Thursday, June 28, 2007

Pizza Casserole Take 2

I decided to prepare my pizza casserole again for dinner (see my previous post for the recipe). This time I stuck to the original recipe and didn't half it. Good thing too... my family devoured both casseroles and only about 2 pieces were left! But this time I decided to prepare some herbed bread sticks to go with the casserole, and boy were they tasty.

There are numerous breadstick recipes on the internet and to find just one is quite hard. I prefer the breadsticks that are on the soft side, because the crunchy ones (to me) take away from the soft "al-dente"-ness of the pasta. So here's my recipe for soft herbed breadsticks.

Soft Herbed Breadsticks (Yields 2 dozen)


- 1 pk regular or quick-acting yeast
- 1 c warm water (105 to115 degree)
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 1/4 c All-purpose flour
- 2 tsp each dried rosemary (crushed) and dried thyme
- 1 tsp each dried oregano leaves and dried basil
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- Cornmeal
- 1 Egg white
- 2 tb Cold water
- Poppy or sesame seeds (optional)

1. Dissolve yeast in warm water in large bowl. Stir in sugar, salt, rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil, 2 cups of the flour and the oil. Beat until smooth.
2. Stir in enough remaining flour to make dough easy to handle (dough will be soft).
3. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface. Knead about 5 minutes until smooth and elastic.
4. Place dough in greased medium bowl and turn greased side up. Cover and let rise in warm place 1-1/2 to 2 hours or until double. (Longer rising gives typical French bread texture.)
5. Grease large cookie sheet and sprinkle with cornmeal. Divide dough into 24 equal parts.
6. Roll and shape each part into rope, about 9 inches long, sprinkling with flour if dough is too sticky. Place on cookie sheet.
7. Mix egg white and 2 tablespoons cold water. Brush over breadsticks. Sprinkle with poppy seed.
8. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Bake about 20 minutes or until crust is deep golden brown and crisp. Immediately remove from cookie sheets. Store loosely covered.

My family thought that the breadsticks were very flavorful and went well with the casserole dish. I loved these breadsticks and may have gone overboard with the thyme (after all, it's my favorite herb!)

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