Garlic Knots: These are the best homemade garlic knots! They are pieces of pizza dough tied in knots, brushed with garlic butter, and baked off. Out of the oven, they’re doused again with garlic butter and served hot and delicious alongside your favorite Italian meal.
If you know me well enough, you know that I’m kind of a big fan of pizza. I mentioned recently that Kyle and recently started a weekly tradition of pizza night on Fridays for our little family.
It’s a tradition I’m carrying on from my childhood and a new tradition for Kyle. And as I’m writing this now, I’ve just spurred some memories from a few years ago that I thought I’d share with you.
When we were filling out the mounds and mounds of paperwork as part of the foster parent and adoption licensing process, there was a section that asked us to discuss traditions we had as children and about those we’d like to continue with a family of our own.
In taking some time to think through these questions, I came to realize how intensely personal family traditions are.
How they are so much a part of how we are shaped as people. What they mean to each of us individually and collectively as a family unit. How they bond family members together.
Oddly enough, pizza Fridays never came to my mind when I was mulling over my thoughts on this topic. Unless we were away or a holiday fell on a Friday, we NEVER missed a pizza night.
They were as much a part of my family’s food culture as Santa was a part of Christmas.
But I’d lost my dad less than a year before I sat thinking about these questions of family traditions. And my heart still ached tremendously. Pulling up old memories was nearly impossible to do without breaking down in tears.
My dad, the old Italian from The Bronx. The maker of the Sunday gravy. The biggest fan there ever was of chicken parm. Pizza was in his blood. So OF COURSE pizza Fridays would be a tradition within Kyle and my newly formed family.
And these garlic knots are a part of my past, too.
Garlic knots were never a given on Friday nights. They were a special treat when there was a little extra money to go around at the end of the week.
But they were a big part of the big family dinner we shared with my dad on his last birthday before he passed away later in the year. It was the same birthday I’d made that cannoli cake for and the night turned out to be an Italian food extravaganza.
Picture it: 8 of us crowded around a too-small table at Sicilia d’Oro. Eating too much, drinking too much, laughing too loudly, and eventually closing the restaurant down at the end of the night.
In the midst of plates of chicken parm, shrimp scampi, chicken scarpariello, baked stuffed clams, house salads, fried calamari (etc. etc. etc.) were baskets of the most incredible garlic knots I’d ever eaten in my entire life.
Now, I do consider myself to be a garlic knots connoisseur and I tend try them from basically any pizza shop menu I see them on. I haven’t found many places in Connecticut that do serve garlic knots but when we’re traveling, you know they’re going to be part of our order.
And I basically climbed over the table that night to reach for seconds. Poor manners, I know. My grandmother would have stabbed my hand with a fork. (I wish I were kidding.)
We all took bags of those garlic knots home with us that night and I’m pretty sure that’s because the restaurant owner was eager to get us out so he could close up. Bribing us to leave with bags of garlic knots?
In any event, the thought of garlic knots these days brings up these vivid memories. Memories of my childhood, my family, my dad. Of the traditions we made, of the meals we had together.
The rawness of these memories still cuts right through me. I don’t know if the pain will ever dull. I don’t know if I want it to because if it dulls, I’m afraid the memories will fade too.
However, I know my dad would have loved these garlic knots. I hear him in my thoughts talking about them, hear how he used to pronounce the words.
Such simple words too: garlic knots. But said with so much of a New Yawk accent. It’s an unmistakable sound.
He would have loved to know that we now have Friday pizza nights with Riley. Would have loved to know that we’re raising her with traditions that he and my mom raised their family with. And I’m so proud of this.
And I’m proud these garlic knots too, of course. Because they really were outstanding. Worthy of dragging these memories to the front of my mind for.
Worthy of making again and again and incorporating in our the traditions we’re now making with Riley.
These Garlic Knots are Fantastic Served Alongside:
- fettuccine alfredo
- eggplant parmesan
- penne alla vodka
- roasted tomato basil soup
- three cheese lasagna roll-ups
- one pot creamy sausage pasta
- spinach lasagna
- eggplant rollatini
- skillet baked chicken parm meatballs
- baked ziti
- skillet eggplant lasagna
- 8 oz pizza dough (see note below)
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 3 small cloves garlic, minced (but not too finely or they will burn in the oven)
- ½ tsp dried oregano
- Pinch of Kosher salt
- ¼ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 450° F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Divide the pizza dough into 12 equal-sized pieces. Roll each piece into an 8-inch rope and twist the rope into a knot shape, tucking the ends in if they stick out too much.
- In a small, microwave-safe bowl, heat the butter and olive oil until the butter is melted. Stir in the garlic, oregano, and salt. Brush each shaped knot with the garlic butter (you'll use about half of the butter here). Reserve the remaining garlic butter. Sprinkle some Parmesan cheese over the top of each knot.
- Bake for about 10 minutes, just until the knots are starting to brown. Keep an eye on them towards the end of the time - the garlic can burn easily.
- While the garlic knots are baking, return the bowl of garlic butter to the microwave, cover the bowl with a piece of wax paper or a paper towel, and heat for about 30 seconds on high power.
- Fresh from the oven, brush the knots with the remaining garlic butter, sprinkle with extra parmesan cheese, and serve while the knots are still warm and buttery.
Storage and Reheating: Leftover garlic knots can be stored at room temperature in a zip-top bag for up to 2 days. To reheat, wrap them in foil and warm them in a 250° F oven for about 10 minutes. If you have leftover garlic butter, refrigerate that too. You can add it to the foil packet so the knots will warm up in a garlic butter bath.
If using my homemade pizza dough recipe, you'll need half of the recipe for these garlic knots. You can certainly use the whole recipe if you want to make a whole big batch of garlic knots too! You'll also need to allow extra time in your process to make the dough (about 1 ½ hours).
Store-bought fresh pizza dough is usually sold in 16 oz or 24 oz packages and this type of dough would be fine to use, too, as would refrigerated packaged dough, like Pillsbury.
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