Gluten-free stromboli, after its first bake in the oven
Continuing my Italian craving theme from earlier this week, today’s Friday Foto is of stromboli. It seems like for months I’ve been telling Kelli, “I want to make a gluten-free stromboli.” Well, after months of putting off the task, I finally pulled the trigger and did it. And boy was I happy I did.
There are lots of ways to describe a stromboli. Some people call it a turnover. Some say it’s a sandwich. Some liken it to a rolled pizza. And some compare it to a calzone (minus the pocket). One thing is for sure: Romano’s in Essington, Pennsylvania (near Philadelphia) claims to have created the world’s first stromboli in 1950.
For me, a stromboli is an incredible melding of flavors. You get spicy from the use of hot Italian sausage. Salty from the cured deli meats (ham and pepperoni). Sweet from the caramelized peppers and onions (and perhaps a side of marinara sauce for dipping). And savory from the pizza bread dough and the cheese.
As you might expect, there are lots of ways to make a stromboli. Here’s how I make mine:
Twice-baked stromboli after a round in the toaster oven
Plain Pizza Dough
3/4 cup warm water
1 tbsp honey
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp xanthan gum
1 tsp salt
1 3/4 cups Artisan Gluten-Free Flour blend (plus extra)
1. In a medium bowl, combine the warm water, honey and yeast.
2. When the yeast is foaming and active (about 5 minutes), add the remaining ingredients and mix well to form a dough.
3. Add additional flour, 1 tbsp or so at a time, until the dough is no longer tacky to the touch.
4. Add a small bit of olive oil to the mixing bowl, roll the dough to coat, set aside and let rise.
1/2 lb hot Italian sausage (either without casings, or with casings removed and crumbled)
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1/2 medium yellow onion, diced
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
salt and pepper
1/4-1/2 lb deli-sliced ham
1/8-1/4 lb deli-sliced pepperoni
1/3-1/2 lb shredded mozzarella cheese
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. In a large skillet, cook the sausage until cooked-through and browned. With a slotted spoon, remove the sausage and set aside on paper towels.
3. In the rendered sausage fat in the skillet, sauté the peppers and onions until the peppers are soft and the onions are translucent.
4. Add the garlic, basil and oregano, and cook for one minute more. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and set aside.
5. Lay out plastic wrap on your work surface (two side-by-side sheets, slightly overlapping at the edge), place the pizza dough in the center, and cover with two more sheets of plastic wrap. Roll out the dough until you’ve formed a large rectangle. Remove the top sheet of plastic wrap.
6. Keeping the dough on the bottom sheets of plastic wrap, transfer to a large greased baking sheet (leave the plastic wrap under the dough…it will come in handy soon, and don’t worry, it’ll be removed before you pop the stromboli in the oven!).
7. Spread the cooked sausage in a thin layer on the dough, leaving a small margin of naked dough around the edges.
8. Repeat with the seasoned peppers and onions.
9. The ham is next. I folded each slice of deli ham in half, and then placed it flat on the fillings. I repeated with slices of folded ham, butting up their edges, until the entire surface was covered with a single layer of doubled ham.
10. Repeat with the pepperoni, but don’t fold them in half. Simply create a single layer of pepp.
11. Spread the shredded mozzarella.
12. Now comes the finesse part of the process. Arrange your stromboli (which should be on your baking sheet) so that the long side of the rectangle is at your belly on your work surface. Starting with the edge closest to you, use the plastic wrap to aid you in beginning to roll the stromboli away from you. Peel away the plastic wrap as you roll (so that it doesn’t get rolled into the stromboli!).
12. Once you’ve completely rolled the stromboli (and discarded the plastic wrap), arrange it in the center of the baking sheet with the seam side down. Pinch or crimp the ends, if desired.
13. Bake in the oven for about 25 minutes, until golden brown.
A few notes:
For the ham, I used Boar’s Head Black Forest ham, as well as BH pepperoni. When finished baking, cut the stromboli into cross-section slices to serve. Some warm marinara sauce on the side for dipping goes great with this dish. Finally, I found that baking the sliced stromboli a second time in the toaster oven (primarily to reheat it, but also to cook it a little more) made it taste even better!