Creating recipes isn't a pastime—it's a passion. And a lot of fun.

The rules are few: Use 99% fresh ingredients (or thereabouts); make the dish simple but flavorful; make the dish flavorful but simple; be creative, not silly.

With this blog, I want to share new recipes, along with tips on ingredients and preparation, and, hopefully, show new cooks (and non-cooks) the pleasure in setting the table with a delicious homemade meal. The Briny Lemon is about fresh, simple, flavorful ingredients and easy cooking methods that help you bring the best to your family table. Your comments are welcome!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Stromboli with Pepperoni and Fresh Marinara

Stromboli is like a rolled-up pizza—and just as easy and flavorful to make with simple ingredients and a good-quality store-bought pizza dough. Here, I used a thin dough that rolls out to about a 15 X 11-inch rectangle. You can use a thicker pizza crust, but keep in mind that it will take a little longer to bake.

The key to stromboli toppings is the fewer the better so that you can keep them as flat as possible and allow the dough to roll easily and evenly. A little green pepper and onion, shredded cheese, and thin slices of pepperoni work just fine.     

But I think the most important (and tastiest) part of this recipe is the rich, fruity tomato marinara that acts as both the base of the stromboli—just like a pizza—and as a dipping sauce for the baked sandwich slices. Simply combine canned crushed tomatoes with garlic, shallot, and a bit of wine and let it all cook down for about 30 minutes. Big flavor in very little time—and well worth it.

Serves 4

  • 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 cups canned crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • sea salt 
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced green bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced onion
  • 1 11-oz can thin pizza dough
  • 1/4 lb very thinly sliced pepperoni
  • 1-1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Thinly Sliced Bell Pepper and Onion
Unrolled Dough 
Thinly Sliced Pepperoni
  1. Heat a saucepan over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the garlic and shallot and sauté 2 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes and wine and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low and cook until slightly thickened, 30 minutes, stirring a few times. Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley. Let cool 15 minutes.
Garlic and Shallot
Marinara Beginning to Cook
Cooked Marinara
  1. Meanwhile, heat a skillet over medium heat and add the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the green bell pepper and onion and season with salt and pepper. Sauté until tender and lightly browned, 6-7 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Pepper and Onion 
Browned Pepper and Onion
  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Lay the pizza dough on the parchment paper and roll out to about a 15 X 11-inch rectangle. Spread 3/4 cup marinara on the dough, leaving about a 1-inch border. (Re-warm the remaining marinara while the stromboli bakes.) 
  3. Top with pepperoni slices and the bell pepper mixture. Scatter cheese on top, spreading as flat as possible.
  4. Beginning on 1 long side, slowly roll the dough jellyroll-style, using the parchment paper to help in rolling. 
  5. Slide the rolled dough to the middle of the parchment, seam-side down and tuck in each end to seal. Use a knife to make a few diagonal slits in the top of the dough to allow steam to escape as it bakes.
  6. Bake until deep golden brown, 15-17 minutes. Transfer the stromboli to a cutting board and let rest 10 minutes.
Marinara Layer
Pepperoni and Vegetables 
Cheese Added 
Use Parchment to Help Roll 
Ready to Bake
Baked Stromboli 
Let the Stromboli Rest
Cut into serving pieces and serve with warm marinara in small bowls alongside.

Stromboli with Pepperoni and Fresh Marinara

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