Pizza Monkey Bread

 

Sometimes you just have to set aside your plans for that kale and quinoa salad, kick off your shoes, pour a glass of wine and make yourself some monkey bread.  You will not regret this decision, at least not until tomorrow.  But tonight!  Tonight will be fun!  And that's what this is, people; maybe sort of too much fun...little balls of pizza dough stuffed with mozzarella cheese, rolled in olive oil and then parmesan cheese and stacked into a pan to be baked until golden and then pulled apart, one little ball at a time and dipped in warm marinara sauce.  You in?

The idea for this has been rattling around inside my head for so long, I had to finally just get it made and now I wish I hadn't waited so long, but I'm awfully glad I didn't wait any longer.  It's one of those incredibly wondrous culinary experiences that you think about long after it's over.  Partly because you know you ate too much, but mostly because you can't wait to do it again.  The Husband is still talking about it in reverential tones reserved only for great architecture and golden summer days.  See?  We're not kidding around here.

And honestly, it's so easy to throw together.  You can use your homemade pizza dough or some good store-bought or pizzaria dough and then...

And that's pretty much all there is to it.  Well, not really.  There's so much more to it but you'll get to find that out when you have this platter sitting in front of you.  Here's the recipe...

Pizza Monkey Bread

Click here for a printable recipe

Just a couple of tips… if you’re going for a good cheese pull, you’ll want to use regular mozzarella, like string cheese, rather than fresh mozzarella.  Also, I got all of my dough balls stuffed before rolling them in the olive oil and parmesan; just a little neater and easier.  Also, I used a 10-inch springform tube pan which made removal easy, and I made 3 layers of dough balls.  Baking times may vary based on the size of your pan and how many dough balls you make.  Enjoy! 

Pizza dough (homemade or store-bought –here’s my recipe)
Small mozzarella balls, cut in half or string cheese sticks cut into pieces
Olive oil
Parmesan cheese
Marinara sauce 

Spray a tube pan, springform pan, bundt pan or angel food cake pan with cooking spray and set aside. 

Place about ½ cup of olive oil in a little bowl and about 1 cup of grated parmesan cheese in another bowl. 

Pull off a little piece of pizza dough and form a ball around 1 ½ inches around. 

Make a little indentation in the middle of the dough ball and stuff the piece of mozzarella cheese inside.  Pull the dough up and around the cheese to enclose it and then roll the dough into a nice round ball.  

Roll the dough ball in the olive oil, then into the parmesan cheese and then place it in it in the prepared pan. 

Continue making little dough balls like this until your pan is about ¾ or 2/3 filled. 

Cover the pan with a cloth and let the dough balls rise for about an hour. 

While the dough rises, place the rack in the center of the oven and preheat it to 350 degrees. 

Remove the cloth and place the pan in the oven.  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the dough balls are golden and spring back when touched.  

Let cool briefly and then turn it out onto a serving platter.  While still warm, pull little dough balls off and dip them in warm marinara sauce.

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