There was this pretty defining moment in my life. It happened about 10 years ago on my second trip to NYC. Walking home from a show at Times Square, it was chilly and nearing midnight. Toes ached from wearing dress shoes. Belly ached for something to eat.
As I traipsed along, the street ahead of be was suddenly aglow with the blinking fluorescent light of an “Open” sign. Moving quickly toward it, I found myself standing in front of the warm, welcoming door of a tiny pizzeria. Four chefs were in the kitchen. The place smelled of garlic and Italy. Ten different pizzas with gooey soft cheese were displayed ready-to-go under hot lights.
Knees nearly buckled under the gladness of it all. I walked up and oogled the options. There was your average pepperoni. A slice or two of Margherita and sausage. And one piping hot, just-cut white pizza. Sweating olive oil, melted dollops of mozzarella and fresh chopped garlic, I could barely bring myself to point at it. So much splendor. It was like pointing directly at a garlic sun, or staring right into the face of the most beautiful piece of cheese you’ve ever known.
With order tallied, the guy behind the counter handed over a tiny paper plate, pizza splayed far outside the edges. A handful of napkins. And a beer to go.
I cozied myself into a corner of the café, folded my pizza piece flat and bit into the single most glorious midnight snack I’ve ever eaten. It was so good, I didn’t ever want it to stop. Cheese, cheese, golden dough, garlic. Cheese.
It was that experience so long ago that inspired this insanely perfect White Pizza Monkey Bread. Little squares of pizza dough, wrapped around mozzarella, dipped in garlic-alfredo sauce and rolled into more mozzarella. Then baked until so golden and gooey (and so, so good). You’ll pretty much feel like it’s midnight in NYC.
Bake up a batch and treat yourself. You deserve it!
Here’s your line-up. Not pictured above: garlic powder and seasoning. I’ve written the recipe to include Italian seasoning. But if you can get your hands on 21-spice mix… even better.
Spray a Bundt pan with nonstick baking spray (the kind with flour). You’ll want the good stuff to keep this sticky gooey pizza from getting too sticky or gooey.
Open your Pillsbury™ pizza crust and slice into 1 1/2” squares with a sharp knife.
Then wrap each square of dough around a mozzarella ball. Pinch the edges closed to keep your cheese in place as it bakes.
Dip into alfredo sauce. The canned stuff here is fine, but use your own favorite homemade recipe, if you please.
Then, dip in mozzarella seasoned with garlic powder and other seasoning/spices.
Pop it all into your prepared pan and bake until golden.
You’ll know it’s ready to come out of the oven when the top of the bread turns a nice, golden brown around the edges.
Wait about 5 minutes before turning your bread out onto a serving platter. It needs just a few minutes of cooling to keep itself together once put on a plate.
Then call in all your favorite humans and enjoy.
Or grab a beer, tuck yourself into a corner and keep this one all to yourself. That’s exactly what I’d do!
Brooke blogs at Cheeky Kitchen, where she shares crazy simple, healthy family recipes. She joined Tablespoon to share some of her best, so keep an eye on Brooke's profile to see what she cooks up next!