These pillow-soft buns look like classic dinner rolls, but they have a savory surprise inside: a filling of garlicky tomato sauce. If you want something even more reminiscent of pizza, add a bit of fresh mozzarella to the inside of each roll before pinching it closed. —Posie (Harwood) Brien
(14 1/2-ounce) can Muir Glen petite diced tomatoes
freshly ground black pepper
red pepper flakes
unsalted butter (for the topping)
In This Recipe
Combine all the dough ingredients plus 1 1/4 cups (283g) lukewarm water in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Mix until combined, then knead using the dough hook until the dough is very smooth (the dough will be quite sticky; that’s okay), about 10 minutes.
Transfer the dough to a large, lightly greased bowl and cover loosely. Set aside to rise for about 90 minutes, or until almost doubled in size.
While the dough rises, make the filling. Heat the olive oil in a medium pan over medium-high heat. Add 3 cloves' worth of minced garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and all the remaining ingredients (except the butter) and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, until the sauce thickens a bit. Use a spatula to press down on the diced tomatoes as they cook, which will help make the consistency slightly less chunky. Set the sauce aside to cool while the dough finishes rising.
When the dough has risen, grease a 9-inch round baking pan. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces; each piece should weigh about 60 grams.
Working with one piece of dough at a time, shape it into a flat circle. Spoon a heaping tablespoon of filling into the center of the dough, then carefully pinch the dough up and around the filling and pinch firmly to close. Place the dough ball, pinched side down, in the prepared pan. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.
Cover loosely and let the rolls rise for about 1 hour, or until quite puffy.
When the rolls have almost risen, preheat the oven to 350°F.
While the oven preheats, make the topping. Melt the butter in a small bowl. Using the flat side of a sharp chef’s knife, mash the remaining 2 cloves of minced garlic into a purée. Stir the garlic purée into the melted butter. Brush the garlic butter liberally over the tops of the rolls, reserving about a quarter of the butter to use after they bake.
Bake the rolls for about 25 minutes, or until golden brown on top. Remove from the oven and brush the remaining garlic butter on top.