Imagine a pizza that’s just as good cold as when it was fresh. Okay, that’s quite easy. How about one that you can just slap in a lunch bag? In my native Hungary, these pastries come dirt cheap at any corner bakery, and are a favorite for school and work lunches. And best of all, they’re quite easy to make at home, too!
- Half a rope smoked sausage
- 2-3 strips bacon (optional; I like the smoky flavor)
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 of a small can of tomato paste
- 3 tsp oregano
- 1-1/2 tsp basil
- 1 small onion
- 4-5 large cloves of garlic
- salt, pepper and sugar to taste; water as needed
- Shredded cheese and parmesan cheese for filling and topping the pastries.
First, cook the sauce. Chop the sausage and the bacon in smallish pieces, and cook them in a large pan. I covered them for a while, so they retained moisture better. This takes about 10 minutes.
Fry the sausage and bacon
Chop the onion – you don’t need to go too fine with it for this recipe, medium cubes work just as fine. In a saucepan, heat up the oil, and fry the onion over medium heat.
Chop up the garlic, too, and add it when the onion starts to soften. In a few minutes, you can add the herbs, then the tomato paste.
Fry the paste for a little while – this will help the “canned” flavor to dissipate. Spice it to taste with salt, pepper and sugar (the sugar also helps chase the can-taste), then add enough water to make a thick but spreadable paste. Bring the paste to a gentle boil, then take it off the heat and let it cool for a few minutes.
The tomato part of the sauce
Drain the sausage and bacon, and add them to the paste, then pour the whole thing in the blender. Blend it thoroughly, adding more water as needed to keep up the spreadable consistency. Finally, let the mix cool completely- put it in the fridge when it’s not too hot.
Now to the crust. Proof the yeast first – mix the lukewarm milk with the sugar, then add the yeast. Be sure to do it in a glass, porcelain or plastic bowl, and use no metallic utensils – these may cause your yeast to not rise. Mix in the yeast, then let it stand at a warm, draft-free place for 5-10 minutes, until the top becomes frothy. With instant yeast, you can even skip the proofing process, but your dough will rise a lot slower. In a large bow, mix together all the other ingredients, and add the proofed yeast with the milk. Knead the dough until all the ingredients come together, forming a soft dough; then let it rise in a warm, draft-free place until it doubles in bulk – this should take about 35-40 minutes to an hour. You may need to turn off the air conditioner, or put the bowl in the oven to reach this – if you do the latter, you may preheat it to about 100 degrees and turn it off before putting the bowl in. The extra heat will speed rising time.
Ready to rise!
When it’s ready, turn the dough out to a floured board, and roll it out very thin – about 3 mm, or 1/16 of an inch. Spread the cooled filling on the dough, leaving the top 1/2″ empty – this way the ends will stick on when rolled up. Sprinkle the filling with parmesan and/or shredded cheese – I did both -, then roll it up, starting from the bottom, like a jelly roll.
They see me rollin'
Using a sharp knife with a long, thin blade – like a carving knife
-, cut 1/2″ slices of the roll and place them on a cookie sheet covered with wax paper.
Cut 1/2" slices from the roll
Top the rolls with shredded cheese, if you like, then cover the cookie sheets with a clean tablecloth, and let the rolls rise for another half hour.
Rolls on the cookie sheet
While the rolls rise, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. The rolls bake ready in about 15 minutes – making a great snack, quick school or work lunch, or appetizer. In an airtight box, they should keep for 3-4 days, but I never got to test this theory – they never lasted so long for me!
Enjoy your meal!