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Wednesday, October 10, 2012

How to make stromboli - NSM style

Stromboli is one of the few meals that I can make for my kids, and they don't complain about it. But people always ask me about it and want to know what it is or how to make it.

A real stromboli actually comes from Your Place restaurants in Pennsylvania. The version that I make does NOT even begin to compare to theirs - but I'm ok with that. That way when I go home, I can get the real thing and thoroughly enjoy it.

The #1 rule when making a 'boli is easy:

There are no rules. You can put anything in it that you want to put in it. But, the pictures below are  how I typically make mine.

 I start off with a loaf of frozen bread dough - the kind that you buy at the grocery store. Grease a bread pan and stick the frozen loaf in it and let it thaw and rise until it's...well, thawed. And risen.

I use the frozen stuff because it's easy. But you can make your own crust by using a pizza dough recipe or whatever kind you like. You can even make a whole wheat crust. Whatever you want. But for me, this is easier.

Oh, and I made 2 'bolis tonight - one for supper and one to freeze. So just pretend that second loaf isn't even there, ok? Good.

 We put sausage in ours. You don't have to. And when the kids weren't looking I chopped up some onion and a whole bunch of garlic and dumped some Italian seasoning in there too. What they don't know won't hurt them.

Besides, you can never have too much garlic.
 Ham is good too. I use this stuff when it's on sale (I prefer the diced stuff though - it's smaller chunks) or I get regular sliced ham - like lunchmeat. Or I've been known to use leftover ham from holidays.
 Toss your thawed loaf of bread out on to a flat surface.
Roll it out flat and as rectangular as you can get it.

I had issues with this one. It didn't want to be a rectangle. And as you will see at the end, it led to some very interesting results.
 Drain the sausage. The less grease, the better (hard to do with sausage though).

See that beautiful orange colander? That's one of the ancient Tupperware Rubbermaid ones. Funny, I always thought that it was Tupperware, until just now when I went and looked at it. Anyway, that's the colander that my mother used when I was *cough* younger. I think she gave me half of her kitchen when I moved out just as an excuse for her to get new stuff. I'm not complaining though. I love my ugly colander.
 I drain the ham too in order to get all of the extra water off of it. I actually bought this colander specifically to make stromboli - it's the only time that I ever need two of them. And I bought it from one of the kids' school fundraisers. Two birds, one stone, and all that jazz.
 Start layering your stuffings on the rolled out dough. Tonight, I started with pepperoni (the little mini pepperonis work great too)...
 Then the ham....

(Why is it that every time I hear or see the word "sausage" I think of that annoying Snausages commercial from years ago?!?!)
Cheese. Lots and lots of mozzarella cheese.

Like garlic, you can never have too much cheese.
Depending on my mood, sometimes I put a little bit of sauce in it. You can use pizza sauce, or make your own sauce, or cheat like I did and just use some cheap spaghetti sauce because you forgot to put pizza sauce on the list and you didn't feel like running back to the store just to get it.
The tricky part is sealing it up so that it doesn't leak. In all of the years that I've made 'bolis, I think only one has not leaked all over the place. Anyway, bring the long edges of the dough up over the fillings and overlap them, then bring up the ends and fold them over.

Pick up the whole blob - carefully - and put it on a cookie sheet. Oh, spray it with cooking spray first. The cookie sheet, not the 'boli. Spray the cookie sheet. I flip the 'boli over so that the seams are on the bottom - I've found that helps to keep it from exploding.

Make sure that your cookie sheet has edges to catch the leaks. You do not want this stuff to ooze onto the bottom of your oven because it's really hard to clean up afterwards. 

I'm sorry. I know that the shape of this is.....uhh....
rather suggestive. No matter what angle I held it and/or
the camera, I just couldn't get away from it.
This is what happens when the dough refuses to
be rolled out into a nice neat rectangle.

Stick it in the oven at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes or so - until the crust is done.

Slice it up and serve it with more sauce - you can pour it on top or have it on the side to dip - either way works.

When I make one of these, I usually use one pound of sausage, whatever that package of ham is - I think it's 12 ounces, a package of pepperoni, and an 8 ounce bag of cheese. You can adjust the amounts or use totally different ingredients. We pretty much stick with the meat in ours and occasionally throw in mushrooms (if the kids aren't looking) - but I've made them before with veggies too. Like I said before, there are no rules.

Just make sure that you get the crust rolled out into a rectangle, unless you prefer to end up with obscene looking food!


  1. Papa's in Picture Rocks, PA makes the most, absolutely, best, drooling, fabulous strombolis ever. We get it whenever we go up to visit family and family up there treat it like a special treat used only for when we come so they can enjoy it as much as we do!! My son loves stromboli so much he said he had a dream once that he was a stromboli and he had to eat his own toppings to eat his way out of it. He said it was soooo gooood because he just kept eating and eating! I love Papa's stromboli. I don't even know what else they sell!

    1. Oh my goodness....Picture Rocks - now there's a place I haven't heard of in years! I don't get to that part of PA when we go back - I'm usually more in the Altoona/State College or Harrisburg/Gettysburg areas when I'm there - but the next time we're back, if we have time, we might have to go exploring!

      Most people out here have never even heard of strombolis. Poor people.

  2. Funny...we had calzones two nights ago and it was made very close to the same way, but this looks FAR easier because folding up individual, dinky, overstuffed pieces of dough is just inevitably messy. Thanks for the tutorial...this will be a crowd pleaser! :)

  3. I have made these in the past and i found the best way to keep them from leaking is to cut slits in the top. It allows the steam to release and prevents blow outs. Looks really good.


  5. Thanks for the recipe, it looks delicious and I can't wait to make one...AND the laugh!!!
    Hugs, Beth


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