Do you like strombolis? Ever had a stromboli? Don't confuse them with a calzone. They are not the same. We LOVE these sandwiches, but we like the midwestern style stromboli. We are from Evansville, Indiana, and there is a pizza shop that has been in operation as long as we have been married which is 43 years. Yeah, I know, forever. The shop is called Pizza King and my research showed that there are Pizza King's all over Indiana, but I could not find if they were franchised or owned by the same company or just had the same name. Looked like the original Pizza King started in northern Indiana somewhere. Interesting. Anyway, besides awesome pizza they have fabulous sandwiches - hot ham and cheese, strombolis, and Texas barbecue. They are always wrapped in aluminum foil and baked. You can get the stroms and Texas barbecues anywhere from mild to "blow the top of your head off" hot. But, they are SOOOOOOOO good. I miss them here in good old Nashville. So, what did I do but create my own. Sure, why not?
Here is a little history on the stromboli. They are an American sandwich (which we all think is Italian, but isn't) usually made in a pizza type dough with Italian meats and cheese, layered and rolled, baked and then sliced. Midwestern style strombolis are not like that. They are made in a crusty roll like a baguette, or on a deli style roll which is what I used. Mine has sausage, pepperoni, onions, marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese. Mmmm, mmmm, mmmm, delicious.
Why are they called strombolis? Good question. Here is what Wikipedia has to say.
Stromboli is a type of turnover filled with various cheeses, typically mozzarella, Italian meats such as salami, capicola and bresaola or vegetables. The dough traditionally used is Italian bread dough.A stromboli is made with a square shaped pizza dough that can be topped with any pizza toppings and is then rolled into a log and baked. Many American pizza shops serve a stromboli using pizza dough that is folded in half with fillings, similar to a calzone.
There are some theories regarding the origin of the stromboli in the United States. Romano's Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria claims to have originated it in 1950 in Essington, Tinicum Township, just outside of Philadelphia, by Nazzareno Romano. According to Romano, a friend suggested he name it after the then recently released movie, Stromboli. Another claim is that the stromboli was invented in 1954 by Mike Aquino at Mike's Burger Royale in Spokane, Washington. Aquino is also supposed to have named the sandwich after the movie.
So, we don't really know exactly where this sandwich originated, we just know we are happy that it originated somewhere even though ours isn't made this way. Ha! Now, about making these delicious sandwiches. They are really super easy and I guess you could use your favorite ingredients, but here is how I made mine which is very close to the Pizza King stromboli. Here is what you need.
1 pound milk bulk sausage
1 pound hot Italian sausage (casing removed if using links)
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup of your favorite marinara sauce (I used Trader Joe's tomato basil)
about 30 pepperonis chopped (stack and chop, makes it easier)
1 8 ounce block mozzarella cheese, grated
3 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
6 deli type rolls
6 sheets of aluminum foil, about 12-14 inches long
1 baking sheet
Brown the sausages and onions in a saute' pan. Drain any fat from the pan. Add the garlic and chopped pepperoni when the sausage is browned. Add the marinara sauce and red pepper flakes. Stir until thoroughly mixed and heated through.
Brush the top and bottom of a deli roll with some good olive oil. Put the sliced deli roll in the middle of a piece of foil, fill with sausage mixture. Put several heaping hands full of cheese on the sausage. Bring the edges of the foil together and roll down to the sandwich and roll the ends up.
When all the rolls have been filled and wrapped, place them on a baking sheet and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 20-30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for a few minutes. Unwrap and enjoy.
There was enough meat left for another 6 strombolis. It could easily be frozen and used another time. I used it in a bolognese sauce later in the week. Yum.
When the strombolis are unwrapped, the rolls will be crusty and crunchy on the outside and the filling is spicy and cheesy good. So easy, so good. If you have never had one, now is the time to try making these.
The West Side Nut Club sponsors THE Fall Festival in Evansville every year during the first full week of October. (Google it, it's so interesting) There are hundreds of food booths which all raise money for non profits. Thousands of people attend every year. One of the most popular booths year after year consistently is the Tau Kappa Epsilon Stromboli booth from the University of Southern Indiana. Everyone is willing to stand in line for some time just to snag a few of their delicious strombolis which are made this way. Many people go day after day during the week to eat these stroms because they just can't get enough. Now, you don't have to wait until the first week of October, or even have to go out to Pizza King to enjoy one of these fabulous sandwiches. Wait, what am I thinking? You may not have anywhere that makes this type stromboli. If you don't live in Indiana, if you don't have a Pizza King, you can now make your own extraordinary midwestern style stromboli. Now you will know what you have been missing all these years. Enjoy!
Things to Remember:
Every region of the country has their own food specialties that you grow accustomed to and love. This is one of ours. What is something you love from your area? donna