Monday, September 7, 2009
My Venture into Pizza – Jelly-Roll Style
Holy Stromboli, Batman! You're going to love this recipe. It's quick and easy to make – and tastes great, too. I'm using the term "recipe" very generously since you don't have to measure anything when making it. Stromboli can be made a million ways but, regardless of the ingredients, it is always rolled up like a jelly roll and baked. Marinara sauce is not a usual ingredient but is sometimes added. Occasionally, I add basil and roasted red bell peppers before rolling it up – VERY yummy indeed. Experiment and add the stuff you like.
The first time I ever had Stromboli was in Little Italy in New York. I walked into a deli that had dozens of salamis hanging from the ceiling. Specialty cheeses were on display and the wonderful odors coming from the kitchen area were out-of-this-world. If a bus had run into that deli and killed me at that very moment, I would have died a very happy man.
A little, old Italian lady was skillfully cutting, what looked to me like, a loaf a bread that had been stuffed with meats and cheeses. Not knowing what it was, I asked her. She looked at me and grimaced and said, "Stromboli!". Her annoyed tone suggested I had asked a very stupid question – as though I had just asked her what a dill pickle was or something. Like a drill sergeant, she ordered, "You sit. You eat." Having just had lunch, I said, "Oh, well thanks but I just..." She then put her hands on my shoulders and forced me to sit on a stool and yelled, "eat, EAT!!!". Oh, oh, OK. She may have been old but she was spry. In a fight, she probably could have taken me.
Anyway, she slapped a slice of Stromboli on a paper plate and handed it to me. Even though I had just had lunch, I was drooling at the sight of this slice of beauty. It was crusty. It was meaty. It was cheesy..and very HOT since she had just taken it out of the oven. I asked her for a glass of water and she said, "No. No water. You drink wine." Wine? At 1:30 in the afternoon? I love New York! So, I sat there and ate Stromboli while drinking red wine from a plastic cup embossed with the cartoon characters from the Flintstones. Since I was leaving the next day, I decided to buy some stuff from the deli including some salamis and a bottle of their delicious marinara sauce.
When I arrived in Wichita and was on my way back to my house, I kept smelling Italian food and wistfully thought about that wonderful deli in New York. When I got home, I realized that, what I had been smelling, was marinara sauce. The bottle had broken during the flight and drenched all of my clothes and numerous Christmas presents in a red, albeit tasty, tomato sauce. It looked like I had stabbed somebody and stuffed them in my suitcase. It wasn't pretty. That day, I used several 4-letter words – and a few in Italian, too!
You have to try this recipe. You and your family are going to love it. Enjoy – and Happy Labor Day!
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1 13.2 oz can Pillsbury Country Italian Bread dough
6 to 8 thin slices Genoa Salami
A couple pinches kosher salt (plus more for the top)
Good sprinkling of garlic powder
A few pinches of dried oregano (crushed between your fingers) – plus more for the top
A couple pinches of red pepper flakes
A liberal sprinkling of freshly grated parmesan (plus more for the top)
6 to 7 pieces of provolone cheese, broken in half to facilitate rolling
Pizza Sauce for dipping
Preheat oven to 350F. Place a piece of parchment paper on a rimmed sheet pan.
Unroll the bread dough and place on a lightly floured surface. Unrolling this kind of dough can be challenging sometimes so have patience. When unrolled, the dough should form a rectangle. Lay the dough so that the long edge is closest to you. Make sure the dough is not overstretched in some spots or the filling will burst out in those areas.
Place 6 to 8 slices of Genoa Salami on dough – leaving a 1/2" border around the edges. Sprinkle on a little kosher salt, some garlic powder, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Add the parmesan and provolone cheese. It's easier to roll the dough when you break the provolone in half (or even smaller) when adding it to the top of the dough. Finally, add as much (or as little) pepperoni you want on the top of the provolone – making sure to leave a 1/2" border around the rectangle of dough.
Starting from the edge closest to you, roll the dough jelly-roll (or cinnamon-roll style). As you roll the dough, make sure to keep all of the ingredients tucked inside and pinch the ends as you roll to keep the filling from slipping out. Carefully pinch the seam shut (and the ends) and place on the sheet pan seam-side down.
Lightly sprinkle the top of the dough with kosher salt, dried oregano, and grated parmesan.
Bake 25 minutes or until the crust is a deep brown. Let rest 5 minutes before cutting into 1" slices. Serve with some warm pizza sauce for dipping.
Posted by Cooking Ventures at 5:38 AM