Today is Y’s last day of basketball tryouts. He will be home around 6pm with the news of whether or not he made the team. If I were to bake his favorite thing, I know in an instant what it would be. It’s not a treat, but rather a pepperoni and sausage pizza enclosed in the crust, saving the sauce for dipping. We call it Stromboli. You begin with dough- enough for one pizza. You can make your own, defrost a loaf of frozen bread dough (this takes over 5 hours) or purchase some at your favorite pizzeria.
When my eldest, B, was 4 and Y was 2, we moved to a community near Washington D.C. for a temporary work assignment. We could be found many Friday nights at Bertuccis in Herdon, Virginia. It was a great Italian restaurant with brick oven baked pizza. Each time we would go, the waiter would bring the boys a small ball of dough. He told them to make it into any shape they wanted, and then he would bake it for them, and bring it back ready to eat. He suggested a car shape, a boat, their favorite zoo animal- whatever. The boys worked over their dough for quite some time. Finally the waiter returned and asked “Didn’t you want to make a shape?”
B, speaking for both of them said, “They’re basketballs!” Y raised both hands in the air with tiny clenched fists and said “Yeah!!!”
The waiter returned with some baked balls of dough not looking much different than they had been initially delivered to our table twenty minutes prior. And I had two delighted young boys.
So after securing some dough, follow the directions to make your own version of Y’s favorite:Stromboli
Shape the dough into a long rectangle, no longer than your baking sheet, and about half of the width. Sprinkle it with Italian seasonings. Line the very center with pepperoni. Layer grated Italian cheeses on top of the pepperoni, and then cover the cheese with sausage. It is important to keep the cheese in the center or it will bake into the crust, and essentially disappear. Next, gather both edges, meeting in the center, pinching them closed, being sure to also seal the ends. Flip your Stromboli over onto your baking sheet, sealed side down. Dust with cornmeal, garlic salt, and or parmesan cheese. Bake it for 20-30 minutes(depending on size) at 350 degrees or until done. Serve with warm marinara or cheese sauce for dipping.
I’m sure you are already thinking of variations for this recipe to make it your favorite- ham and pineapple, chicken and spinach, veggie delight. A word of caution- Watch out for too much moisture. Ingredients with a lot of moisture can make your finished product soggy.
I’m doing my part in the kitchen today to try and tell you that no matter what- team member or not, I’ll always be your biggest fan!