Stromboli is rather like a jelly-roll style pizza. You can serve it as a main dish or as an appetizer. According to Wikipedia, stromboli came about, somehow or other, in the 1950s:
Stromboli is reported to have originated in 1950 in Essington, Tinicum Township just outside of Philadelphia, at Romano’s Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria, by Nazzareno Romano. There, William Schofield supposedly gave it the name, after the movie Stromboli, starring Ingrid Bergman. Other sources claim the stromboli was the brainchild of Mike Aquino, Sr., and that he created it in Spokane, Washington, in 1954.
Hubby and I love pizza and most all members of pizza’s extended family, including calzone and stromboli. While we enjoy pizza and stromboli rather frequently in the cooler months, in the summer, we tend to shy away from them more because of the h-e-a-t. We tend more toward salads and sandwiches and skillet meals in the hotter weather, not all of them blog-inspiring.
But something that we have lots of during the early parts of late (yet usually hot, here) spring and summer is lots and LOTS of fresh basil, which I like to use with abandon as much as possible — and this means that I will sometimes break down and bake something in the oven, as we adore loads of fresh basil on pizza, in calzones, in stromboli, and layered in lasagna.
So even though it requires using the oven, I made stromboli last night. As is my wont, to keep cool while the oven was going, I put on my bathing suit and enjoyed our “pool” (which is a 6′ diameter cattle tub on our front deck). However, a storm moved in and I barely had enough time to shower before the power went out. Although the timer hadn’t yet gone off for the stromboli, thankfully, it only had 5 or 10 minutes more to go, and so the residual heat in the oven was enough to finish baking it.
When making stromboli, you can use uncooked pizza dough that you purchase from a pizzeria or grocery, or you can make your own. I decided to make my own, and while I have a few different pizza dough recipes I’ve tried and liked, I opted to make my current favorite, which is the pizza dough recipe that uses instant mashed potatoes because that dough is just so easy to handle!
I noticed a recipe for pizza dough on the back of a package of Idahoan Roasted Garlic (Instant) Mashed Potatoes. It was for an “Hawaiian Pizza” topped with ham and pineapple, which isn’t really my thing, but I fell in love with how easy the pizza dough is to work with.
A word about the Idahoan instant mashed potatoes: They offer a variety of seasonings and flavors in their potatoes, they come in convenient-sized packages (3 to 4 servings are standard; their website says they also offer single-serving sizes now), and all you ever need to add to them is water. No, they aren’t like “real” mashed potatoes, but they are quick and convenient (especially when it’s just hubby and me), and for instant potatoes, I’ve got to say they are pretty durn tasty — and even if I don’t have any milk or butter, we can have some potatoes.
A word about food packaging: Don’t be afraid to check out their recipes and cooking hints and tips for inspiration! Remember, they want you to fall in love with their product and purchase it on a regular basis, so chances are that at least some of their recipes and serving or preparation suggestions will be appealing to you.
You can vary the taste of the dough a bit by what flavor of instant potatoes you use. I used Roasted Garlic & Parmesan Baby Reds potatoes, but any of their flavors would be delicious. You could also use plain instant potato flakes, too, of course — just measure out however many flakes would be used for 4 (1/2 cup) servings.
Vegetarians: This is very easy to make vegetarian. Replace the pepperoni with vegetarian pepperoni, add in some more veggies of choice, and/or add in a bit more cheese.
Stromboli (Makes 2 stromboli, 4 to 6 main dish servings each)
For the stromboli dough:
- 1 package (4 to 4.1 ounces) instant mashed potatoes of desired flavor (you want the amount of potato flakes that would be used to prepare 4 (1/2 cup) servings)
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast (NOTE: A packet of dry yeast contains 2 1/4 teaspoons)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 to 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour (plus more to dust board for kneading)
- 1 to 1 1/4 cups warm water
- 3 to 4 cups part-skim mozzarella cheese
- Optional: Lots of fresh basil leaves (scatter as many basil leaves on each stromboli as you’d like)
- Sliced pepperoni or salami to taste (I used turkey pepperoni for mine and regular pepperoni for hubby’s) — or Canadian bacon; whatever you would like
- Sprinkling of any other veg or pizza topping you might like, such as sliced olives, a few mushrooms (canned or that have been sweat out so they won’t make your calzone soggy), etc.
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- Stir yeast into 1/4 cup warm water in a medium-sized bowl. Stir in olive oil and honey. (TIP: If you measure the olive oil first, then measure the honey in the same spoon, the honey will slide out of the spoon very easily.)
- Stir in potato flakes, 2 to 2 1/2 cups flour, and 1 to 1 1/4 cups warm water until blended.
- Knead on lightly floured surface until soft and no longer sticky.
- Place in a lightly greased, warm bowl; cover with a lint-free towel; and let rise in warm place for about an hour.
- Preheat oven to 375F. Divide dough into two portions. Working with one portion at a time, on a lightly floured board, roll out a portion to a large, fairly thin but still manageable rectangular shape. Top with desired fillings — sprinkle with cheese, then add on whatever else you like –to within 1″ of edge.
- Roll up, jelly-roll style, and pinch/seal edges.
- Place on cooking sheet that has been sprayed lightly with cooking spray or lightly oiled. Lightly brush each stromboli with some beaten egg. (I used my handy, dandy baguette bread pan.)
- Bake until golden brown and done, about 25 to 30 minutes.
- Let rest 3 to 5 minutes before serving. Serve with seasoned tomato sauce or pizza sauce if desired. Refrigerate leftovers.
It smelled so yummy in our darkened house last night — the candlelight we ate it by made it a rather romantic meal, as well. 🙂
And now I won’t don’t need to think about cooking supper again for another day or two — talk about keeping things cool 🙂
All this talk about family and second cousins puts me in mind of that Ray Stevens’ song — you know the one I’m talking about, don’t you? Go on, take a 161 seconds out of your day and give it a listen — you know you could use a chuckle today!