I was born in and spent the first 26 years of my life in Fairmont, West Virginia. I grew up eating pepperoni rolls and thought everyone else in America did, too. My mom made them all the time and they were a lunch box staple for us. We always took them with us on road trips to eat in the car. They even showed up at my wedding reception, only in miniature form. You can buy them in every convenience store in the state, but the best ones are homemade.
These savory little bundles of goodness were invented in my hometown back in the early 1900's. They were created to cater to Italian immigrants who came to that part of the state to work in the coal mines. Thin strips of pepperoni were wrapped in dough and baked until golden. The meat required no refrigeration, so the rolls were perfect for miners who worked long shifts.
Nowadays people use sliced pepperoni instead of strips because of convenience. My family prefers to use thin strips cut from a long stick of pepperoni, so that's what I'll show you.
Here's what you need:
1 9-oz stick of pepperoni
Bread dough of your choice, enough for one loaf
I use my bread machine to mix up the dough, using this recipe and setting it on the dough cycle. While the machine is working, I slice the pepperoni into strips.
First I cut the long stick into 5 pieces. Each of these is sliced in half. Now it's time to peel the skin off the pepperoni. You don't want to chew on that, believe me.
Each half should be cut into four strips. By the time you're done, you should have 40 strips. You're going to need 3 strips for each roll. Since this recipe makes a dozen rolls, you'll have a couple of pepperoni pieces left over. Yum!
Now divide your dough into 12 pieces. Roll each piece out into an oval. On the short side, place on strip of pepperoni and fold the dough over it.
Put your second piece of pepperoni on the dough and roll it over, sealing the edges as you go.
Repeat this with the third strip of pepperoni.
Now pinch all the edges to make sure everything is sealed up tight.
Place seam side down in a greased 9x13 pan. You want three rows of four with the rolls barely touching.
Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size. This will take about an hour and the rolls will be all squished together. That's how you want them.
Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown on top. Brush with melted butter immediately after you remove them from the oven.
Allow to rest in the pan for several minutes, then invert onto a cookie sheet and separate. The bottoms of the pepperoni rolls will look orange. That's from the pepperoni grease seeping through the dough. It makes the rolls super yummy!
One of my favorite ways to eat a pepperoni roll is to split it open while it's warm, slather on some jarred sweet peppers with sauce and layer on mozzarella cheese. If you can't find jarred sweet peppers, use some pizza sauce. But plain is good, too. Really, really good!
Note: if you can't find stick pepperoni or don't want to go to the trouble of slicing it into strips, you can use sliced pepperoni. Use 3 slices in place of each strip and fold up as directed above.
For more yummy recipes, visit Miz Helen's Full Plate Thursday.