Thursday, November 6, 2008

As Promised….Stromboli.

I am not 100% Italian, but I grasp the part that is Italian firmly and with both hands. Most of my “italian” food is not true Italian, but my picky men-folk would never eat it if I didn’t make some concessions. In the process, I have come up with some very simple faux-italian meals that just about anyone can make. Stromboli is the first Italian meal I made for my husband when we started dating. He had never heard of it, let alone tried it, and it immediately became one of his favorite meals. I mean, really, give a country boy a plate full of sausage and cheese wrapped in bread, and he’s pretty happy.

So, here we go!


1 tube of Pillsbury pizza dough

1 pound bulk Italian sausage

½ cup pasta sauce (whatever kind you like)

2 cups shredded mozzarella

1 egg

  1. Brown the crumbled sausage in a skillet and drain off every bit of grease that you can.
  2. Mix in just enough pasta sauce to lightly coat the meat, about ½ cup, but you don’t want any excess to drip out the edges of the pastry.
  3. Lightly spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.
  4. Open the can of pizza dough and either roll it out gently into a large rectangle, or press it out with your fingers, being careful not to tear it.
  5. Pile the meat onto the dough in a line down the center of the dough.
  6. Top with the mozzarella.

Now, with a small knife, cut slits along the long, exposed edges of the dough, trimming off the four corners. (Save the dough you just cut off in case you tear one of the strips, you can patch it in to cover the torn spot.)

Fold one of the short edges of the dough over the end of the meat and, one strip at a time, braid the dough strips, one over the other, left, right, left, right, etc. Do this about halfway down the stromboli, then turn the pan and repeat, starting at the opposite end until all the strips are braided, and tuck the last tail into one of the holes.

Beat an egg up in a small bowl with a fork and rub it all over the braid. You can use a brush for this, or you can be like me and just dip your fingers in it. Come on….your fingers are already gooey from the dough and you’re going to have to wash them anyway. Why dirty another dish?

Put a little salt and pepper on the top and throw it in the oven at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until the dough is nice and golden.

**Note – if you scoffed when I told you to be careful to drain all the grease off the sausage, you’ll regret it when this comes out of the oven. All the excess grease will pool up and bubble out of the pastry, rolling around on your baking sheet until the Stromboli is swimming in it. Or, if you use a flat sheet, like I do, it’ll end up on the floor of the oven and then you’ll be up on a chair beating at the smoke alarm.
**Note – you don’t have to use the egg, but it keeps the dough from getting dried out around the edges and helps it brown evenly. Your choice.
**Note – you can put ANYTHING in a Stromboli! We make one with breakfast sausage, scrambled eggs, and Velveeta sauce. Also, a lighter version with broccoli and feta….yummy! Try new combinations. If you like Supreme Pizza, fill this full of veggies! Although, I would recommend lightly sautéing anything crunchy first, like peppers. Let me know how it goes. Enjoy!

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