“I think I was born with a rolling pin in my hand,” I declared as I wielded the instrument of flat destruction across the pizza dough, flattening the lump into one, very thin cover for a Stromboli extraordinaire. We were making a Stromboli — my sister-in-law, Denise, and me. It would be our family’s last visit to Atlanta to see Nanny, my husband’s mother, who was in at-home hospice at Denise’s house. Denise wanted to learn how to make Stromboli. But who can do that without a rolling pin? A previous phone conversation had disclosed that we would be without that necessary tool, so I brought mine along on our trip from Philadelphia.
Our family had shared New Year’s Eve, as well as my Stromboli, on one of our trips to Atlanta a few years ago. It was a Christmas time visit, very cold outside, and we packed the car to drive down to Atlanta to ring in the New Year. It was cold enough in the trunk of our car for the perishable treat to make the trip. So, I made the Strombolis at home and wrapped them to be ready to bake right away when we arrived on New Year’s Eve.
We always eat Stromboli on New Year’s Eve — it’s our tradition. No one in the family is Italian, but Stromboli was added as an appetizer one year and morphed into a mainstay that’s been eaten on the last night of the year by everyone in my family. This recipe came into my possession the first year I was married (note: long, long time ago). I didn’t find this recipe on the Internet or from a food show on TV. It came to me handwritten on a ripped piece of paper from a guy my cousin was dating at the time. He was Italian and from South Philly, a section of the city known for good, homemade Italian cooking. Stromboli was definitely a keeper. By the way, I’m taking a chance here publicly revealing this recipe, but what’s a broken leg or broken arm, if you can share a great “Family” recipe.
Although I tried to consult the authority on what makes a good New Year’s Eve party food, Dick Clark was unavailable for comment. I’m working on my clairvoyance and channeling with no luck, but am sure Dick would give this Stromboli a Thumbs Up! If heaven is rocking on New Year’s Eve, this is the food to serve to keep the party going.
Stromboli makes a great hot party food that can be made in advance, frozen and then baked. I usually make my own dough – a quick, easy, inexpensive food processor Italian bread recipe that I found in a booklet enclosed with the machine. However, if you do not have a food processor or lack the inclination or time to make homemade, some local supermarket bakeries make and sell the dough in the bakery frozen section. (ShopRite and Food Basics)
1 lb. Italian pizza dough
½ lb. provolone cheese, sliced thin
½ lb. pepperoni, sliced paper thin
ASSEMBLE: Divide dough in half. Roll each half into a rectangle about 12 inches by 10 inches on a lightly floured surface. Dough will be about ¼ inch thick. (If dough sticks, add a little more flour to surface and rolling pin.)
Cover each rectangle of dough with ¼ lb. cheese, overlapping slices. Lay the pepperoni slices on top of the cheese, side by side. Again, cover the area but do not overlap slices. (Here, more is not better. Too much pepperoni seems to cause the dough to crack while it bakes.)
ROLL: Roll up Stromboli, jelly-roll style, starting from the longest side, pinch seam then pinch ends. Place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake seam side down in preheated 400-degree oven for about 20 minutes or until Stromboli is lightly brown and has a hollow sound when knocked on top. Cut in diagonal wedges and serve. Makes 2 Strombolis.
BAKE AHEAD: Bake as above. Freeze, defrost to room temperature, wrap in foil. Preheat oven to 400 degrees for about 10-15 minutes.
Happy New Year!
Eat well, live long, enjoy!
(Questions or tips can be sent to Donna Zitter Bordelon at WhatscookinNEPhilly@gmail.com or in care of the Northeast Times, 2512 Metropolitan Drive, Trevose, PA 19053)