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Tag Archives: Stromboli

 

In one of its many forms, pizza has been a basic part of the Italian diet since the Stone Age. The earliest form of pizza was a crude bread that was baked beneath the stones of a fire. After cooking, it was seasoned with a variety of different toppings and used instead of a bowl or eating utensils to sop up broth or gravies. It is said that the idea of using bread as a plate came from the Greeks who ate flat round bread (plankuntos) baked with an assortment of toppings. It was eaten by the working man and his family because it was a thrifty and convenient food.

1st Century B.C.

In the translated version of “The Aeneid” written by Virgil (70-19 B.C.), it describes the legendary origin of the Roman nation, describing cakes or circles of bread:

“Beneath a shady tree, the hero spread

His table on the turf, with cakes of bread;

And, with his chiefs, on forest fruits he fed.

They sate; and, (not without the god’s command)

Their homely fare dispatch’d, the hungry band

Invade their trenchers next, and soon devour,

To mend the scanty meal, their cakes of flour.

Ascanius this observ’d, and smiling said:

“See, we devour the plates on which we fed.”

Our knowledge of Roman cooking derives mainly from the excavations at Pompeii and from a book by Marcus Gavius Apicius called “De Re Coquinaria.” Apicius was a culinary expert and from his writings, he provided us with information on ancient Roman cuisine. Apicius’  book contains recipes which involve putting a variety of ingredients on a base of bread (a hollowed-out loaf). The recipe uses chicken meat, pine kernels, cheese, garlic, mint, pepper, and oil (all ingredients of the contemporary pizza). The recipe concludes with the instruction “insupernive, et inferes” which means “cool in snow and serve!”

In the ashes after Mount Vesuvius erupted and smothered Pompeii on August 24, 79 A.D., evidence was found of a flat flour cake that was baked and widely eaten at that time in Pompeii and nearby Neopolis, The Greek colony that became Naples. Evidence was also found in Pompeii of shops, complete with marble slabs and other tools of the trade, which resemble the conventional pizzeria.

Roman Times

Pizza migrated to America with the Italians in the latter half of the 19th century. For many people, especially among the Italian-American population, the first American pizzas were known as Tomato Pie (as my parents always called pizza). Even in the present 21st century, present-day tomato pie is most commonly found in the Northeastern United States, especially in Italian bakeries in central New York. Tomato pies are built the opposite of pizza pies – first the cheese, then the sauce, and then the topping. This is exactly how I have always made pizza.

So let’s model our early inventors of this marvelous food, get creative and think about a new way you can use pizza dough. I would love to hear if you have a nontraditional way of using pizza dough.

Quick Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

This make-ahead dough has endless uses for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Ingredients:

3 packages (1/4 ounce each) quick-rise yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
2-1/4 cups whole wheat flour
2-1/2 cups water
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 to 3-1/2 cups white whole wheat flour

Directions:

In a large electric mixer bowl, combine the yeast, sugar, salt and whole wheat flour; set aside.
In a small saucepan, heat water and oil to 120°-130°; stir into dry ingredients.

With paddle attachment stir in enough white whole wheat flour to form a soft dough (dough will be sticky).

Switch to the dough hook and knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for 10 minutes.

Punch down dough; divide into three equal portions.
Use immediately or refrigerate overnight or freeze for up to 1 month.
Yield: 3 pounds (enough for 3 pizzas).
If using frozen dough, thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Proceed as directed below.

Italian Spinach Braid

6 Servings

Ingredients:

1 loaf (1 pound) frozen whole wheat pizza dough, thawed
1 pound lean ground turkey
1 package (10 ounces) frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
2/3 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 teaspoon minced garlic
3/4 teaspoon fennel seed
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg white, beaten
Pizza sauce, optional

Directions:

Roll dough into a 12-in. x 9-in. rectangle. Transfer to a 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan coated with cooking spray.

Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook turkey over medium heat until no longer pink; drain.

Transfer to a large bowl; add the spinach, cheeses, garlic, fennel seed, oregano and salt.

Spread mixture lengthwise down the center of dough. On each long side, cut 1-in.-wide strips 3 in. into center.

Starting at one end, fold alternating strips at an angle across filling. Pinch ends to seal and brush with egg white.

Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with pizza sauce if desired.

Scrambled Egg Turnovers

4 Servings

Ingredients:

4 eggs and 1 cup egg substitute beaten together, divided
1/2 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1 tablespoon minced fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried basil
1 portion (1 lb.) frozen whole wheat pizza dough, thawed
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

Set aside 2 tablespoons of the egg mixture. In a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray, cook and stir remaining egg mixture over medium heat until almost set.

Stir in mozzarella cheese, tomatoes and basil. Cook and stir until completely set.

Remove from the heat.

On a floured surface, roll dough into a 13-in. square. Cut into four squares; transfer to a 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan coated with cooking spray.

Spoon cooked egg mixture over half of each square to within 1/2 in. of edges.

Brush edges of dough with 1 tablespoon reserved egg.

Fold one corner over filling to the opposite corner, forming a triangle; press edges with a fork to seal. Cut slits in top.

Brush with  remaining egg; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Bake at 400° for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown.

Swiss Turkey Stromboli

4 Servings

Ingredients:

3 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons spicy brown mustard
1 portion (1 lb.) frozen whole wheat pizza dough, thawed
3 slices reduced-fat Swiss cheese
6 ounces sliced deli turkey
1 egg white
1 teaspoon water

Directions:

In a large nonstick skillet, saute mushrooms and onion in oil until tender. Stir in mustard; set aside.

On a floured surface, roll dough into a 15-in. x 10-in. rectangle.

Transfer to a baking sheet coated with cooking spray.

Layer the cheese, mushroom mixture and turkey lengthwise over half of dough to within 1/2 in. of edges.

Fold dough over filling; pinch seams to seal and tuck ends under.

Combine egg white and water; brush over dough. Cut slits in top.

Bake at 400° for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting.

Whole Wheat Hamburger and Hot Dog Buns (Bread Machine). Photo by SunnyZ

Whole Wheat Hamburger Buns

Take your 1 pound package of pizza dough out of the refrigerator and let it warm up to room temperature for 20 to 30 minutes.

Grease a cookie sheet with olive oil. Sprinkle some flour onto a flat, clean board or counter top.

Take the pizza dough out of the package and place it on the surface you floured. Divide it into eight balls. For large hamburger buns, divide the dough into six.

Brush each dough ball with olive oil.

Place the balls of dough onto the cookie sheet with a space between each one. Cover the cookie sheet with a clean towel or plastic wrap and let the dough rise for 20 minutes.

Turn on your oven and preheat it to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

After 20 minutes remove the towel or plastic wrap and place the cookie sheet into the oven.

Bake the hamburger buns for 20 to 30 minutes or until they are golden. Check them after 15 minutes to make sure they are not getting too brown, as some ovens bake hotter than others.

Let the hamburger buns cool on a rack and then slice each bun in half horizontally.

Since I prefer to make my own hamburger buns from whole wheat dough, I purchased a burger baking pan from King Arthur.

Individual Pie and Burger Bun Pan

 



                                                                             

Calzone

Calzone is a turnover with ingredients similar to pizza. The making of calzones started in Naples, Italy in the 18th century. The name came from the baggy pants worn by men during the time.
The ingredients of calzones usually consist of mozzarella, ricotta, tomato sauce, and other pizza toppings. It is folded over and shaped like a crescent moon before baking or frying. There are many versions of calzones, some are small and some huge, with a variety of stuffings.

Because of its size and its resemblance to sandwiches, calzones are a popular street food that can be eaten while on the go. Sandwich-sized calzones are often sold at Italian lunch counters or by street vendors because they are easy to eat while standing or walking. Fried versions, typically filled with tomato and mozzarella, are made in Puglia and are called panzerotti.  Somewhat related is the Sicilian cuddiruni or cudduruni pizza. This is stuffed with onions (or sometimes other vegetables such as potatoes or broccoli), anchovies, olives, cheese, mortadella, then the rolled pizza dough is folded in two over the stuffing and the edge is braided, prior to frying.

