Kid-friendly Brushed Breadsticks in a Skillet + No-Cook Marinara Sauce + Spumoni Shakes Recipe - Sticky Fingers Cooking
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Family Meal Plan: Brushed Breadsticks in a Skillet + No-Cook Marinara Sauce + Sweet Spumoni Shakes

Family Meal Plan: Brushed Breadsticks in a Skillet + No-Cook Marinara Sauce + Spumoni Shakes

Brushed Breadsticks in a Skillet + No-Cook Marinara Sauce + Sweet Spumoni Shakes

by Dylan Sabuco
Photo by Dylan Sabuco
prep time
25 minutes
cook time
15 minutes
makes
4-6 servings

Fun Food Story

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Brushed Breadsticks in a Skillet

Going out for Italian food was one of my favorites as a kid. Often, the highlight wasn’t the pasta or the pizza but the humble basket of freshly baked breadsticks that arrived at the table before anything else. These golden rods, crisp on the outside and wonderfully soft on the inside, were more than an appetizer to me; they were the main attraction. I savored every warm, doughy bite, trying to leave room for whatever was coming next but knowing that I could have happily made a meal out of the breadsticks alone.

This recipe set is for everyone who believes that breadsticks can be celebrated as a meal—not just the opening act but the star of the show.

Happy & Healthy Cooking,

Chef Erin, Food-Geek-in-Chief
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Shopping List

  • FROZEN
  • 1 C frozen cherries
  • PANTRY
  • 1/4 C olive oil
  • 2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 2 1/4 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 C all-purpose flour **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 1/2 C Parmesan cheese **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 1 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 1/4 tsp dried rosemary
  • 2 T cornmeal
  • 1 4-oz can tomato paste **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 1 small can sweetened condensed milk **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 1 T cocoa powder **(see allergy subs below)**
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract **(see allergy subs below)**
  • HAVE ON HAND
  • 2 C water
  • 1 C ice

Fun-Da-Mentals Kitchen Skills

  • bake :

    to cook food with dry heat, as in an oven.

  • blend :

    to stir together two or more ingredients until just combined; blending is a gentler process than mixing.

  • knead :

    to work dough by pushing, pulling, and folding it by hand or with a stand mixer.

  • knife skills :

    Bear Claw (growl), Pinch, Plank, and Bridge (look out for trolls)

  • measure :

    to calculate the specific amount of an ingredient required using a measuring tool (like measuring cups or spoons).

  • mix :

    to thoroughly combine two or more ingredients until uniform in texture.

  • slice :

    to cut into thin pieces using a sawing motion with your knife.

  • sprinkle :

    to scatter small drops or particles of an ingredient evenly or randomly over food. 

Equipment Checklist

  • Can opener
  • Small mixing bowl
  • Measuring spoons
  • Wooden spoon
  • Blender (or pitcher + immersion blender)
  • Liquid measuring cup
  • Large skillet with lid
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Medium mixing bowl
  • Dry measuring cups
  • Tongs
  • Cutting board + kid-safe knife
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Ingredients

Brushed Breadsticks in a Skillet

  • 3 T olive oil
  • 3/4 C water
  • 2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 2 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 C all-purpose flour **(for GLUTEN ALLERGY sub gluten-free/nut-free flour)**
  • 1/2 C Parmesan cheese **(for DAIRY ALLERGY sub 1/4 C nutritional yeast)**
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 2 T cornmeal

No-Cook Marinara Sauce

  • 1 4-oz can tomato paste **(for NIGHTSHADE/TOMATO ALLERGY sub 1/2 C pumpkin purée + 1 big pinch of other seasonings)**
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 pinch granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 T water
  • 1 tsp olive oil

Sweet Spumoni Shakes

  • 7 oz sweetened condensed milk **(for DAIRY ALLERGY sub 1 C dairy-free/nut-free plain yogurt + 1/2 C granulated sugar)**
  • 1 T cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract **(for GLUTEN ALLERGY use certified gluten-free pure vanilla extract, not imitation vanilla flavor—check label)**
  • 1 C frozen cherries
  • 1 C water
  • 1 C ice

Food Allergen Substitutions

Brushed Breadsticks in a Skillet

  • Gluten/Wheat: Substitute gluten-free/nut-free flour.
  • Dairy: For 1/2 C Parmesan cheese, substitute 1/4 C nutritional yeast.

No-Cook Marinara Sauce

  • Nightshade/Tomato: For 1 4-oz can tomato paste, substitute 1/2 C pumpkin purée and add 1 big pinch of all the seasonings in the recipe.

Sweet Spumoni Shakes

  • Dairy: For 7 oz sweetened condensed milk, substitute 1 C dairy-free/nut-free plain yogurt + 1/2 C granulated sugar.
  • Gluten/Wheat: Use certified gluten-free pure vanilla extract, not imitation vanilla flavor.

