Hot Outta The Over: Garlic Lovers’ Knots

Hot foodie Teri Tsang Barrett knows her way around a kitchen — a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education, she works as a Food Editor at Everyday With Rachael Ray in constant search of the perfect thin crust pizza. Here’s one of her favorite frisky recipes — good food that every ravenous gal can make in a pinch.

Love Knots are like little bundles of crack—they’re addictive enough to work the same magic as a conversation heart at your next cocktail party (“I can’t stop eating these…by the way, what’s your name?”). An update on garlic knots devoured at Olive Garden’s nationwide, the little bundles are dressed up with oregano and citrus zest. Recipe, after the jump!Lovers’ Knots
Makes 26
Prep 20 minutes
Bake 25 minutes

1 pound frozen pizza dough, thawed
¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon or orange zest
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 400°. On a lightly floured work surface, stretch the pizza dough to a 14-by-17-inch rectangle; if the dough springs back, let it rest for about 5 minutes covered with a damp paper towel. Cut the dough in half lengthwise, then crosswise into 1-inch strips; you should have about twenty-six 1-by-6-inch strips.
2. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Working with 1 strip at a time, tie the strip into a knot, tucking the ends underneath. Set the knot on the prepared baking sheet, knot-side up. Repeat with the remaining strips, leaving about an inch between each knot. Cover the knots with damp paper towels as you prepare the seasoning.
3. In a small bowl, combine the oregano, ½ teaspoon lemon or orange zest, ½ teaspoon salt and the pepper; mix until combined. Using a pastry brush or your fingers, brush each knot with olive oil. Sprinkle a generous pinch of the oregano mixture over each knot. Bake until puffed and golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes.
4. While the knots are baking, combine the remaining olive oil, ½ teaspoon lemon or citrus zest and the crushed red pepper flakes, if using, in a small saucepan. Set over medium-low heat and cook for about 1 minute. Remove from the heat and let stand.
5. Once the knots are done, drizzle them lightly with the infused olive oil. Serve immediately or at room temperature.

The infused olive oil (Step 4) adds a bit of heat to the Love Knots. Skip that step if you prefer to walk on the less wild side.