More often than not, for chefs, simplicity becomes a staple. Such was the case for Chef Mike Hacker. He found that when it was his turn to make staff meal, he’d often turn to pizza. It was the only food he never tired of making, and he saw endless creativity in the combination of crust, sauce, and toppings. During his tenure at Watts Grocery in Durham, North Carolina, he had great exposure to traditional Southern ingredients, local producers and seasonal menus, and he started to see a connection between that kind of eating and his beloved pizza pies.
He also had a connection with Becky, a front-of-the-house breath of fresh air whose enthusiasm and sharp business mind (she has an MBA) helped fuel the possibility that he could make a go of this pizza thing. And that maybe they could build a life and a business together. This was an opportunity neither one of them could pass up; he could be in charge of his own “kitchen” and she could run her own small business.
The Hacker’s food truck, Pie Pushers, is about to celebrate its fourth anniversary this April, and it has become a staple for some of the best pizza in the Triangle. They currently work with thirteen farms in the area, and their pies reflect the best of the region, from sweet potatoes and pesto to Firsthand Foods country sausage.
But Pie Pushers is a practical operation as well. They sell by the slice, and they try not to waste, which inspired the recipe we’re sharing below.
“We had extra dough from making the calzones, and we wanted to use it to do a better version of garlic knots, where you got all the flavor without the burnt garlic taste,” Mike says. “Roasted garlic in the middle is the key.”
One cup of parmesan cheese for each batch doesn’t hurt either.
Pie Pushers “Garlic Knots”
from Mike Hacker of Pie Pushers, Durham, NC