I had a dinner party scheduled. I knew I was going to make some lasagna, so I wanted something to go with that. I decided to try garlic knots. You know, those knotted bits of fluffy bread slathered with garlic and butter? Yum! I wanted to go one better and try to stuff them with some mozzarella. I made them once before the dinner to make sure they would turn out. Once I made them with only butter and no olive oil. Once I made them with fresh parsley. I tried them with a small dish of pizza sauce and then with the lasagna. They were good every time. Really good. Every time.
Even better, they were pretty easy.
Mozzarella Stuffed Garlic Knots
1 canister of Pillsbury French Bread or Bread Sticks
3-4 gloves garlic, minced
4 Tablespoons butter
4 Tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon each of fresh parsley and basil, minced or 1 teaspoon Italian herbs
Pizza sauce, optional.
Heat the oven to 375°. I used a cake pan once and a baking sheet with a Silpat another time. Both worked well. Get out the pan you will use.
Melt the butter with the garlic in the microwave, about 30 seconds. I like to put a paper towel over the bowl as butter tends to spit before it is fully melted. I hate cleaning the microwave.
Add the herbs you will use. Choose any mixture of Italian herbs you like, parsley, basil, cilantro or the dried Italian herbs that I used. Because I had them.
Cut the Mozzarella in 1 inch cubes. Open the canister and if you are using the French Bread, cut it into 8 equal pieces. ( The Pillsbury bread sticks were unavailable here, but they are already long and you may need two pinched together to fully cover the cheese lumps.)
Using a rolling pin, roll one piece about 2 inches wide and 4 inches long. Place a cube of cheese in the center and fold one half over the cheese, lengthwise. Then fold the other side over that and seal by pinching with your fingers. It will look like a snake the has just consumed a large meal.
Pinch gently on either side of the cheese lump and lightly stretch the long ends as far as they will easily go. You don't want to tear them. Fold the bread around a finger and make a knot. You want to fully pull the bread tail through the loop in the knot. If it isn't, the knot may unravel. It will still be tasty, but it will be a garlic crescent. Place the finished knot on the baking pan and repeat for all the other pieces of bread.
Pour or brush about half of the butter mixture over the bread knots.
Bake for about 15 to 20 minutes or until they are golden brown on top. Some of the mozzarella make leak out or be absorbed in the bread.
Brush the remaining butter and garlic mixture over the garlic knots when you take them out of the oven. Then remove to a wire rack to cool slightly before serving.
Next time I may try a regular ball of mozzarella and see if they last longer in the oven than the fresh cheese. Just know that any combination of herbs and cheese will make a fabulous side dish.
I served them with a small dish of pizza sauce when I fixed them before the lasagna. Quite good. Then I served them with the lasagna. Also delicious. I'm sure no one noticed I mopped up the tomato sauce with a corner of my garlic knot. Cause my guests are way more polite than I.