These long, crispy bread sticks are a lovely accompaniment to any soup, including Mario Batali's vegetable-and-farro version. Batali makes the bread sticks with leaves from the lightly bitter Mediterranean herb myrtle; crushed juniper berries are a good substitute. He also seasons the grissini with cayenne pepper, one of his favorite spices; he keeps it in a salt shaker so it's easy to dispense.
More Mario Batali Recipes
3/4 cup water
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 tablespoon honey
1 package active dry yeast
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon juniper berries, crushed or ground to a powder
1 tablespoon kosher salt
Cayenne pepper, for dusting
How to Make It
In a large bowl, stir the water with 1/2 cup of the flour, the honey and the yeast. Let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes. Stir in the remaining 1 1/2 cups of flour, the olive oil, juniper and salt and knead until a smooth dough forms. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let stand in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 425°. Line 3 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Punch down the dough and cut it into 4 equal pieces. On a floured work surface, roll out each piece of dough to a 6-by-10-inch rectangle. Cut the rectangles lengthwise into 1/2-inch-wide strips. Arrange the strips on the prepared sheets and sprinkle lightly with cayenne pepper. Let stand until puffed, about 15 minutes.
Bake the grissini for about 15 minutes, until golden brown; switch the pans halfway through baking. Let the grissini cool and crisp on the baking sheet before serving.
The grissini can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days. Rewarm in a 350° oven for about 3 minutes before serving.
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