Pizza Night Just Got A Makeover!

One of the keys to surviving putting a homemade meal on the table every single night is to not have to cook every single night. There are a few ways to do this. One is to make a large meal at the beginning of the week and serve it throughout the week and the other is doing things like “Pizza Night”. I mean come on who wouldn’t like pizza night? 

Over the years I have tried different iterations of homemade pizza. None of them were quite hitting the spot. Then when we moved to the midwest my husband introduced me to a local favorite, Casey’s pizza. For those who aren’t from these parts, Casey’s is a local gas station/convince store. One of it’s big things is that it won’t go into a town much large then 10,000 people and the smaller the better. Not only are they typically the only gas station in town but they sell a limited amount of groceries too. However, what makes them so well known in these parts is their in-house-baked foods. Their pizza, donuts, cookies, and muffins bring in a lot of traffic. Once I tried their pizza is was easy to see why.

Buying pizza every two weeks was bothering me. Not only was their the cost but commercial doughs and sauces tend to have a lot more things added to them which is why I like to make as much from scratch as I can.

I knew we didn’t want to give up pizza night but I wanted to come up with something that wasn’t store bought. This got me to thinking about what would I like to make, what would be interesting, and what would hit enough of the prerequisites of flavor and texture to be Pizza Night. Then it hit me, Stromboli! So I started digging through my cookbooks for a recipe. Interestingly no one had one. Most didn’t even have a pizza recipe! Sacrilege! Thankfully Molly Yeh came to the rescue. This girl speaks my language on so many levels and her love of pizza is yet another. Now, I will confess I am not a fan of her toppings but thats what’s great about pizza. It’s totally, and absolutely, customizable. What I needed was a dough and a technique.

Now, Molly’s recipe was for a calzone but the two are not that far apart. Of all the pictures in her book this is one of my favorite. The looks of sheer joy holding a giant calzone was great! Reading her recipe for the pizza dough was a bit entertaining. It wasn’t really a recipe as it was more of a story and in the story she mentions how to make the dough.

Pizza Dough

  • 500 grams All-purpose Flour
  • 2 teaspoon Salt
  • ¼ teaspoon Active Dry Yeast
  • 350 grams Water

(I did mine in a mixer but you could also just do this in a bowl by hand if you prefer.) In the bowl of a stand mixer mix the first three ingredients together well. Place the bowl on the mixer and attach the dough hook. With the mixer on a low speed start adding the water at a slow steady stream until all the water is added.

Once combined knead the dough in the mixer for 5 minutes. Turn out the dough into a lightly oiled bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Set it somewhere out of the way for 24 hours. DON’T skimp on the time the dough needs to become highly active and the top should look very bubbly. With so little yeast used you want to give it time to work and build flavor.

Stromboli

Now you’re ready to shape and fill your Stromboli! Preheat your oven to 400ºF.

On a well floured surface turn out your dough. It’s going to be very loose and tacky. Keep working your dough into a large rectangle. If you want to do this by hand you can but I opted for a rolling pin. Each time you roll or stretch your dough flip it over to keep flouring both sides to prevent it sticking. Do this until the dough becomes to thin to flip. I forgot to measure my rectangle when I was done rolling it out but I want to say it was close to 15×20-inches.

Slather on your sauce. I can’t stress how much better this is with homemade tomato sauce but use whatever you have. I didn’t have any pizza sauce left in my pantry so I used my homemade pasta sauce. To make it the right consistency I poured it out onto a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil and put it into a 225ºF oven for 1 hour stirring half way through. This allowed it to get thicker and a little richer in flavor.

Then layer with mozzarella cheese. From there add the toppings you want. Obviously, any sauce and cheese can work as well but it’s hard to call it pizza if you don’t have pizza and red sauce. For our pizza I topped it with pepperoni, chopped black olives, and sliced mushrooms. The key for a Stromboli is to either have the toppings chopped fine or sliced thin. This will make it easier to roll.

My Toppings

  • 40 grams Tomato Pizza Sauce
  • 300 grams Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
  • 70 grams Diced Black Olive
  • 90 grams Peperoni
  • 4 Button Mushrooms, halved and sliced

The next part is the tricky part. Rolling. Hopefully you have a well floured surface. The idea is your just need to go slow and steady. If you have a bench scraper this will help as you can push it against any parts that are sticking to the counter to help loosen it. Another option is to roll it out onto a piece of parchment or wax paper that is well floured so that you can roll it while you peel away the parchment. The key is to roll it from the narrow end so you get more layers in the Stromboli.

Once rolled, carefully pick up the stromboli and place on a rimmed baking sheet, and make diagonal shallow slits in the top to allow venting. Brush with an egg wash and sprinkle with fresh grated parmesan and fresh grated black pepper.

  • 1 Egg (egg wash)
  • 20 grams Parmesan
  • Fresh Cracked Black Pepper

Bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Brush one more time with egg wash and bake for another 5 minutes. This will give it a nice golden color and crunch when you bite into the crust.

Stromboli

The Stromboli came out great and we both agreed, a new pizza night tradition has begun!

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