Instructions

Brushed Breadsticks in a Skillet

1.
intro

Breadsticks have been a restaurant and household staple since they appeared in Italy in the late 14th century. Breadsticks were originally known for their crisp and snappy texture; however, they have evolved since then to include fluffy versions meant for dipping or twisty, knotted variations meant for brushing with oil and topping with cheese. Our breadsticks will be made in a skillet to add a new twist. The thin, crispy dough you will create will get brushed with oil and herbs and sprinkled with a bit of cheese for the ultimate, dippable breadstick. You might need to make extra dough because these breadsticks will be gobbled up before you know it.

2.
measure + mix

Start by measuring 2 teaspoons active dry yeast, 2 teaspoons sugar, and 3/4 cup water into a large bowl. Gently mix. In a medium bowl, measure 1 teaspoon salt, 2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, and 1 tsp dried rosemary. After 5 minutes have gone by, pour the flour mixture into the large bowl with the water, yeast, and sugar. Mix with a wooden spoon until a loose ball of dough forms.

3.
scrumptious science

Even though yeast looks like large grains of sand, it is actually a living organism. Yeast is a label broadly used to describe about 1,500 different kinds of fungi. This means that yeast makes up about one percent of the fungus you would come across in the world. The type we are using today is called active dry yeast. It means that the yeast is alive but sleeping in its container. To "wake up" the yeast, you will need to feed it its favorite breakfast: sugar! Once the yeast begins eating the sugar, it creates a byproduct: carbon dioxide. (I like to think of the yeast as burping little, itty bitty burps from eating the sugar too fast!) This carbon dioxide will later be trapped inside the breadstick dough you are creating in this recipe, which is super important for making a light, fluffy texture.

4.
preheat + knead

Preheat a large skillet to low heat. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle 2 tablespoons cornmeal over that. This mixture will prevent the breadsticks from sticking to the skillet. Meanwhile, take a few minutes to knead the dough. When kneading, be sure to press with the heel of your hand and fold the dough occasionally to ensure you are evenly mixing all the parts of the dough.

5.
bake + sprinkle

Once kneaded, stretch the dough into the thinnest possible circle possible. Gently lift the dough and lay it into the skillet. It should look like you are making a big pizza with no sauce or toppings. Sprinkle with 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese and drizzle with the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. Increase the heat to medium, cover the skillet, and cook for 12 to 15 minutes.

6.
slice + dip

While the dough cooks, be sure to manage the heat and check the bottom of the dough every few minutes using tongs. Once the dough is brown on the bottom and fully cooked on the top, remove it from the skillet and slice into long strips. These breadsticks are ready to dunk in some sauce! "Mangia bene" (MAN-jah BEH-neh) or "Eat and enjoy" in Italian!

No-Cook Marinara Sauce

1.
measure + mix

This recipe is super simple. All you have to do is dump all the ingredients into a bowl, mix them, and adjust the flavor and texture to your liking. Let’s dive in! Measure 1 can tomato paste, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 pinch of sugar, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary, 1 tablespoon water, and 1 teaspoon olive oil. Stir to combine. Take a small taste and adjust the flavor and texture to your liking by adding more oil, water, or seasonings.

2.
dip + dunk

Dip and dunk your brushed breadsticks in this super simple and delicious sauce. Buon appetito!

Sweet Spumoni Shakes

1.
intro

Spumoni typically refers to a tri-colored combination of cherry, pistachio, and chocolate ice creams. This recipe will skip the bright green pistachio (SFC is 100% nut-free). Instead, we will try to recreate the iconic flavor in a nut-free way.

2.
measure + blend

Measure and dump everything into a blender (or pitcher for use with an immersion blender). You will need 7 ounces sweetened condensed milk, 1 tablespoon cocoa powder, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 cup frozen cherries, 1 cup water, and 1 cup ice. Blend until smooth. Try some Italian counting while you blend: 1 uno (ooh-noh), 2 due (dooh-eh), 3 tre (treh), 4 quattro (kwat-troh), and 5 cinque (cheen-kweh). Feel free to add more of any ingredient to adjust the flavor.

3.
pour + slurp

Pour the shake into cups and enjoy! "Salute" (sah-LOO-teh) or "Cheers" in Italian!

Surprise Ingredient: Baker's Yeast!

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Photo by Galiyah Assan/Shutterstock.com

Hi! I'm Baker's Yeast!

"Did you know that I'm a living organism? If you add baker's yeast to dough, it will cause your bread, cinnamon rolls, doughnuts, and more to rise up! Just add me to warm water with a little sugar (which I love to eat) and wait at least five minutes until I burp some gas bubbles (excuse me!) and get foamy at the top before adding me to your flour and other ingredients!"

  • Yeasts are single-celled, microscopic members of the fungus kingdom. Baker's yeast is from the species Saccharomyces cerevisiae. It is the strain of yeast used to leaven (or raise) bread and other types of dough. It is also used in beer and winemaking. 
  • There are several varieties of baker's yeast: active dry yeast, compressed yeast, cream yeast, deactivated yeast, instant yeast, and rapid-rise yeast. Home bakers and Sticky Fingers Cooking chef instructors generally use active dry yeast, instant yeast, or rapid-rise yeast when baking. 
  • Active dry yeast must be activated by adding a warm liquid, like water or milk. Its granules are larger than the other dry yeasts, instant and rapid-rise, which do not have to be rehydrated (or proofed). 
  • The word "yeast" comes from the Old English "gist," of Germanic origin, from an Indo-European root "yes-," meaning to "boil," "foam," or "bubble."
  • Baker's yeast has some protein, fiber, B vitamins, and potassium; however, the amount you would get from a packet of active dry yeast distributed throughout a dough would be minimal.
  • Nutritional yeast, a deactivated yeast, contains more protein, fiber, B vitamins, and potassium than active dry yeast. People who eat a vegan or vegetarian diet often add nutritional yeast to foods to supplement these nutrients and add a nutty or cheesy flavor to foods.

