How can you tell when a Stromboli is going to be knockout good? When the grease is flowing!
Follow my recipe and the very sight of the finished delicacy will be enough to convince you that this Stromboli has no competition. Top it off with my famous marinara sauce to make this the King Stromboli, and get ready to feast like royalty.
Understand that when I say the grease will be flowing, I mean it. So before you get started, make sure you have a large clean space to work with and plenty of paper towels to clean up as you go. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did when you’re done.
Before you start on the King, however, you’ll need to get your marinara sauce going. The longer the sauce is allowed to simmer, the longer the spices have to blend together and make your sauce hearty and full of flavor. I like to let my sauce sit on low heat for at least four hours, but as long as you stir every now and again and make sure to check that the heat is not burning the sauce, you can keep the sauce on all day if you like.
Sauce is one of those things that you have to play with over time. Every time you make it, try changing something about your formula. Whether it’s the brand of canned tomatoes you use or the ratio of spices, even the slightest change can yield an entirely different flavor.
As always, have fun with it!
But for now, if you want a sauce that is guaranteed to please, follow my lead:
- 1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes (For this particular batch, I used Tuttorosso brand tomato products, and they worked very well in the sauce.)
- 1 28 oz. can tomato puree
- 1 6 oz. can tomato paste
- ¼ medium yellow onion*
- Italian parsley flakes
- crushed red pepper
- bay leaves
- garlic powder
- white sugar
*Feel free to add more yellow onion to the sauce. When dealing with so many spices, I like to keep the onion to a minimum to get the sharp flavor of the onion without overwhelming the sauce as a whole.
**I did not include exact measurements for the spices because you are constantly tasting the sauce and adding as you see fit. I will, however, provide pictures of the approximate amount of each spice I used as seen in my hand.
1. In a large pot, combine crushed tomatoes, tomato puree and tomato paste. Mix well until the tomato products have combined into your base.
Place the pot over low heat. Give the tomato base about five minutes on its own over the heat, giving it at least one good stir along the way.
2. Once your base has a bit of heat to it, you can start adding your spices.
Let’s start with my personal fave: parsley!
I forgot to measure this out in my hand first, but this is about what I added for the first dose of parsley.
Later, I added this vague amount:
Crushed red pepper came next:
Now, bay leaves:
Don’t forget the oregano:
Add your garlic powder:
Give me some sugar, sugar (six spoonfuls, to be exact):
Now, duck and cover:
3. The only way to know if your sauce is on track is to taste it every hour or so.
The first time you taste it, after adding your spices, the sauce is probably going to be rather bitter and acidic; tomatoes are very acidic naturally, which is why we added so much sugar to the sauce – to cut down the acidity.
With the instructed amount of sugar, your sauce should balance out. However, if after two to three hours you notice that your sauce is still very acidic, add one or two more spoonfuls of sugar.
As I said before, sauce will change over time. Each time you taste it, you should notice something different as the flavor matures.
If you think there is something missing, try to pick out which spice is not standing out and add a second measure under your own discretion.
If you can’t quite tell which specific spice is missing, I find that adding more parsley never hurts and will usually help to balance your sauce over time.
The Stromboli takes 20 minutes to bake in the oven, but if you’re like me – messy, slow to chop onion and cursed with uncooperative pizza dough – preparing the Stromboli is going to take about half an hour, if not more… :/
Just make sure your timing when you make the Stromboli so that the King is finished and ready to be feasted upon at the same time that your sauce has had enough time to blend and develop.
Now, cue the royal trumpets!
Here’s what you’ll need to create your very own King Stromboli:
- 1 pizza dough*
- genoa salami, slices
- pepperoni, slices
- mild Italian sausage, crumbled**
- parmesan cheese, freshly grated
- asiago cheese, freshly grated
- 1 package shredded mozzarella cheese***
- extra-virgin olive oil
- parsley flakes
*I like to buy the uncooked pizza dough from my local Publix’s bakery. I think most grocery stores, if you don’t have a Publix, will carry dough in the bakery section; at the very least, you can always get premade dough in a package. If you do get the uncooked dough, be sure to follow the preparation instructions on the package. The Publix dough has to be taken out of the fridge for at least an hour before you can knead it out.
Unfortunately, I got my hands on dough with a lot of air in it, so it was rather difficult to work with. Usually, though I have a very easy time with Publix dough.
**These are just the meats I used for this particular King. I think it goes without saying that you are free to use whatever ingredients you like. Adding peppers, for example, would probably taste great!
If you so choose to use Italian sausage, be sure to brown the sausages on all sides on the stove first. The sausages should be partially cooked when you crumble them onto the Stromboli. The heat in the oven will do the rest.
***Whenever I have a choice between fresh Parmesan and packaged Parmesan, I always go for the fresh goodies. In this recipe, I chose to do the same with the asiago to really give the Stromboli a kick. I used the packaged mozzarella because I needed more cheese to balance the meat and the cheese bill was getting a little up there. Fresh mozzarella would certainly be better, so go for it if you want to be super fresh!
1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
2. On a floured surface, knead out your pizza dough. You want it to be able to fill a baking sheet, or about the size of a medium pizza. The idea is to be able to fold it over into a sort of pizza sandwich.
Coat a baking sheet with non-stick cooking spray, and place the pizza dough onto the baking sheet.
Bake the dough for about three minutes to give the dough a bit of firmness. This is going to make it easier to work with when it’s time to fold the King.
Remove the baking sheet from the oven.
3. Now, it’s time to build this beast!
Start with a light layer of your fabulous marinara sauce. Don’t use too much; you want just enough to give the Stromboli a kick and to make sure the dough doesn’t get dry.
Your next layer should be a healthy helping of the cheeses. Don’t use all of your cheese, though. There will be a second layer of everything later on.
On top of the cheese, layer your meats. I did pepperoni first, followed by genoa salami, followed by Italian sausage.
On top of the meat layer, add another layer of cheeses.
I made the King for a houseful of men, and when I asked my boyfriend if he wanted one or two layers of meat, the answer was really no big surprise.
With that said, my next layer was a second layer of all the meats. As tasty as the Stromboli was, I admit that I picked out some of my salami and pepperoni simply because towards the end of the meal, it was a little too much for me. The boys seemed more than happy with it, though!
If you’re a manly carnivore of epic proportions, pile that meat on! But if you’re like me – certainly a carnivore, but of a more human degree – you might want to stick with a one layer of meat.
Whatever you choose, top the whole thing off with another thin layer of sauce, and carefully fold the dough in half. Pinch the ends together to keep your goodies from falling out, leaving the ends open.
[It may not look pretty, but the King tastes better then the fanciest dang Stromboli alive!]
4. The King Stromboli is not quite ready yet, though!
In a microwave safe bowl, mix about 1 tablespoon butter, extra-virgin olive oil and parsley flakes. Microwave for about 20 seconds or until the butter is melted. Give the mixture a good stir.
Using a basting brush, brush the butter mixture over the entire top of the Stromboli. This is going to give the dough a nice golden color as well as a little bit of extra flavor.
Be aware that olive oil has a low smoke point, so be careful when you open the oven later to check on or remove the Stromboli.
5. Bake the Stromboli in the oven for 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes, the crust should be a light golden color, and melted cheese and grease should be visible at the ends or even spewing temptingly from the masterpiece.
Carefully remove the King from its steamy throne, and cut it down the middle to ensure that it is fully cooked.
Serve alongside a small bowl of marinara sauce for dipping, and dig in!
This really is a meal fit for a king!