A good thing: Stromboli with Pesto and Sundried Tomatoes

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stromboli before baking

We eat a lot of pizza around here. I’d say it makes an appearance slightly more often than once a week- maybe once every 6 days? My go-to dough recipe is so quick to put together that it’s become a bit of a fallback. Even if there’s nothing more than a ball of mozzarella in the fridge and some passata in the cupboard, we can still manage to rustle up a pretty good pie.

Of course, this same-old, same-old approach can get a bit boring, no matter how delicious it is. So I try to experiment when I can, with new crust recipes, new sauces and different topping combinations. I love a good white pizza, with a base of olive oil and ricotta, topped with greens or caramelised onions. When my parents visited in May, we made a great pizza with fresh asparagus and goat’s cheese. Once, I even made the Roman staple of potato-topped pizza (sweet carbs, how I love you).

Despite these delicious variations, my boyfriend still likes his pizza the old fashioned way: some combination of tomato, basil and mozzarella. Other elements are also welcome, but those three ingredients must inevitably be present for any pizza to be deemed an all-out success in our household. The first time I ever made pizza at home, it was with a tomato sauce base, some fresh mozzarella and a pesto drizzle. I think it’s the ghost of this pizza that makes him a touch resistant to change. After all, if it’s not broke, why fix it?


So, if I’m frequently constricted to the ingredients of a classic Margherita, I may as well play with the shape, right? I’ve tried them all- thin and crispy, deep dish, calzone, Spinelli. Until I came across this post over at The English Kitchen, though, I’d never even heard of a stromboli. A bit of research taught me that this American rolled pizza is usually oblong in shape, but I loved the fanned-out wreath shape of Marie‘s.

I decided not to adapt her recipe much, either. The combination of fresh pesto and sundried tomatoes is a favourite of mine and one that makes a great weekend lunch. I added a touch of tomato paste for some extra sweetness and moisture but left it at that. The dough is adapted from a recipe in The Family Bread Book, which I was testing for Kitchlit.

This turned out really well. Whether it was the dough or the balance of flavours or both, Andrew and I both loved it. I say below that is feeds four as a main, but that might be pushing it. The truth is, we ate the entire thing, and I can’t say either of us regretted it. Which just goes to show, you can never really have too much of a good thing.


Stromboli with Pesto and Sundried Tomatoes

serves 8 as a snack, or 4 as a main

Dough adapted from The New Family Bread Book by Ursula Ferrigno, filling from The English Kitchen


  • 250g plain white flour
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. caster sugar
  • 1 tsp. instant (easy-blend) yeast
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 100ml warm water


  • 1 Tbs. tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup pesto
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
  • 100g ball of mozzarella, torn into small pieces
  • 1 egg, beaten
  1.  To make the dough, mix the flour, salt, sugar and yeast together in a large bowl. Drizzle in the olive oil, then pour in about half the water. Using a wooden spoon or a dough whisk, mix, adding more water as necessary, until you have a shaggy dough. It should be easily come together, but not be too wet to the touch.
  2.  Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 8-10 minutes. You may need to add flour to the surface as you go, to keep the dough from sticking. Shape the dough into a ball, lightly coat with olive oil and place it into a bowl. Cover with clingfilm or a damp tea towel and leave to rise for one hour.
  3.  Knock back the dough by punching it gently in the bowl once or twice. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead for another 5-8 minutes. Shape into a ball, coat with oil and return to the bowl (covered) to rise for another hour.
  4.  Preheat your oven to 200°C/400°C. Line a baking sheet with parchment and set aside.
  5.  Knock back the dough again, and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll it into a rough rectangle of about 1/4″ thick, about 10″ X 16″.
  6.  Thinly spread the tomato paste over the surface of the dough, within 1″ of the sides. Follow with the pesto, and then scatter the sundried tomatoes and torn mozzarella on top.
  7.  Starting at the side nearest you, roll the dough tightly into a tube. Place onto the baking sheet and shape it into a circle, fitting one end inside the other. With a knife, slash through all but the bottom later of dough. Gently stretch and fan each piece outward.
  8.  With a pastry brush, brush all visible dough with some of the beaten egg. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is bubbling. Let sit for 5 minutes before serving.

9 Responses

  1. Wow, this looks so edible. Does she include a picture of this recipe in the cookbook? I seem to remember a similar photo that would taunt me whenever I opened the book, but it looked so effort-ful that I could never bring myself to make it. Now that I see your success, I think I’ll have to.

  2. Hil, only the dough is adapted from the book, it’s her “Quick-rise Pizza Dough” Not really very quick with 2 one-hour rises, but anyway…
    The filling/idea for Stromboli came from another blog.

  3. OOooooooh that looks outstanding!! The photograph is gorgeous. I feel like if only I could just reach THROUGH the screen, I could grab one of those yummy pieces! This recipe is getting saved 🙂 Thanks!

  4. I love stromboli but I have not had it in years and I never thought to make it myself. This is going on my list of ‘to make recipes’ right away!!

  5. Rose, Elizabeth- thanks! I’m actually not crazy about the photos on this post, I was in a bit of a rush when taking them, to catch the last of the daylight;) If you think it looks good, rest assured it tastes even better!
    Megan- I hadn’t even heard of stromboli until I made this! I was interested to read that it originates from the States, and not Italy. I will definitely be making it again, though. It was so easy, and it appears, a real crowd-pleaser!

  6. this looks amazing… it seems that every time i try to make a pizza dough though, it comes out too chewy, or too much lack of any flavor at all… you think it’s just the recipe?

  7. Hi Peggy, it might be your recipe. I really like my pizza dough to have a lot of flavour, so I like a mix of white flour, whole wheat flour and cornmeal in my dough. I know whole wheat isn’t to everyone’s taste, but the cornmeal is a great addition. You could try subbing 1/2 cup of white flour for cornmeal; it adds a lovely flavour and crunch.
    As for the chewiness, it’s difficult to say. One thing that makes a huge difference in the texture of a pizza dough is using a pizza stone- do you have one? I don’t (nowhere to keep it in my teeny kitchen), but I wish I did. It keeps the bottom nice and crispy, like an authentic Italian pizza.

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