There is always one item of food that mentioned whenever I talk to other people in Dubuque about Crust. For some reason, it was still the dough balls that were the star of the show. 

That isn’t to say that actual dishes weren’t great, we just always seemed to be drawn to those little bits of bread. The death of our favorite complimentary treat. I want to post this brief celebration to remind diners of what we lost and offer a solution to fill the void.

There Were Many Reasons To Love These Dough Balls, Which Is Why We Miss Them So Much

Let’s start with the basic facts. These cheesy little balls of dough were tasty, fun, practical, and free. Food often tastes better when it is free or unexpected. It is why we tend only to eat prawn crackers at a Chinese restaurant or breadsticks from an Italian kitchen. These complimentary balls could have been a cheap, nasty afterthought thrown next to a more complicated entree. There are some critics with high standards that would argue that this was true. However, the rest looked forward to that moment when the waitress brought out that little basket and took our order. I admit that there may have been a bad batch on occasions, but most of us couldn’t get enough of them.

The locals that I talk to and my family members look back on those balls with great affection. We can’t always put our finger on precisely what it was about them that was so special. Many of us have our ideas. I believe that it was a blend of flavors. The use of parmesan, herbs, and oil in that dough was perfect. Others talk about the texture and sense of quality that they hadn’t seen in other establishments. My kids loved how the dough mopped up the mess they left with their soup or pasta. It added to the laid back. Family-Friendly feel that Crust mastered.

Creating Our Own Dough Balls At Home

We occasionally get a takeaway pizza from a chain I will not name that has similar balls on edge. I say similar because I am always told that they are nice but not as good as normal. That is why I am looking into recipes for my Parmesan dough balls. There are lots of different recipes for dough bites with added garlic and Parmesan puffs. The basic mixture of milk, butter, flour, and cheese is simple to make, and they only take 15 to cook. From there, it is easy to play with flavors and quantities.

So far, my success rate is about 50%. The texture is good, but I am often reminded that they are not quite right. We may not have our Italian kitchen to perfect Crust’s recipe, but our love of these balls means that we cannot help but try. I am not prepared to say goodbye entirely.