Moving abroad had open my horizons and I discovered Italian recipes that don’t exist in Italy.
Since then I tasted garlic bread, spaghetti and meatballs, pasta alfredo and many more dishes that are the results of Italian emigrants adapting their recipes to the customs of the country the moved to.
As my neighbour give me a bowl full of amazing homegrown tomatoes, I decided to make this amazing bread to accompany a simple tomato salad and some baked feta.
To bake the feta it’s very easy, just cut it in cubes, drizzle with olive oil and oregano and bake at 220C until golden brown on the top.
This bread quickly becomes a staple in our family and you can change the filling to follow your taste or to pair the meal you are preparing. I often add olives or cured meat like prosciutto crudo, ham and sundried tomatoes work well too in this bread, just be careful that whatever filling you are using is not too oily.
Our favourite filling is cheese and basil and it’s the perfect accompaniment to a salad or a soup for a light lunch. It works very well also with a sharing platter of cheese, crudites and cured meats.
It’s important though that you don’t use fresh mozzarella as it will release too much moisture while baking, it’s better to use mozzarella for pizza or grated mozzarella.
This bread is an Italo-American invention and derived from many varieties of filled bread and savoury pies that are always popular all over Italy.
I always thought this bread was named after the volcanic island near Sicily of Stromboli but actually, it was named after the homonym 1950s Rossellini’s movie.
You can find the recipe below.
Mozzarella & basil stromboli
- 400 g strong white flour, plus extra for dusting
- 5 g of fast-action dried yeast
- ½ tsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 250 g mozzarella for pizza or grated
- fresh basil leaves
- To make the dough, put the flour into a large bowl, stir in the yeast and the sugar. Add 250 ml of water, the salt and 1 tbsp of oil and mix with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together and forms a soft, spongy ball.
- Transfer the dough on the surface and knead it for five minutes until smooth.
- Place the dough into a bowl, cover with cling film and leave it for about 1 hour to prove.
- Roll out the dough, on a lightly floured surface, into a rectangle.
- Lay the mozzarella over the dough, leaving a 1cm border around the edge, then scatter the basil leaves on top.
- Tuck in the two short ends and roll the stromboli up firmly to enclose the filling. Place it on a large baking sheet lined with baking parchment and leave to rise for 15 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 200C/Gas 6.
- Brush the remaining oil over the dough, and bake the stromboli for about 30 minutes until well risen and golden brown.