These pull-apart garlic knots are baked in a cast iron skillet for a crisp, golden brown bottom. They are intensely flavored with pepperoni, red pepper flakes, garlic, and two types of cheeses, and have a moist, buttery crumb. It's the kind of recipe that your guests will demand you make time and time again because they're that damn good. Good thing they're easy as well.
Note: Because of how intensely flavored these garlic knots are, this is one case where store-bought dough (which is often under-seasoned) works just as well as homemade. So feel free to take the easy road here and use pre-made pizza dough—you won't be sacrificing any flavor.
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 4 ounces pepperoni, cut into 1/4-inch squares
- Pinch red pepper flakes
- 6 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh chives (optional)
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for sprinkling
- Flour for dusting
- 1 pound homemade or store-bought pizza dough (see note)
- 1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
- Homemade or store-bought pizza sauce for serving
Heat butter and oil in a 10-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat until butter melts and foaming subsides. Add pepperoni and cook, stirring, until pepperoni begins to crisp, about 2 minutes. Add pepper flakes and garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add parsley and chives and stir to combine. Transfer mixture to a large bowl and stir in Parmesan cheese. Do not wipe out skillet.
On a lightly floured surface, divide dough into two even pieces. Working one piece at a time, roll or stretch into an oblong about 8 inches long and 4 inches wide. With a bench scraper or knife, cut crosswise into 12 strips. Repeat with other half of dough.
Tie each strip into a knot and transfer to bowl with pepperoni/garlic mixture. Toss and fold with your hands until every knot is thoroughly coated in mixture. Transfer the knots to the skillet in a single layer. Drizzle with more olive oil, cover tightly with plastic, and set aside until doubled in size, about 4 hours. Alternatively, refrigerate until doubled in size, 12 to 16 hours.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 425°F and adjust oven rack to center position. Unwrap garlic knots. Sprinkle with Romano cheese. Transfer to oven and bake until golden brown and crisp, 25 to 30 minutes.
Remove from oven and immediately brush with more extra-virgin olive oil and sprinkle lightly with more Parmesan. Serve right away with warmed sauce on the side.