miércoles, 23 de julio de 2014

Cheese filled garlic dough ball recipe

Italians and Garlic, an history of love and...hate! This might be curious to hear to a northern american, but it is true. The garlic, an ingredient incredibly ancient and super healthy, is almost as loved in some region as it is hated in many others. Generally speaking, but with huge exceptions like Piedmont and Tuscany, in the central and overall in northern Italy is not so used. In Lombardy we have a paradoxical situation where is almost...well...how can I express it...is tolerated, let's say it in this way. In the southern Italy is incredibly loved and used in excellent recipes both for its flavour and its healthy properties. This is for sure an iconic indicator of how variegated Italy is in terms of both culture and traditions: what is beloved somewhere is not so well received in another. We can say that literally many Italies exists, unified in its charming and deeply humanistic culture. This will result self-evident to everyone who actually throughout the italian geography from north to south, and this is undoubtly one of the most charming feature of the Boot.

As for the use of the garlic and many other things, southern Italy may be considered more similar to Spain than to northern Italy. The emigration from the southern Italy to north America exported the culture of the garlic, and this is the reason that generated the equation: "italian cuisine equals garlic", generalizing a regional product as if it was used by the whole country with the same love.

Garlic cloves
But how was created garlic bread? It is considered to be an "americanized" version of an ancient "poor" traditional dish, the bruschetta, now a Tuscan typical antipasto. The bruschetta was consumed already in the roman era, and was made with old bread rubbed with garlic and drizzled with strong olive oil. Even if now the bruschetta is a gourmet antipasto to be eaten with the best italian extra vergin olive oil, originally it was rubbed with garlic and covered with strong oil in order to let the bread last longer in the poor cuisine of the ancient times.
European restaurants take the garlic bread back from the italo-american cuisine, and today it may be find in lots of Italian-inspired restaurants almost everywhere...north of the Alps. The main difference between the italo-american garlic bread and the bruschetta it's what is considered to be the main ingredient in terms of flavour: in garlic bread is the garlic and in the bruschetta is the olive oil, making it essential to be made with a very good olive oil. We have documents of menus in US with garlic bread in it as old as the second half of the Forties.


We wanted to give our own touch to the garlic bread, taking a little bit here and a little bit there, using instead of the usual bread the pizza dough and using a different sauce, inspired in the huge variety of canarian sauces known as "mojo", that will be sometime soon the topic of our post.

For this recipe you can use the typical pizza dough you usually use, the one you prefer best, every kind of pizza dough works for what we suggest you here. We usually use a very thin kind of pizza dough that we've mentioned in a previous post (if you want to read it, click here), because it's easy and quick to prepare.

It is the perfect recipe for a starter or an antipasto, it's better to eat it still warm, but cold are super tasty as well ;).
We can prepare the pizza dough and the garlic dough balls many days before our guests come to our house, since the rest of the preparation is pretty simple. Success is granted!

  • 1 pizza dough (recipe here)
  • 3 garlic cloves (to taste)
  • 30 g. of parsley
  • 80 -100 ml of olive oil (better if it's extra virgin)
  • Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (Always the original! To taste, but not less than 25-30 grams)
  • Mozzarella filante cheese or any melting stringy cheese
  • salt and black pepper to taste

1- With the pizza dough we make some little balls, trying to make them kinda uniform, we will fill them with the kind of cheese we've chosen. We put them in an oven tray separated each one from anothen, since they'll grow a little bit. We bake them in a preheated oven at 180º C for some 15 minutes or until we see them becoming golden brown.

Garlic dough balls ready for the oven!
2- While we're baking our garlic dough balls, we prepare our sauce (or "quasi mojo" he he!), very fast and easy to do. We can use a food processor, a mixer, a Thermomix...whatever you want, and here resides maybe the biggest difference between the mojo canario and this sauce, since the first one is traditionally made by hand and clearly has not cheese in it. Add all the ingredients of the sauce (garlic, parsley, olive oil, salt, pepper and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese) and process them together until you obtain a nice sauce.

...and garlic dough balls ready to be eaten in 3, 2, 1...
3- When our garlic dough balls are ready, we take them off of the oven and (when they're still hot) we immediately put them in a bowl together with the sauce. We stir them all together well in order to let all of the dough balls to wet well into the sauce and get all of the flavour. We can put a little bit more of grated cheese above the dough balls and...eat them as quick as you can, they literally will disappear in a matter of seconds!

The interior of our garlic dough ball...nom nom!

Buon appetito!


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