Ok, so first go looks promising, though I'm still doubtful that it's the ideal recipe. The crust looks nice, we'll see tomorrow how the crumb looks. Here is a shot of the 8 buns made with this recipe - http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/chewy-italian-rolls-recipe
The recipe recommended 13-15 min at 450°, I ended up almost 20 because I wanted the right color. I guess I'm happy enough with the outside, that's not really what matters anyway.
EDIT - had an extra one and could not wait. Crust was crunchy, interior was nice and open crumb. Overall chewy and tasty. Nice bread!