Friday, January 21, 2011

Classic Stromboli

Classic Stromboli
makes 2 servings
Stromboli is basically the traditional (and more tasty) Italian version of the commercially produced “Hot Pocket”® sandwich.  This version contains the ingredients that we find most appealing and which are most traditional.  You may add almost any content which is to your taste it is recommended however, that whatever you stuff this sandwich with keep it kind of dry.  My wife likes it served with a spicy tomato sauce for dipping.


stromboli dough:

1 cup bread flour
1/2 cup lukewarm water (110° F)
1/2 package (1 1/4 teaspoons) of active dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

stromboli filling:

½ pound hot Italian sausage, removed from casings and crumbled (optional)
1 cup sliced yellow onions
½  cup thinly sliced red bell peppers
½  cup thinly sliced green bell peppers
8 slices ham
8 slices (3 1/2-inch diameter) thinly sliced pepperoni
8 slices (3 1/2-inch diameter) salami
8 slices (3 1/2-inch diameter) provolone
8 slices (3 1/2-inch diameter) mozzarella
½  cup sliced Kalamata olives
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1 large egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water to make an egg wash
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


stromboli dough:
1.  In a 1 cup measuring cup, combine the water and sugar stir to combine and sprinkle the yeast over it. Let sit until the mixture is foamy, about 10 minutes.  If the yeast doesn't "proof" (get "foamy") pour it out and start again it is important to have a live yeast mixture.

2.  Meanwhile place the 1 cup of flour and the salt into a sifter and sift it into the medium bowl  of a stand mixer.  Make a well in the center of the flour and pour in the olive oil and the "proofed" yeast mixture.  Turn the mixer, fitted with dough hooks,  to high (labeled  knead on my mixer) and turn on.  Continue kneading (mixing) until the dough comes cleanly away from the sides of the bowl and forms a ball around the dough hooks (scrap the sides of the bowl to move flour into the path of the hooks as needed).

3.  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth but still slightly tacky (add flour gradually as needed to reach the slightly tacky state), 3 to 5 minutes. 

4.  Lightly oil a large mixing bowl with about 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil. Place the dough in the bowl and turn to oil the ball on all sides. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap cloth and set in a warm, draft-free place until nearly doubled in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. 

stromboli construction and baking:
1.  Preheat the oven to 425° F. and lightly oil a large baking sheet and set aside. 

2.  In a large skillet, cook the sausage over medium-high heat until browned and the fat is rendered, about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain well on paper towels. Discard all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the pan. 

3.  Add the onions and cook over medium heat until onions begin to caramelize.  Add  the balsamic vinegar, bell peppers  and cook, stirring, until very soft, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and Italian seasoning and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Taste and adjust seasoning to taste.   Remove from the heat and cool. 

4.  Meanwhile, remove the stromboli dough from its bowl and divide into 2 equally sized portions.  Form each portion into a ball.  Lightly flour your work  surface and, working with one ball  at a time, flatten the ball into a disk.  Using your hands and a rolling pin, work the disk into a thin (about 1/8" thick) larger disk about 10 to 11 inches in  diameter (as if you were  making a thin, round  pizza).  Using a 10" dinner plate as form, center the plate on the dough  disk and using a sharp knife trim and discard the excess dough, remove the plate.  You should now have a perfectly round 10" disk  to work with.

5.  Working with the 10" disk  in front of you, and using a pastry brush, brush olive oil over the  surface of the dough leaving a  1/2-inch margin uncoated on  the edge of the disk.  Overlapping the slices slightly, layer half of the ham, salami,  pepperoni, olives, provolone and mozzarella cheeses, and onions over the bottom half of the dough circle respecting the clean, 1/2-inch margin along the edge.  

6.  Spread  half of the cooled sausage mixture evenly over the cheese and sliced meats again respecting  the 1/2-inch clean margin.   Lightly brush  the 1/2-inch clean margin with some of the beaten  egg/water mixture and  fold the upper half of the disk over the lower half pressing  the edge together to seal (the tines of a fork can be used to a crimped edge for visual appeal).  

7.  Remove the newly formed stromboli to the lightly oiled baking sheet and repeat steps 4 thru 6 with the remaining dough ball.

8.  Lightly brush the tops of each of the stromboli with some of the beaten eggs being careful not to allow any of the egg to seep under the stromboli (this will tend to cause the stromboli to stick to the baking sheet as they cook and make  removal difficult).  You may cut 2 or 3 1-inch slits into the top of each stromboli to allow steam to escape if you think  it necessary.

9.  Place the baking sheet containing the stromboli in the center of the preheated oven  and bake until the stromboli are nicely, golden browned, 30 to 40 minutes.  Serve immediately if you're going  to eat the stromboli with a fork and knife or allow to cool slightly if you are going to eat them as sandwiches to avoid burning  your mouth.  The stromboli may be served accompanied by  a spicy marinara sauce for dipping.

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