The pepperoni roll is a West Virginian lunch or snack in which spicy, garlicky pepperoni is stuffed inside a soft yeasted bread roll. When it bakes, the oil from the pepperoni seeps into the bread for delicious results. Adding cheese is optional — we've gone for provolone here, whose salty, mildly sweet flavor balances the pepperoni beautifully (not to mention, it gets nice and melty too). The roll itself also has some sweetness from honey. We're serving the pepperoni rolls appetizer-style with marinara sauce on the side that's been bolstered with caramelized baked garlic and salty anchovies. Add them to the menu for your next party or tailgate.

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Credit: Photo by Jen Causey / Food Styling by Melissa Gray / Prop Styling by Christina Daley

Recipe Summary

active:
45 mins
total:
4 hrs 50 mins
Servings:
12
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Ingredients

Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Cut off and discard 1/2 inch from top of garlic head. Place garlic head on a 6-inch square of aluminum foil, and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the oil. Wrap foil around garlic, and bake directly on oven rack in preheated oven until garlic is completely softened and caramelized, about 35 minutes. Remove from oven; let cool slightly, about 15 minutes. Squeeze garlic cloves from skins into a small bowl; place in refrigerator until ready to use.

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  • While garlic roasts, stir together warm water, yeast, and sugar in a small bowl; let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.

  • Stir together eggs, warm milk, honey, kosher salt, yeast mixture, and 1/2 cup of the melted butter in bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment. With mixer running on medium-low speed, gradually add bread flour to egg mixture, beating until completely incorporated, about 1 minute. Continue beating until dough is smooth and elastic but still slightly sticky to the touch, about 6 minutes. If needed, beat in additional flour, 1 teaspoon at a time, until dough is slightly sticky but can cleanly pull away from bowl and hook. Transfer dough to a lightly greased medium bowl. Cover with plastic wrap or a clean towel, and let rise in a warm place (80°F) until almost doubled in volume, about 2 hours.

  • Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or nonstick silicone baking mats. Uncover dough, and punch down in bowl; turn out onto a lightly floured work surface. Cut dough evenly in 24 (about 2-ounce/about 1/4-cup) portions. Working with 1 dough portion at a time, roll or press each portion into a 4-inch square (cover remaining dough portions with a clean towel while working with individual portions). Place 2 pepperoni slices overlapping on 1 edge of dough. Mound 2 tablespoons provolone onto pepperoni, and fold pepperoni lengthwise in half over cheese. Roll dough over pepperoni into a 2-inch cylinder, pinching sides together. Place roll, seam side down, on baking sheet, and keep covered while continuing to form remaining rolls. Cover rolls, and let rise in a warm place for 45 minutes. 

  • Place roasted garlic cloves and anchovies on a cutting board; finely chop garlic and anchovies together. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a medium saucepan over medium. Add garlic mixture; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add marinara sauce; bring to a simmer over medium. Reduce heat to low to keep warm until ready to use.

  • Preheat oven to 375°F with racks in upper third and lower third positions. Gently brush rolls evenly with 1/4 cup of the melted butter. Sprinkle evenly with Parmigiano-Reggiano and flaky sea salt. Bake in preheated oven until rolls are golden brown, about 15 minutes, rotating baking sheets between top and bottom racks halfway through bake time. Remove from oven. Gently brush rolls with remaining 1/4 cup melted butter. Transfer to a platter, and serve with marinara sauce.

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