In the United States, calzones are characteristically made from pizza dough and stuffed with meats, cheeses, and vegetables. Traditional calzone dough consists of flour, yeast, olive oil, water, and salt. The dough is folded into a half-moon shape or formed into a spherical shape and baked or fried. After cooking, calzones are typically served smothered in marinara sauce or topped with a combination of garlic, olive oil, and parsley. A Sicilian-American version, Scacciata, is similar to a calzone but is filled with either broccoli or spinach and potatoes, onions, and sausage.

Stromboli

A stromboli is related to a calzone, but it is more of a sandwich than a pizza. The most common ingredients that comprise the fillings are various types of cheese, Italian meats, like salami and capicola, and sometimes vegetables. It is rolled into a loaf, not folded before baking. Stromboli make great appetizers, especially at a Super Bowl party.

It would be completely understandable, were you to assume, that the only stromboli you are familiar with is the stuffed bread filled with a variety of salami and cheeses. But if you look at a map, you might realize that Stromboli is the name of a tiny island north of Sicily and west of the toe of the Italian peninsula. Best known for its active volcano, the island lies in the Tyrrhenian Sea. However, the Italian island may have played a role in the naming of the sandwich. The origin of the Stromboli is a bit unclear, but it seems to date back to around the 1950s.

The Island of Stromboli

Unlike the calzone, it does not originate from Italy, but from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania or Spokane, Washington depending on which story you believe. Unless you’re a fan of 1940′s black & white films, you would probably not associate it with a wildly popular Swedish movie star and a Philadelphia suburb pizzeria.

A 1950 movie about a refugee who marries a Sicilian fisherman but can’t cope with the harshness of her new life.

The Philly version:

In 1948 director Roberto Rossellini cast Ingrid Bergman in his drama, Stromboli, about survivors of World War II trying to make a life on the isolated island. Although the film, released in the U.S. in 1950, received only mixed reviews, it caught the attention of people who might never have had any interest in Italian cinéma verité. The Hollywood tabloids and newsreels made sure that movie fans around the world knew that everyone’s favorite actress of the time was having a love affair with her director. The real volcano on Stromboli and the film, were eclipsed by the sensation, of what was then, the scandalous Bergman-Rossellini affair.

Meanwhile, in a small town south of Philadelphia, another drama—one with far greater consequences for Italian-American gastronomic history—was about to unfold. Nazzereno Romano, owner of Romano’s Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria in Essington, Pennsylvania, rolled up some cheese and cold-cuts in his pizza dough. He baked the loaf and then sliced it to expose the attractive, flavor-packed spiral within. ‘Nat’ Romano is reported to have asked his customers what he should call his creation. We can imagine that a copy of The National Enquirer might have been at hand because the sources claim that someone blurted out “Stromboli” and the name stuck.

Make the Bread Dough

Basic Dough for Calzones or Stromboli

Ingredients:

  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for coating bowl
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour, or Eagle Ultra Grain flour or 1 ½ cups all purpose flour and 1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
  • Cornmeal, as necessary, for dusting pizza peel.

Directions:

In a large bowl of an electric mixer combine yeast with water and sugar and stir well to combine. Let rest until foamy, about 5 minutes. Add the flour, salt, and olive oil, and mix well with the paddle attachment to thoroughly combine. The dough should be slightly sticky to the touch.
Transfer to the dough hook and knead dough for at least 5 to 7 minutes, to form a smooth and elastic dough that is not sticky. Transfer dough to a lightly oiled 2 or 3-quart bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, usually at least 1 hour.

Divide dough into 2 portions for stromboli or 4 portions for calzones and form into balls. Place on a lightly oiled baking sheet and cover with a damp towel. Let rest for 15 minutes, then transfer to a lightly floured surface, shape as desired for recipes below.

Meat and Cheese Calzone

Ingredients:

  • 1 recipe basic dough, prepared for calzones
  • 2 ounces finely chopped proscuitto or 2 ounces finely chopped Genoa salami or 2 ounces finely chopped pepperoni
  • 1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese, drained
  • 1/2 pound mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • Cornmeal, for dusting pizza peels

Directions:

Preheat oven to 500 degrees F. and place a pizza stone on the bottom rack of the oven.

In a medium bowl combine the proscuitto and the next 6 ingredients. 

