This is my spinach Stromboli, and it is tasty. To clarify some confusion, Stromboli and calzones are not the same thing. Both Stromboli and calzones are pizza derivatives. Both use either pizza dough or Italian bread dough (which involve similar ingredients) to achieve a similar goal: a small handhold pizza roll. The differences come from their origins, and how they are assembled and eaten. A Stromboli is named after the Italian island of Stromboli but the creation is Italian-American and believed to have originated in South Philadelphia. A Stromboli is typically a long cylinder-like shape that has been rolled (or tri-folded, as is the case here), and are often cut up and shared. Calzones, on the other hand, are 100% Italian deriving from Naples. Calzones are folded in-half into a crescent-shape, crimped and are ordinarily single-serving. Calzones also never have tomato sauce inside, but are often served with a dipping sauce.
My boys love pizza, and it was no surprise that this was a hit with them too. I did not make my own pizza dough, but you can. I used my favorite fresh, whole wheat dough and it worked perfectly. If you are interested in making your own dough, here is a link to a recipe I like. If I have time, I do make my own simple tomato sauce, but again, shortcuts are needed sometimes, a good quality store-bought sauce works just as well. If you use pre-made dough and sauce, this can actually be a quick meal on a busy night. Who does not love that?
- 1 16-ounce fresh whole wheat pizza dough (good quality store-bought is fine), room temperature
- 16-ounce fresh baby spinach
- 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 2 tablespoons Extra Virgin olive oil
- 1 cup tomato sauce (I use my simple tomato sauce recipe but a good pre-made sauce works as well)
- 8 ounces mozzarella cheese, grated
- 1 egg, for egg wash
- Step 1 Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Step 2 Place the pizza dough on a lightly floured work surface and using a rolling-pin, gently roll out into a 16/12-inch oval. Place on the prepared baking sheet and set aside.
- Step 3 Place a large stockpot of salted water over high heat and bring to a boil. Add the spinach and blanch to cook for about 1 minute. Drain well and using your hands, squeeze out the water as best as possible. Roughly chop the cooked spinach and place in a medium size mixing bowl. Add the basil, garlic, salt and red pepper flakes and olive oil, mix well to incorporate. Taste the filling and adjust the seasoning as needed.
- Step 4 To Assemble: Using a tablespoon, spread the tomato sauce over the rolled pizza dough leaving a 1-inch border on the longer sides and a two-inch border on the smaller sides. Sprinkle the grated cheese over the tomato sauce. Now evenly sprinkle the chopped spinach mixture over the cheese.
- Step 5 Using a pastry brush, lightly egg wash the dough border. Bring the smaller side edges of the dough up and over the filling slightly with your fingers, pinch the side seams together to adhere. Working from the longer side as if folding a letter, fold the dough up and over 1/3 of the filling. Repeat with the last side, folding up over the dough you already folded so all the filling is now enclosed. You should be left with a long rectangular shaped Stromboli. Using both hands, carefully flip the Stromboli so it is now seam-side down on the baking sheet.
- Step 6 Using a small paring knife, make 5 small slits in the dough on top. Lightly brush the Stromboli all over with egg wash. Place in the oven and bake, rotating the pan once, until browned and bubbling, about 35-40 minutes.
- Step 7 Remove the Stromboli from the oven and allow to cool slightly before slicing.