Sometimes I get obsessed, like today when I decided to (finally) sort through some old papers I had been stuffing in expandable folders for … I found some papers from when I lived in an apartment 15 years and 2 cars ago. I don’t need the insurance policy for the car I traded in 7 years ago, and I don’t need my (now defunct) US Airways reward miles card either. In the end, I had 1-1/2 expandable folders of papers that I do need to resort and file away, and two 13-gallon trash bags of shredded junk. I was so obsessed that when I finally hauled out the last trash bag, I looked at the clock and realized that the laundry wasn’t put away, the master bath still needed cleaning, and dinner needed to be on the table in 3 hours – and there was nothing on my cooking radar!
Sorting through papers is a slow process, but coming up with a delicious dinner doesn’t need to be (thank goodness!). I opened the refrigerator and found two leftover pork chops, some chicken soup stock, and … a can of refrigerated pizza crust I had picked up a couple weeks ago when it was on sale. With a jar of Ragu pizza sauce and some pepperoni in the pantry, green and yellow peppers, onions, tomatoes, Mozzarella and parmesan cheese in the fridge, sliced mushrooms and some ground Italian sausage in the freezer – how about trying something new (at least new from my kitchen) – Stromboli.
There are many ways that Stromboli can be put together, but I was yearning for a half-moon version like I used to order from my favorite pizza place in a small upstate NY town. I wanted it to taste like that one, even if I really didn’t have time to make my own pizza dough so it would look like that one too. Refrigerated pizza crust rolls are handy but not a drop-in substitute for homemade crust; however, with now 2-1/2 hours left before dinner needed to be on the table, I was a beggar who couldn’t be choosy. Since I was taking shortcuts for almost everything (I did have some frozen sliced peppers and onions from the summer garden but I’m saving those for hot sausage sandwiches), I decided to roll the dice and see if I could transfer the picture in my mind to a Stromboli on the pizza pan (I do have a pizza stone but I use it for baking Italian bread and didn’t want to crud it up).
I started by setting the oven for 400 °F. While I was slicing and dicing veggies, I nuke-defrosted the Italian sausage, then threw the sausage, peppers, onions, and mushrooms into my Gotham Steel 9” square deep pan and cooked over medium heat until the sausage was almost done. Once the sausage mixture was cooking away, I cracked open the pizza crust can, oiled the pan, and reshaped the dough into a circle. The square pan got a cover and the burner was turned to low just for a few minutes to soften up the veggies, after which I mixed in the diced tomato then drained off the excess liquid.
Assembly line time:
- Add the pizza sauce
- Add the seasoning
- Add the pepperoni
- Add the sausage mixture
- Add the mozzarella and parmesan
- Fold the crust over to make a half-moon shape and seal edges
- Poke some vent holes and pop it in the oven
Dinner was ready in just under 2 hours from brainchild to golden brown results. It would only have taken an hour if I hadn’t waffled over what to make and then spent 30 minutes digging through the fridge, pantry, and freezer deciding what ingredients to use. Next time I’ll make my own pizza dough and maybe even break out the pizza stone…but I won’t be able to spend the whole day forgetting about dinner! The results were less than beauty-pageant-ready, and the crust did not rise like homemade dough would, but if I close my eyes and imagine it’s snowing, I can taste that familiar upstate NY Stromboli flavor from my Florida kitchen. This was one delicious ugly duckling!
Okay, one more thing: I was pretty sure I knew what I was doing, but just in case it was an epic failure, I nuke-defrosted a package of vacuum-sealed chicken casserole and popped it in the oven with the Stromboli…we can eat that tomorrow.
Don't let the pictures fool you: this was delicious stromboli, even if the crust didn't rise like I wanted it to. The texture of the crust was fine but I wanted some puffiness that I just didn't get from a can of refrigerated pizza dough. It's probably worth the effort to make your own dough!
- 1 lb. Italian sausage hot or mild
- 1/2 ea. green bell pepper cut in strips
- 1/2 ea. yellow bell pepper cut in strips
- 1/2 ea. red bell pepper cut in strips
- 1/2 ea. sweet onion sliced
- 1/2 cup mushroom slices fresh or frozen
- 1/2 ea. tomato diced
- pizza dough enough for one 12" round crust
- 1/2 cup pizza sauce canned or fresh
- 12 slices pepperoni thin
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese shredded
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese shredded or grated
- 2 tbsp Italian seasoning grinder or shaker type
- olive oil or olive oil nonstick spray
- Add Italian sausage, peppers, onions, and mushrooms to a large frying pan
- Cook on medium low until sausage is browned but not crispy, breaking up into small chunks while cooking
Turn burner to low and cover for about 5 minutes to soften vegetables
- Remove from heat and stir in diced tomatoes
- Drain excess liquid from pan and set mixture aside
Preheat oven to 400 °F
Lightly oil a 12-in round pizza pan
Shape the pizza dough to completely cover the bottom of the pan
Spread pizza sauce over half of dough
Grind/shake Italian seasoning over sauce
Place sliced pepperoni evenly over sauce
Spread about one cup of sausage filling over pepperoni.
Add mozzarella then Parmesan
- Fold the other half of the pizza dough over the prepared pizza dough, pinching the edges together to seal
- Use a fork to poke several holes through the top of the crust to vent
- Bake at 400 °F for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown
Let stand for a few minutes before slicing pie-style
Stromboli round #2 with a better pizza dough; it looked like there are a couple of burned spots but, in fact, they were just raised higher than most of the crust and were a darker brown. At least the crust raised this time!
- You can make your own Italian seasoning by mixing equal amounts of oregano, basil, and rosemary
- 1/4 of the stromboli is very filling and should be enough for each person, unless you have teenagers, in which case there is never enough food!
- If you want the stromboli piled high with filling, you can double the amount of filling but use slightly less than 1/2 of the pizza dough to make sure you have enough 'top' to seal the seams! Baking time does not change.
©2018 Warrior Woman's Kitchen