Pepperoni Stromboli

There’s a black and white photo hanging in our hallway, a family snapshot, of an anniversary party from the 1950’s. In it, my mother was a little girl in fancy dress, my grandparents smiling young parents, and my great-grandmother Anna and great-grandfather Gaetano in the center, married fifty years, stout, stern and proud. There were a lot of occasions like this in twentieth century Italian-America. Children of immigrants who went to war, or stayed home and went to work, while younger than I was when I graduated from college. They were newly married and setting up housekeeping, getting pregnant and learning to drive, writing letters to overseas sweethearts. My grandmother and her two sisters lived in a three-story house on Parallel Street when they were newlyweds with young children. They shared meals and a car and babysitting and cigarettes and hair curlers and pantyhose. They went out dancing with their husbands on Saturday nights. And on Sunday after Mass at St Patrick’s there would be a party at a hall, for Freddy and Angie Antidormi’s kid’s First Communion or a going away bash for Jimmy Beaks. There would be jugs of strong Paisano wine and a jazzy band in which my handsome Uncle Joe played drums. And, of course, there would have been food. Trays of ziti, eggplant, and chicken parm, sausage and peppers, pepperoni bread, and meatballs. I wasn’t there, mind you, since I wouldn’t be born for another twenty more years, but I bet the stromboli went a little something like this:

Pepperoni Stromboli


  • 1 1/4 cup warm water
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil, plus more for coating dough
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3-3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 8 oz thinly sliced pepperoni
  • 1 1/2 cups grated mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup shredded Asiago
  • Marinara sauce for dipping


In a large bowl, dissolve yeast into warm water. Stir in sugar and olive oil and let the mixture rest for 5 minutes. Add salt and using a wooden spoon incorporate 2 cups flour, about 25 strokes. Measure in the rest of the flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until the dough is no longer sticky. Knead until the dough feels supple and elastic. Rub the dough ball with olive oil and cover bowl with a damp cloth, letting it rest for at least an hour.

Fold the dough over on itself and let it rest another 10 minutes while you grate the cheeses and prepare a baking sheet with cornmeal. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a 12 x 14 inch rectangle. Arrange overlapping rows of pepperoni and sprinkle the cheese over the dough, leaving a 1-inch border. Tightly roll the dough, pinching the edges and tucking under the ends. Transfer to a baking sheet. Bake 35 minutes, then let the stromboli rest, 20 minutes. Slice and serve with marinara sauce.


Jillian Bedell

Jillian Bedell is a writer and mother living in a farmhouse in Cushing, Maine. She is very good at talking about herself in the third person. She is co-author of Eating in Maine: At Home, On the Town, and On the Road. She creates content on the internet, on subjects ranging from summer camps to semi-precious stones to the folklore of food. With Malcolm, Jillian was one of the original "Insiders," for the Visit Maine tourism campaign. She loves telling the stories of her adopted state, finding out-of-the-way places, and people making interesting things. Watching her daughters play in the wild woods and fields of Cushing makes her very happy.


  1. Oh, that looks fabulous. What a great name Gaetano. There is a man from Sicily who owns a pizza place one town over from me by that name. How in the world he ended up in small town southern Illinois I have no idea. He must pine for his home. He makes his sauce from scratch and I used to bug him for the recipe. He showed me that basil can be frozen straight from the garden, no blanching, no anything. Saved me from all night pesto sessions in late summer.

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