Pepperoni and Roasted Tomato Stromboli

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


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Roll out your bread dough into a long rectangle.
  3. Spread the shredded cheese down the middle, lengthwise, of the dough.
  4. Layer the pepperoni, tomatoes, and herbs on top of the cheese.
  5. 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.
  6. Roll the dough over once or twice to make sure the seams are sealed.
  7. Place on a baking sheet, seam side down, and bake at 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until the top is golden brown.



  1. I usually make this for parties and its always a hit! Yours looks cooked perfectly. Its hard to get that dough just right

  2. Sending prayers out to the whole Virginia Tech community…sorry that you have to re-live some bad memories :( *hugs* But isn’t it great that we can use food to bring back some great memories? This looks awesome, love the fresh herbs.
    Oh…and *more hugs* :)

  3. Building new memories from the shadows of old ones — even food-related ones — is part of the beauty of life and living. We make things our own, and they become a part of us, just as your friends are a part of you, just as Mr. Willwerth’s stromboli. And now you give it to someone else, pass it on.

    Beautiful. And delicious.

  4. Dear. Goodness. Sakes. Alive. I. Want.

  5. Sorry to read about the loss of your friends. Car accidents are horrible.
    My Dad was killed in an accident about 18 months ago, and I have yet to drive down that road. I just can’t do it.

  6. sounds delicious :) and if it’s good enough to bring back all those good memories, then that’s what counts!!

  7. This looks really good and perfect for am party. Today is the first time I read the post about your friend and his mom and I am very sorry. Hugs going your way.

  8. That sounds wonderful. I did something similar with pizza dough, pepperoni, mozzarella, and sauce last week for a quick dinner. I would have loved the roasted tomatoes in yours.

  9. Anything involving carbs and cheese is right up my alley.

  10. stromboli looks good. i’m a vegetarian, so I may have to a pack it with tofurky or something but it sounds like a good meal

  11. Brandi, what a beautiful tribute to our family. I must admit I have a few tears spilling from my eyes as I remember those days that seemed simpler, even to me, and the fun, friendship, and fellowship we shared. As happens in life, things did change but we always have our memories. I made that cinnamon ice cream for my friends in Louisiana recently and they loved it. One person suggested I develop an apple pie ice cream recipe. You’ve become so good in the kitchen, maybe you can do that for me. I’ll e-mail you the cinnamon ice cream recipe and you can start from there. I cherish my memories and I still cherish my friendship with the Dilday family and all the kids in the PRCC youth group of the past. I love you guys.

  12. Seeing how this is such an important Willwerth recipe, and I am now a Willwerth (Hi! Im Scot Willwerth’s wife :) he he ) I will have to make sure to start making this. I will be inviting friends and some day our children’s friends over to keep the tradition going!!
    PS. Scot’s mom sent me this link to show to Scot and he loved the article! he also says hello :)
    Happy Holidays!
    Allie Willwerth

  13. I’m suddenly really, really hungry. This seriously looks amazing!! I LOVE food that brings back good childhood memories :)

  14. I love stromboli! There is just something so comforting about eating bite after bite of meat and cheese-stuffed dough dipped in warm marinara. Mmmmm…. :-D

  15. That looks so amazing. The recipe looks so easy to follow as well. I like the step by step instructions that you have included as well. I wonder if it would turn out if you were to put canadian bacon and bacon bits in there as well? Thank you for sharing the awesome recipe.

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