Divide the dough into 4 equal portions and form into 4 balls. Place on a lightly oiled baking sheet and cover with a damp towel. Let rest for 15 minutes, then transfer to a lightly floured surface and roll out into 4 (10-inch) circles.

Divide filling evenly and place in the center of 1 side of each circle, then fold dough over the filling to meet edges of the filled side. Crimp edges with a fork or your fingers, then cut a small slit in the top of each calzone to allow steam to escape while cooking.

Lower heat to 475 degree F. Transfer calzones to a pizza peel (sprinkled with cornmeal to help facilitate moving dough). Transfer to the preheated pizza stone and bake until crispy and golden brown, usually 12 to 18 minutes (depending on the toppings and the thickness of the crust). Remove from the oven with a metal spatula and serve immediately.

Vegetarian Calzone

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups chopped frozen broccoli florets, defrosted and drained or a 10 oz. package of frozen spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry
  • 1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 recipe basic dough, prepared for calzones

Directions:

Preheat oven to 500 degrees F. and place a pizza stone on the bottom rack of the oven.

Combine broccoli or spinach and the next seven ingredients in a medium bowl. 

Divide the dough into 4 equal portions and form into 4 balls. Place on a lightly oiled baking sheet and cover with a damp towel. Let rest for 15 minutes, then transfer to a lightly floured surface and roll out into 4 (10-inch) circles.

Divide filling evenly and place in the center of 1 side of each circle, then fold dough over the filling to meet edges of the filled side. Crimp edges with a fork or your fingers, then cut a small slit in the top of each calzone to allow steam to escape while cooking.

Lower heat to 475 degree F. Transfer calzones to a pizza peel (sprinkled with cornmeal to help facilitate moving dough). Transfer to the preheated pizza stone and bake until crispy and golden brown, usually 12 to 18 minutes (depending on the toppings and the thickness of the crust). Remove from the oven with a metal spatula and serve immediately.

Meat and Cheese Stromboli

Recommend a healthier alternative for Italian Cold Cuts, such Applegate Farm products made without nitrates.

Ingredients:

  • 2 bread dough balls, prepared for stromboli
  • 1/2 pound thinly sliced salami
  • 1/2 pound thinly sliced mortadella (or ham)
  • 3/4 pound thinly sliced, mozzarella or provolone cheese
  • 1 egg lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon water

Directions:

Preheat oven to 500 degrees F. and place a pizza stone on the bottom rack of the oven.

Transfer one ball of bread dough to a lightly floured surface and roll into a 15 x 12 inch rectangle.

Cover the dough rectangle with half the meat and cheese leaving a 1/2 inch border. Starting with the long side of the dough, roll the stromboli into a log (jelly roll style).  Seal the dough by pinching firmly with fingertips on sides and ends. 

Place on a cornmeal coated pizza peel. Using a pastry brush coat the top of the bread with the beaten egg mixture. Carefully place stromboli on preheated stone, turn down oven to 400 degrees F. and bake for 35 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes. Slice with a serrated knife.

Repeat with the second piece of dough.

Vegetarian Stromboli

Ingredients:

  • 2 bread dough balls, prepared for stromboli
  • 1 -12-oz. bottle roasted red peppers, drained, patted dry and cut into strips
  • 1/2 cup pitted kalamata or other black olives
  • 3/4 pound thinly sliced, mozzarella cheese
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian herb seasoning
  • Basil or baby spinach leaves
  • 1 egg lightly beaten with 1 tablespoon water

Directions:

Preheat oven to 500 degrees F. and place a pizza stone on the bottom rack of the oven.

Transfer one ball  of bread dough to a lightly floured surface and roll into a 15 x 12 inch rectangle.

Cover the dough rectangle with a layer of basil or spinach leaves, half the cheese slices, half the roasted peppers, followed by half the olives and half the Italian seasoning leaving a 1/2 inch border. Starting with the long side of the dough, roll the stromboli into a log (jelly roll style). Seal the dough by pinching firmly with fingertips on sides and ends.  

Place on a cornmeal coated pizza peel. Using a pastry brush coat the top of the bread with the beaten egg mixture. Carefully place stromboli on preheated stone, turn down oven to 400 degrees F. and bake for 35 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes. Slice with a serrated knife.

Repeat with the second piece of dough.



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