Our friends Kendra and Mike are what Abby would call “good cookers.” Mike’s a legit restaurant guy, and Kendra is an all-around enthusiast, with excellent taste, who happens to know her way around a kitchen. In other words, they can be trusted. A couple of weeks ago, Kendra poked her head into my office and said, “You know what you gotta make for the girls?”
“Laser-cut paper doll dioramas of unicorns frolicking in shimmering fields of goldenrod?” I said.
“No, dude. Stromboli. Mike and I made one this weekend, and it was insane.”
Stromboli? Here’s what I knew about Stromboli: Nothing. Or, that’s not quite true. I had a vague sense it was something I shoveled into my mouth a few times in college, at 2am, after several bottles of Golden Anniversary beer. I think. The point is, it was not what you would call a “mindful” eating experience. (I think I also remember tipping my head back and drinking the cup of marinara dipping sauce it came with; hey, I was hungry!) But last week, Stromboli and I got to know each other a little more deeply. I made one to eat — at halftime; that’s how quick and easy it is — while we sat on the couch and watched the NFL playoffs. The kids could not have cared less about the game, but the Stromboli won in a rout. After cleaning her plate, Abby declared: “That’s the best thing you’ve ever made all year.” If I were a betting man, I’d put a lot of money on this happening again for the Super Bowl. — Andy
Step One: Spread 16-ounce dough (leave it out on the counter for an hour, to make it easier to work with; you can also, obviously, use homemade) on cookie sheet rubbed with olive oil; get it as far into the corners as possible.
Step Two: Sauce it up, almost to the edges. If you have homemade pizza sauce, awesome (homemade: mix together 1/3 cup olive oil, 1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes, one pressed garlic clove and let flavors meld for as long as you’ve got). But honestly, a good storebought, like Don Pepino, is fine, too.
Step Three: Sprinkle on some fresh basil and dried oregano…
Step Four: Add your meat (skip if you’re going veg), and onions. At this point, I threatened to add roasted red peppers, but Jenny shot that down.
Step Five: Add spinach (thawed, squeezed, no trace of liquid) or kale or whatever vegetable you want and shredded mozz.
Step Six: Add a few dollops of fresh ricotta (optional, this is about 8-10 ounces, but you decide what’s right for you!) and some grated parm (about 1/3 cup) if you want and red pepper flakes.
Step Seven: Very carefully (so as not to tear the dough), roll the dough up like a giant joint. Brush the top with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt.
Step Eight: Put into 350°F oven for 45 minutes to an hour, or until golden brown. Brush again with oil in the last five min. Slice into 1 1/2 inch thick pieces and serve.
Photo updated: November 2022