I have a few very special food memories.
There was one point in my life, not horribly long ago, that I thought things were just about as good as they could be.
I had an incredible group of friends, an amazing family, and – as usual when you’re 15 and in high school – a cute guy I couldn’t stop thinking about.
All the kids from my youth group (including my crush) would hang out together all the time, watching movies and playing games. My friend Scott and his family opened up their house for us most of the time, and we always had the best food.
Scott’s dad would make his famous stromboli and his mom would always make some kind of homemade ice cream. Her cinnamon was my favorite. I still don’t know what she did to make it so delicious, but I haven’t had any ice cream that rivaled hers.
Years later, I’m trying my best to hold on to those memories. I know, at the time, I thought my life was so complicated and everything felt super dramatic, but it wasn’t. Life was easy then.
At that point, the biggest thing I had to think about was a test at school or whether my crush came to talk to me or whether or not I would remember how to make Mr. Willwerth’s stromboli. No bills, no full time job, no school loans. Things changed dramatically for us the next year and those nights with my friends were never exactly the same. But the food could always – and should always – be good.
I know this isn’t his exact recipe and I added a few of my own twists, but the smell of this baking in the oven was enough to bring back some of those memories; the laughs, the jokes, the tasty movie snacks.
Mr. Willwerth usually kept his stromboli basic: he used storebought bread dough, cheese, pepperoni, and a little Italian seasoning.
I made a batch of farmhouse bread dough a few weeks ago and decided to finally try to make my own stromboli. We filled ours with mozzarella, pepperoni, some of our slow roasted tomatoes, and the last of our fresh herbs.
It may not be exactly the same as Mr. Willwerth’s, but I think I got pretty close.
Pepperoni and Roasted Tomato Stromboli
Makes: 6-8 servings
- 1/2 recipe of Farmhouse Bread (the amount of bread dough you would use to make one loaf – you can make the recipe and freeze or refrigerate the other half)
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 4 oz. pepperoni (Applegate Farms is our favorite!)
- 1/2 cup roasted tomatoes or sundried tomatoes (packed in oil or rehydrated, if dried)
- 1 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped
- 1 Tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
- 1 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Roll out your bread dough into a long rectangle.
- Spread the shredded cheese down the middle, lengthwise, of the dough.
- Layer the pepperoni, tomatoes, and herbs on top of the cheese.
- Fold one half of the dough over the fillings, then fold the other half on top to close the dough. Pinch the ends together and the seam down the middle to make sure your fillings won’t fall out.
- Roll the dough over once or twice to make sure the seams are sealed.
- Place on a baking sheet, seam side down, and bake at 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until the top is golden brown.