½ tbsp. olive oil. Sprinkle 2 oz. shredded Parmesan cheese evenly over the top side of the dough. Arrange pepperoni slices evenly over the cheese. Beginning at the 12” side, tightly roll up the dough in a cinnamon roll-style, ending seamside-down.

Using a sharp knife, slice 1 stuffed roll into 20 ½”-wide pieces. Arrange pieces in a tight 10”-wide circular pattern on an oiled mesh screen over a parchment-lined sheet pan. Top evenly with 2 oz. of shredded pizza cheese, 8 oz. of marinara sauce and 3 oz. of additional pizza cheese. Bake the rolls in a 375°F preheated convection oven for 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden and bubbly. After baking, sprinkle ½ oz. grated Parmesan cheese evenly over the top.

Love at First Bite

Outback Steakhouse has the Bloomin’ Onion. Sonic has tater tots. What’s your signature appetizer? Sure, fried calamari and bruschetta are well-known standards, but do they really set your pizzeria apart from your competitors (many of whom also offer fried calamari and bruschetta)? Maybe it’s time to expand your horizons and look for some unique alternatives that will leap off your menu, grab your guests by the taste buds and never let go. Here are a few ideas from pizzerias and Italian restaurants around the country:

Regina Pizzeria (reginapizzeria.com), with locations in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, offers a smorgasbord of starters, including the Italian Sausage Appetizer, featuring two brick oven-baked sweet sausages with roasted onions and peppers and served with Polcari’s garlic bread.

Located in North Muskegon, Michigan, The Handsome Hobo Pizzeria (handsomehobopizzeria.com) has more than a memorable name; its Steak Rollotini is equally unforgettable. It consists of sautéed mushrooms and green onions wrapped in a marinated flank steak and served with a housemade spicy teriyaki sauce and garlic chips.

At Petrillo’s Restaurant and Pizzeria (petrillosmenu.com), a family-owned eatery in Indialantic, Florida, the owners know that ethnic fusions are creating buzz these days. They created the Italiano Quesadilla, made with sausage, mozzarella cheese, sautéed onions and peppers and served with sour cream and fra diablo sauce.

Otto Tomotto’s (ottotomottos.com) in Victor, New York, blends sweet and salty flavors to create its Bacon Dates appetizer, a serving of six dates topped with smoked bacon and garlic slices in a sauce made with white wine, brown sugar and butter.