Thursday, September 20, 2018

How to Enjoy a West Virginia Pepperoni Roll

If you are asking yourself "What is a pepperoni roll?" then you are obviously not from West Virginia or the surrounding area.

So what exactly is a pepperoni roll?  They were invented in Fairmont, West Virginia and originally they were just pepperoni baked into bread.  However, since that time there are other variations.  Chili and cheese is my favorite and that's popular in the Fairmont area -- my recommendation is to get one from Colasassano's if at all possible.  (They are so huge an fabulous there they call them "Pepperoni Buns" because it can't all fit in a roll!)  I recommend the Pennsylvania Avenue location for the fun history (Robert Kennedy ate there!)

In my area, about an hour from Fairmont, cheese baked into the roll is a favorite.  It's not uncommon to find plain or with cheese at a church garage and bake sale.  I prefer mozzarella or cheddar cheese, but I have seen them made with American cheese.

A friend from Poca, WV once told me that I made my pepperoni rolls "wrong" because I put chili in them instead of tomato paste.  I had never heard of that variation, but then again, Poca is not close to where I live

To make the simple ones, it's quite easy.  Get sliced pepperoni (or slice it yourself) and wrap bread dough around it and bake it until the bread is done.  You can get frozen bread dough and thaw it and let it raise for this purpose, or make the dough in your bread machine

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I have seen a post going around Facebook about making pizza stuffed skulls.  These are very similar, and in fact you could line a Halloween themed baking mold (or really, any type of baking mold) with the bread dough, adding in pepperoni, chili (I prefer Wolf Chili Without Beans), cheese, and then covering it with more bread.  Keep in mind, these are hand held items, originally made to go in a coal miner's lunch box, so don't make them too large.  If you aren't eating them warm out of the oven you may want to omit the chili.

When I volunteered with Special Olympics, lunch was pepperoni rolls, only they shredded the pepperoni to make it safer for children with swallowing problems.

The best "cold" pepperoni rolls I have ever eaten are from Shop and Save in Oakland, Maryland.  (While they are a West Virginia food, they have spread a bit to the surrounding area.)

Pepperoni rolls -- as wild as wonderful as West Virginia!

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