History of Breadsticks!

Photo by AnaMarques/Shutterstock.com
  • Breadsticks may have come from near Turin, Italy, in 1643. The elongated, "bone-thin" bread being made there was described by a Florentine monk. However, tradition states that they were first created in the Piedmont region in Northwest Italy in the 17th century by a baker from Turin.
  • These crisp, dry servings of bread, which can be the circumference of one or two pencils, are made of flour, yeast, water, olive oil, and salt. They are typically served as an appetizer with or without other items, such as cheese, prosciutto, or olives. They can also be dipped in sauces, like marinara or pesto.
  • Breadsticks in North America are often larger and softer and topped with butter, garlic, and Parmesan cheese. Or, the topping may be icing or butter, sugar, and cinnamon if served for dessert.

Let's Learn About Italy!

Photo by Marina Andrejchenko/Shutterstock.com
  • Italy became a unified country in 1861, only 150 years ago. It is sometimes called "bel paese" or "beautiful country."  
  • Italians invented the piano and the thermometer! 
  • In ancient Roman mythology, two twin brothers named Romulus and Remus founded Rome, Italy's capital city. The myth says the twins were abandoned and then discovered by a she-wolf before being found and raised by a shepherd and his wife. Eventually (and after many exciting adventures), they found themselves at the location of Palatine Hill, where Romulus built "Roma." The Italian wolf became Italy's unofficial national animal. 
  • In the 1930s and 40s, Mussolini, Italy's prime minister, and dictator tried to eliminate all foreign words from the Italian language. How did he do that? He just changed them! For example, in soccer, "goal" became "meta." Disney character names changed, too: Donald Duck became "Paperino;" Mickey Mouse became "Topolino;" and Goofy became "Pippo." Although they're not banned anymore, these words and names have stuck. So now if you go to the Italian Disneyland, called Gardaland Park, you will see Topolino and Pippo! 
  • About 60 million people call Italy home, and it is 116,350 square miles, slightly larger than the US state of Arizona. If you compare that to the United Kingdom, 67 million people live there, and it is about 94,350 square miles. So, the UK is smaller than Italy but has a bigger population! 
  • The Italian flag is green, white, and red. These colors represent hope, faith, and charity.
  • The average Italian eats close to 55 pounds of pasta annually. If you think about how light pasta is, that is a considerable amount! There are more than 500 different types of pasta eaten in Italy today. 

What's It Like to Be a Kid in Italy?

  • Kids begin school at 6 years old. They grow up speaking Italian, but they learn English in school, so many become bilingual in Italian and English.
  • The most popular sport for kids is football (soccer). The Italian word for soccer is "calcio," the same word they use for "kick." A favorite of younger kids is "Rody, the bouncing horse," a plastic horse that a small child can hop onto and bounce around the room. Rody was invented in Italy in 1984.  
  • The family ("la famiglia") is a central characteristic of Italian life. Children have great respect for their older relatives. It is traditional to name the first male child after the grandfather and the first female child after the grandmother.
  • If kids live close to school, they can go home and have lunch with their families! Lunch at school might be pasta, meat with vegetables, a sandwich, or a salad with lots of ingredients. Families typically eat dinner later (7 to 8 pm), so kids end up staying up later, too!
  • Between lunch and dinner, kids often enjoy "merenda," which is an afternoon snack that translates to "something that is deserved." It is really a mini-meal that can include both savory and sweet foods. Examples of savory foods are a salami or mortadella sandwich, a slice of rustic bread rubbed with a cut, raw tomato, or "pizza bianca" (white pizza without tomato sauce). Types of sweet foods eaten during merenda are "gelato" (a lower-fat type of ice cream), any kind of cake, or biscotti dipped in warm milk.

That's Berry Funny

What did the butter say to the bread? 

"I'm on a roll!'

Lettuce Joke Around

Why did the cherry go to the chocolate factory?

It was cordially invited.

Lettuce Joke Around

What did the yeast say to the bag of flour? 

Come on, we knead to be serious!

The Yolk's On You

What do you call stolen cocoa? 

Hot chocolate!

Lettuce Joke Around

How do you fix a broken tomato? 

Tomato paste!

THYME for a Laugh

What did the yeast confess to the bag of flour? 

I loaf you dough much!

The Yolk's On You

When does bread rise?

When you yeast expect it to!

Lettuce Joke Around

What did the Sticky Fingers Cooking kids say to their mini mahogany cakes? 

"You are Cherry, Cherry Sweet!"

THYME for a Laugh

What did the ice cream say to the fruit? 

"You are the Cherry on top!"

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