Not just any eggplant parm slider.
THE BUN IS A GARLIC KNOT.
I don’t know why I didn’t think of this sooner. As a child I would say one of my top 5 favorite foods of all time was Little Caesar’s “crazy bread” which is basically a garlic knot in stick form. Also topping the list? Oriental chicken, spaghetti and meatballs, chocolate chip cookies, and Velveeta cheese straight from the box.
You knew I was going to throw a wrench in there.
Also my mom is reading this like “Everyone is going to think we ate Little Caesar’s pizza once a week!!” We certainly did not. Actually, their pizza sucks. But the crazy bread is my jam.
And I definitely snuck the Velveeta cheese from the fridge when no one was looking.
Spoiler alert: garlic knots are just pizza dough shaped in a fancy way with a bunch of garlicky butter poured over them. Heavenly. I made them larger than usual for this particular recipe because I wanted to make sure I could fit all the toppings inside.
You don’t have to use eggplant here- you could do meatballs, or chicken parm, or even Italian cold cuts.
for the garlic knots (makes 4 large knots)
1 package dry active yeast
1 cup warm water
1 tsp honey
2 1/2-3 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
4 tbs melted butter
4-5 cloves garlic
fresh herbs (I had basil)
Combine the honey and warm water (it can be really warm from your tap) and add the yeast. Let it sit for a few minutes until it’s really foamy. Combine with flour and salt- I usually start with about a cup at a time and stir it together until it’s combined and not sticky anymore. Knead for a few minutes, and then let it rest in an oiled bowl (covered) for about an hour. If you need more time, you can punch it down and let it rise again. This recipe is easily multiplied if you need to make a bunch.
Shape into a rough rectangle. I cut four long strips because I was making these big, but you could cut the other way for regular-sized garlic knots.
I tied each of the strips into a double knot (again, because they were big), sprinkled them with a little sea salt, and placed them on a baking sheet to rise again.
After they’ve risen for about 30 minutes, bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes, depending on how big they are. They’ll get slightly golden at the top. While they’re baking, you can make the butter. Melt half a stick of butter on the stove. Add minced garlic and freshly chopped herbs (or dried herbs are okay too). Pour over the knots and let them bake for another minute or two.
I fried my eggplant with this method. I also caramelized an onion. Stack on some fresh mozzarella cheese, some basil leaves, and either a fresh tomato slice or tomato sauce (we tried it both ways- both delicious).
Slice open that knot, put all your toppings inside and serve!
If you want to serve some alternative to the usual pulled pork/meatball/burger/sub varieties that are typically present at Superbowl parties, this is your answer.
Or if you’re short on time, just stop at Little Caesar’s for crazy bread. Either one.