Brian Castillo of Albuquerque, New Mexico, came through with the winning recipe for a summer-long contest hosted by Southwestern pizza chain Dion’s in 2019. In the non-employee sector of the contest, Castillo won with his Spicy Honey Jalapeno Pizza Rolls and claimed the grand prize of free Dion’s pizza for a year plus $600 in gift cards.
A Dion’s press release described the second annual contest as “a competitive and full-flavored taste-testing event rivaling the intensity of ‘Shark Tank’ and ‘Top Chef.’” Winning recipes in four categories were selected and scored based on taste, visual appeal, creativity and crowd appeal.
Categories included General—Albuquerque and the surrounding area; General—Outside Albuquerque; Youth—18 and Under; and Employee (for current Dion’s employees).
For the Outside Albuquerque contest, Rachel Castillo of Centennial, Colorado, won for her horchata bread pudding with horchata brown-sugar sauce. Trinity Domonkos won the youth contest with her mini-apple pies, while Cheyenne Burton’s lemonade braid won top prize in the contest for current Dion’s employees.
Brian Castillo’s winning recipe is as follows:
Spicy Honey Jalapeno Pizza Rolls
1 large Dion’s pizza dough
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 ½ c. cheddar cheese, shredded
2 tsp. olive oil
30 pepperoni slices
1 tbsp. Italian seasoning (to taste)
1 tbsp. garlic powder (to taste)
2-3 jalapenos, fresh, de-seeded and diced
½ c. cornmeal
1 c. honey
2 Serrano peppers, sliced
Cooked bacon pieces
Punch down the pizza dough to release any air bubbles. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a large rectangle to about 10”x12”. Brush the top lightly with 2 tsp. olive oil. Using your fingers, push dents into the surface of the dough rectangles to prevent bubbling. Spread 8 oz. softened cream cheese on top of the dough rectangle. Sprinkle lightly with Italian seasoning and garlic powder.
Sprinkle 1 ½ c. shredded cheddar evenly over the cream cheese, then top with pepperoni slices, bacon and diced jalapenos evenly on the dough rectangle. Carefully roll the dough rectangle into a tight log. Place the log on a prepared baking sheet, seam-side down, and place baking sheet in the refrigerator to chill, uncovered, for at least 20 minutes. (Chilling prevents the rolls from falling apart as you slice.)
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400°F. Line one large baking sheet with silone baking mats or parchment paper.
Remove log from the refrigerator and cut into 10 to 12 1” slices. Pour cornmeal into a plate or bowl. Dip the bottom of each roll into cornmeal and place the rolls on the baking sheet, cornmeal-side down. (The cornmeal is optional, but it gives the bottoms of the rolls an extra delicious crispiness.) Sprinkle the tops of the rolls with extra cheese if desired.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the sides are lightly browned. Apply honey drizzle over each roll and cool for 5 minutes. Serve with chipotle ranch dipping sauce.