Stromboli, to me, is just a fancy way of saying stuffed bread. It’s one of those things that I fall back on when I don’t know what else to make. It’s good, it’s easy, it’s fast, and I can usually cram somewhat healthy stuff in there without anyone knowing better, since I also include enough ricotta and mozzarella to make it all worthwhile.
I don’t need a recipe for this stromboli, and you don’t either. Trust me. This is easy, easy stuff. And I’m going to take the step by step route, even though Ree does it better and I sometimes forget to take pictures.
To start, you need a big ol’ 1-pound ball of pizza dough; store-bought is fine, that’s what I used this time, but I’ve also used homemade, and honestly? It’s not that much of a difference.
You also need your stuffing ingredients.
Tangent: I wanted to go with an eggplant parm theme, I’ve made it before and I was craving it. I love eggplant parm, but I don’t always love the seventeen steps involved in slicing the eggplant ultra-thin, dredging and breading it, frying it, etc. Plus, theoretically, I shouldn’t eat as much of it if it’s fried (I’m not saying I won’t, I’m saying I probably shouldn’t).
So for last night’s stromboli, I sliced eggplant, drizzled it with olive oil and baked it in a preheated 425 degree oven until it looked like this:
You’ll need to flip it once, about halfway through, so you get the yummy crust on both sides. You may also need to spray it with a bit more olive oil; eggplant is kind of thirsty when it comes to oil.
I also had the “parmigiana” part of the equation standing by:
I picked up the ricotta from the supermarket when I did our weekly shopping, then went to Pastosa for the fresh mozzarella and pre-made pizza dough. And yes, I picked up a small container of sauce too; hey, someone’s grandmother or father or something made it, whatever. That’s literally how lazy I was yesterday. It was a wear-sweatpants-to-the-supermarket kind of a day. Anyway!
When you’re ready to start making the stromboli, preheat the oven to 400 degrees (convection’s nice, if you have it). Press the dough out on a half-sheet pan; you’re looking to make a rectangle-ish shape.
You’ll want to layer the ingredients more towards the bottom of the rectangle, so it’s not a complete pain in the ass to roll (more on that later). Your first layer is the roasted eggplant:
Overlap them slightly so you get a nice chunka eggplant in each bite. Then comes the sauce:
In hindsight, I would’ve maybe added a smidge more sauce, but I didn’t want it to be too difficult to roll.
Next layer is the ricotta; you’ll just dab it on along the little log you’ve got going on…
…trying (and failing) not to eat directly from the spoon the entire time you do it. I am so gross.
Last up is the fresh mozzarella (use Polly-O or whatever you like, I prefer it with fresh, but again, this is about you, not me!)
Okay, now you’re ready to roll. And this really won’t be that scary — see how I left about 2 inches of dough on the bottom? You’ll pull that up and stretch it over the filling.
Basically. Trying to roll it and take a picture at the same time was kind of silly, as evidenced by the stellar image quality above. Love the analogy used in the recent post on Dinner: A Love Story, it really is like rolling a joint – or a burrito, whatever analogy tickles your fancy. (By the way, I just discovered that site over the weekend, so good! I’m so not a cool kid, I pick up on things so 2000 and late.)
Now that you’ve pulled the dough up over the top, you’ll want to crimp the sides so the filling doesn’t come squirting out the side (see, I told you I’d miss a picture). Then, you’ll continue rolling, until the whole thing actually does look like a burrito:
You’re almost ready to go into the oven – you’ll just want to slash the top a few times to let any steam come out.
Also, I like to put an egg wash on so the top browns nicely and gets all crunchy and delicious. Just beat 1 egg with a splash of water, and paint it on with a pastry brush. I made two, so I could bake them and freeze one for another night.
(Oh, that other stromboli? It is the pretty stromboli’s ugly cousin. Don’t ask… I told you it was hard trying to roll and take a picture at the same time! It tasted just as good though, so whatever.)
After you put the egg wash on, put it in the oven:
And bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until the stromboli looks like it should be in your belly:
Wait a few minutes for it to cool down a bit, so the filling doesn’t ooze out the second you cut into it. Slice into 4 or so pieces, or whatever size is best for you. Jason and I demolished about 2/3 of the weird-looking stromboli last night, but it was also the only thing we ate; you could probably feed 4 with one stromboli
I just ate the leftovers for lunch, heated up in a 400 degree toaster oven. It may have been better today.
You could be eating this for dinner tonight, just pick up a pizza dough on your way home from work.