My sister-in-law, Debbie who is an amazing cook, shared this recipe with me many years ago. Since a whole Stromboli is more than the two of us can eat in one sitting, I like to make it as an appetizer to share with a group. The filling ingredients can vary according to what you’re in the mood for (and what you have on hand). I’ve included some other filling possibilities after the recipe. I made the Stromboli in the photos while we were at the North Georgia house, and these were the ingredients I had on hand at that time.
Frozen yeasted bread dough (I use Bridgeford brand, per Debbie)
1 or 2 10-ounce boxes of frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained and squeezed dry
2 or 3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 2.25-ounce cans of sliced black olives, drained
About 6 slices of deli ham
About 4 slices of Monterey Jack cheese
Salt and pepper as needed
Olive oil as needed
1 egg for egg wash (optional)
1 tablespoon water, milk or cream for egg wash (optional)
Place a frozen bread dough on a cookie sheet. Oil generously with olive oil. Set it aside to defrost and rise. (This will take about 4 to 6 hours, depending on the temperature of your kitchen.) There are alternate faster ways to defrost the bread dough, if you are in a hurry. When the dough is completely defrosted, stretch it out and shape it into a rectangle.
Squeeze as much moisture out of the spinach as possible. Measure 1 or 2 tablespoons of olive oil into a sauté pan on medium heat. Add the minced garlic and cook until fragrant, about a minute. Add the spinach and sauté for a few minutes to cook out any residual moisture. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spread the spinach mixture evenly on the rectangle of bread dough, leaving a small uncovered border around the edges for sealing.
Spread the drained sliced olives evenly on top of the spinach mixture.
Arrange the deli ham and the cheese on top.
Starting at one of the small ends, begin rolling up the dough toward the other small end, jellyroll fashion. Make sure the seam is on the bottom. Rotate the Stromboli 90°.
Optional egg wash: in a small bowl or cup, beat together the egg and 1 tablespoon of water or milk. Brush this all over the Stromboli just before it goes in the oven. Bake at 375° for about 30 minutes. To check for doneness, remove the Stromboli from the oven and gently lift one side with a spatula to see if the bottom is done. Let the Stromboli rest for at least 5 minutes before slicing.
Other Filling Possibilities
When considering fillings, remember that whatever you put in the Stromboli needs to be already cooked. The 30 or so minutes of baking in the oven is just to bake the bread. It’s not enough time to cook something like raw ground meat. Ground meat or Italian sausage make excellent fillings, but should be sautéd. You might want to add some chopped onions and/or peppers and a sprinkle of Italian seasoning (and salt) to this sauté.
Cooked ground beef or sausage, as described above
Sautéd onions, peppers and/or eggplant
Sautéd sliced mushrooms
Pepper jack cheese (spicy!)
Fresh basil leaves, chopped
I’m sure you’ll come up with many more ideas. Enjoy!