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My kids love pizza, but even when they let me add some interesting ingredients (more than just pepperoni…), it’s still a bit boring. So in my quest to make ye olde pizza more interesting, I stumbled upon an old friend: the Stromboli! Stromboli takes me back to college, where I would eat my weight in the “special Stromboli” at Bellini’s, the most excellent Italian restaurant ever. Bellini’s was full of simple, old-world character, not least of which was that they only accepted cash (perhaps there was more than cooking going on in the back room!).

Strombolis are simple, but they do take some planning. To make a respectable Stromboli, you need fresh dough. Although you could substitute canned pizza dough (such as Pillsbury), the taste simply won’t match fresh dough.

Total Time: 20 min (prep), 1 hr (inactive), 30 min (cook) Serves: 4

Ingredients – Basic Pizza Dough

  • 1 cup warm water (105-115 degrees F)
  • 1/4 oz active dry yeast (1 packet)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Ingredients – Stromboli

  • Basic pizza dough
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 pound pepperoni, sliced
  • 2 cups provolone, grated
  • 2 cups mozzarella, grated
  • 1 egg, beaten, with 1 Tbsp water to make egg wash
  • 1 cup Parmesan, grated
  • 3 1/2 oz. capers
  • All purpose flour for coating chicken
  • Marinara sauce (heated) for dipping


I’ll begin by making the pizza dough. If you’re opting for store-bought or canned, skip down a bit.

A word about using yeast — for those of you unfamiliar with using active dry yeast, it may seem a little intimidating. Believe me when I say that using yeast does not need to be scary. Besides, yeast is what makes fresh-baked bread smell heavenly. Mmm. Yeast is a living organism, actually a fungi. Therefore, the only tricky part to using yeast is to make sure that your water is the right temperature. If it’s too cold, the yeast won’t activate (wake up from their “dry” sleep). If the water is too hot, you’ll kill them (literally).

In a large bowl, dissolve the sugar into the warm water. As the yeast wake up, they will eat the sugar and begin to expand and lightly foam. Then add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, pour in the yeast, and stir gently to combine. The oil and yeast will not seem to mix, but the point of stirring is to simply wet the yeast. If you allow the yeast to sit on top of the water, they won’t activate as you need them to.

Wait 5-7 minutes for the yeast to wake up and start to expand. You’ll likely see a little bubbling on the surface (that’s a good thing). The water will turn a bit cloudy and you’ll be ready to go.

Add 1 1/2 cups of flour and the salt, then mix it up. I don’t like to use my hands at this point because the mixture is extremely sticky, but later, as you add the flour, your hands will become the most effective tool.

At this point, begin adding the remaining 1 1/2 cups of flour 1/4 cup at a time. Mix each 1/4 cup until its absorbed. Once you have incorporated the remaining 1 1/2 cups (3 cups total), turn out the dough onto a floured surface.

NOTE: To “flour” a surface, take some flour in your hand a toss it lightly onto your surface, like your kitchen counter, as if you were skipping a stone on a lake. By doing that, you’ll get a nice, even coat of flour on your surface, rather than little piles of flour all over the place.

Knead the dough for about 3-5 minutes or until it becomes smooth and only slightly sticky. Add more flour (a little at a time!) if the dough begins to stick to your counter. Pour the remaining 1 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil into another large bowl. Once the dough is smooth, place it into the large bowl and turn it over and over in the oil, coating it completely.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place it in a warm spot in your kitchen. Allow the dough to rise for 1-1 1/2 hours, or until it doubles in size.

Once the dough is ready, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Bring the risen dough out and punch it down (really, punch it).

Divide the dough in half (you will ultimately make two Stromboli rolls).

Take one half of the dough and roll it out to about 10×14 inches. I don’t ever need to flour the surface when I roll it out – the dough is still oily – but you may want to add a small amount of flour in case you want it to be as easy as possible.

Begin to add your toppings, including half each of the cheeses, pepperoni, and Italian seasoning, but leave a one-inch border on the two long sides and the short side farthest from you. NOTE: Classic Stromboli is made without any sauce on the inside. You are welcome to add a thin (THIN) layer of under your toppings if the lack of sauce disturbs you, but I promise it will be moist and the dipping sauce will be all you need.

Beat the egg and water together to make an egg wash, and then use a pastry brush to apply a thin layer of egg wash to one of the short ends. Do not toss the egg wash – you’ll need it later.

Roll the Stromboli from the short end closest to you, allowing the egg wash to seal the seam at the end of the roll.

Crimp each end of the roll to seal it off and place the roll on a baking sheet (you can use a pizza stone in the oven if you’d like — if so, place the roll on your pizza peel).

Repeat these steps with the other half of the dough. Since this recipe makes two Strombolis, it’s perfect for families — one can be what the kids like, while the other can be a bit more sophisticated, including things like sausage, onions, spinach, goat cheese, etc.

After you’ve made both rolls, brush the tops with the remaining egg wash and place them in the oven for 25 minutes, or until a light golden brown.

Once the rolls have turned a beautiful golden brown, sprinkle them with the grated Parmesan and return them to the oven for another 5-7 minutes, enough for the Parmesan to bubble and toast on top.

Allow the Stromboli to cool for a few minutes, and then slice thickly and serve with a marinara sauce for dipping. Enjoy!