I picked up a new cookbook at the library a few weeks ago: Dinner: A Love Story (DALS). I was so enthralled with the author’s writing and cooking approach that I quickly found her online as well. I think I had heard of DALS somewhere along the line, but I was never a regular reader – until after the book. The book and blog are great (I’m asking for the cookbook for my birthday so I can have a copy of my very own), and happening on the book at the library was worth it if only for this one recipe that I’m about to share with you (which actually isn’t in the book, but I only found the blog because of the book, so it all goes together!). I think we’ve made this nearly every week for the last two months, which is really saying something around our house because I get bored easily and prefer to try new stuff. But this stromboli is so fun and easy to experiment with that it’s quickly become an old standby. I’ve experimented with calzones before, but Grant isn’t a big fan. I think I thought stromboli was just another word for calzone, so I had never tried it. We like it better than pizza around here because it’s a little less fussy since we like to put TONS of toppings on our pizzas. We’ve made meatball stromboli, kale and ricotta stromboli, hot Italian sausage stromboli, vegan stromboli, and I’m sure some other combinations that I’m missing. So do yourself a favor and make one of these – tonight!

Jim Lahey’s pizza dough
(I use this recipe, but DALS uses this recipe that uses sugar for a shorter rise time)

Ingredients

500 grams (about 3 3/4 cups) all-purpose flour, plus more for shaping the dough
1 gram (1/4 teaspoon) active dry yeast
16 grams (2 teaspoons) fine sea salt
350 grams (1 1/2 cups) water

Directions

In a medium bowl, thoroughly blend the flour, yeast, and salt. Add the water and, with a wooden spoon, mix thoroughly. I usually start with the spoon and then finish up with my hands. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and allow it to rise at room temperature for 18 hours or until it has more than doubled. I have often forgotten about it and let it go a full two days. Or, if I need it sooner, I’ll put it in the oven with the oven light turned on.

Once the dough is ready, flour your countertop and and scrape out the dough. Divide it into two equal parts and shape them. Shape each portion into a round and turn seam side down. At this point, after some trial-and-error, I use one of the dough “rounds” for the stromboli, and I freeze the other one (wrapped in plastic wrap) for another day (or they can be refrigerated for three days if you plan to use it quickly). Return to room temperature by leaving them out on the counter, covered in a damp cloth, for 4 to 6 hours if frozen or 2 to 3 hours if refrigerated before needed. But we like our strombolis with just the half batch of dough, but if you like yours a little “dough-ier,” then use the whole recipe. [This recipe is intended to make about four 12-inch sized pizzas]. I’ve experimented with some whole wheat versions that I’ll post back here soon (or try this previously-posted one), but this is so easy, so delicious, and still better than most of the processed stuff out there that I do fall back on it often.

Hot Italian Sausage Stromboli
Adapted from Dinner: A Love Story

DSC_0137Ingredients

Four links hot Italian sausage from a happily-raised, local pigSmall onion, sliced
6 leaves kale, torn
Red paper flakes
1-2 tsp fennel seeds
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup mozzarella cheese

Directions

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

MDSC_0135ake your pizza sauce. I use this recipe but with a little less water to thicken it up a bit. When I use meat, I like to brown the meat first and then add it to the sauce for the last 15-20 minutes, so that they flavors mingle together a bit more. So for this version, I sliced up the sausage links, browned them, and then added them to the sauce on the stove. The sauce tends to make a little extra than what I need for the stromboli, so I just save the rest to serve over pasta the next day.

Then spread the dough out onto a very well oiled rimmed baking sheet, so that it covers as much of the pan surface area as possible. If you’re having trouble getting the dough to stretch out, let it sit for a bit and then try again. It seems to get more elastic as it rests. Then spread your pizza sauce on the dough. Then add your ingredients, saving the cheese for last. I like to “dollop” the ricotta, and then spread the mozzarella evenly. Then roll the dough twice length-wise. As I said, we like ours not too “dough-y,” so ours usually breaks apart a bit, but that doesn’t hurt the taste any. But try it both ways (once with the bigger entire batch of dough and once with the half batch of dough) to see which you like better. Bake for about 45 minutes.

As I mentioned above, we have made this all sorts of ways – experiment yourself. So far I’ve only used the red sauce, but I plan to branch out a bit soon. I’ll report back. Here are some combinations that have gone over well at our house:

  • Mushrooms, kale, more garlic, and onions + Parmesan
  • Onions and sweet peppers (we’ve almost cleaned out our freezer stash from last summer, sadly) + mozzarella
  • Meatballs, kale, and onions + Parmesan
  • Happy brats, onions, and broccoli + ricotta

DSC_0110

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