Applebees Pizza Sticks

Menu Description: “Parmesan: Thin crusty strips of pizza dough topped
with herbs & melted italian cheese, served with marinora sauce.
Loaded: Add Italian sausage & pepperoni.”
Each Applebee’s makes an effort to decorate the inside of the restaurant with pictures and memorabilia from the neighborhood in which it is located. You’ll see photographs of local heroes and students, license plates, banners, old souvenirs, trinkets, and andt iques all representing area history. Take a look around the walls of the next Applebee’s you visit. Maybe you can find something you lost several years ago.
Meanwhile, here’s a find: pizza sticks that are made from dough that is proofed, fried, and then broiled. The frying adds a unique flavor and texture to the dough that you won’t get with traditional pizza. I’ve designed this recipe to use the premade dough that comes in tubes (you know, like the stuff from that dough boy). But you can make this with any dough recipe you might like, or with one from this book (which I know you’ll like, see page 211). Just roll the dough into a 10 X l54nch rectangle before slicing.
These appetizers can be made either in the Parmesan version without meat, or “loaded” with sausage and pepperoni. This recipe yields a lot, so it makes good party food.
Marinara Dipping Sauce
1 8ounce can tomato sauce /2 teaspoon dried
1 tomato, chopped oregano
I tablespoon diced onion 1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar /8 teaspoon dried basil

Parmesan Pizza Sticks
I 10-ounce tube instant pizza ¼ cup grated fresh Parmesan
dough (Pillsbury is good) cheese
2 to 4 cups vegetable oil for /2 teaspoon dried oregano
frying ¼ teaspoon dried basil
1/4 cups grated mozzarella ¼ teaspoon caraway seeds
cheese 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt
Optional (for the “Loaded”)
3 ounces pepperoni, 3 ounces Italian sausage,
diced cooked and crumbled
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
2. Prepare the dipping sauce by combining all of the marinara ingredients in a small, uncovered saucepan and bringing the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer the sauce for ½ hour. (The sauce can be made ahead and kept, re frigerated, for several days.)
3. Prepare the pizza sticks by first proofing the dough. Unroll the dough onto a cutting board and straighten the edges. It should form a rectangle that is longer from left to right than top to bottom. With a sharp knife or pizza cutter, slice through the middle of the dough lengthwise. This will divide the rectangle into two thinner rectangles that will measure 4 to 5 inches from top to bottom.
4. Slice the dough from top to bottom into 1’/2-inch-wide pieces. You should have somewhere between 20 and 24 dough slices.
5. Place the slices onto a greased cookie sheet about ‘/2 inch apart and bake for 3 minutes. You may have to use more than one cookie sheet. This will proof the dough so that it be- comes stiff.
6. Heat vegetable oil in a frying pan or deep fryer to 350 degrees F. Oil should be at least 1/2 inch deep if using a stovetop pan. You will want to use more oil with a deep fryer.
7. Fry pizza sticks 5 to 6 at a time for about I minute perside or until they are a dark golden brown. Remove them from the oil onto a cloth or paper towel to drain.
8. When all the pizza dough sticks are fried, arrange them once
again on the cookie sheet(s). You may want to line the cookie
sheets with foil to make cleanup easier. Preheat the broiler.
9. Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese evenly over the dough.

10. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese evenly over the mozzarella.
11. Combine the oregano, basil, caraway seeds, and garlic salt in a small bowl. If your oregano and basil are fairly coarse you can use your thumb and first finger to crunch the spice up a little, making it a finer blend.
12. Sprinkle the spice mixture over the cheese.
13. If you want to make the “loaded” variety, sprinkle the pep- peroni and sausage over the top of the pizza sticks.
14. Broil the pizza sticks for 2 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Serve hot with dipping sauce on the side.