Oh. My. GOD!! You’ll think you died and went to heaven.
If you love cheesesteaks and/or Italian food and/or any situation that involves meat and cheese, you will fall in love with this insanely delicious, insanely EASY Cheesesteak Stromboli.
So post-college, I lived about 45 minutes outside of Philly, in a little town between Trenton and Princeton. My proximity to Philly allowed for easy access to cheesesteaks – I could drive 5 minutes in any direction, order a cheesesteak to-go, and be back on my couch chomping on cheesesteak 15 minutes after the thought “cheesesteak” first entered my brain.
I just wanted to say that again.
Anyway, there was this Italian joint less than a mile from my condo, and I swear to God they had (still have) the best Italian food in Central Jerz. And they had this thing on their menu – Cheesesteak Stromboli.
Just imagine me as a cartoon, doing that overly cartoonish double or even triple-take with eyes popping out of my skull and tongue hanging out of my mouth.
I was HOOKED immediately. Like crack addiction hooked.
Effing BRILLIANT, I thought to myself. Turning the classic cheesesteak into a Stromboli and serving it with marinara? It immediately became one of my fave things of all time.
And at the time (and ever since), I’d just assumed this was the happily ever after story of a collision of NYC & Philly cultures – a Cheesesteak & Stromboli match made in heaven.
I believed that dream until yesterday!
I mean, it’s still a happily ever after story, but I came across an article that informed me that the Stromboli was actually invented in Philly!
Awww, two nice kids from Philly ended up together and lived the American Dream!
So there you have it. Unless this old man is full of shit…
I never did find out who made the first Cheesesteak Stromboli, or where they first started popping up, but whatevs. It doesn’t matter who invented it. What matters is that I shut the F up and tell you how to make it.
FYI, My peeps have an old family cheat recipe for Stromboli. You can certainly make your own dough if you want, but ain’t nobody got time for that! Especially Haters. So I hope my fam doesn’t mind the share – Everyone deserves to enjoy this slice of Heaven 😊
1 loaf frozen frozen bread*/**
1 pkg Steak-umms (or similar)
10ish ounces sliced mozzarella
2 egg yolks
Green peppers & onions (Optional, and I opt OUT because I’m allergic to peppers, and also because it adds another step because you have to saute them first, so F that…)
Marinara (MANDATORY. If you don’t eat this with marinara, you’re a monster. You don’t have to make your own marinara, but definitely don’t forget to buy a jar at the store. My marinara recipe http://thecursinggourmet.com/perfect-marinara/ is the shit though. If I were you, I’d just make a big batch, freeze most of it, and dip this insanely delish goodness into that insanely delish marinara.)
*So there might only be one option in the freezer aisle for this kind of bread – and they’re tough to find! You’ll be staring at the frozen breads for a few minutes and still not see it. If a store employee is nearby, just ask. Some stores might not have this at all, but most well-stocked supermarkets will. Same with Steak-umms. Steak-umms is probably the only option, maybe one other generic, and it’s in the frozen meats section of the freezer aisles.
**You needing a rolling pin to make this. (Side note: Someone gave me a rolling pin and some other baking stuff for my bridal shower. I was super appreciative of every single gift everyone was thoughtful and generous enough to give me. But I looked at the rolling pin, laughed to myself, and thought “That’s cute.” I may have evolved into a decent cook, but I ain’t tryin ta bake. Especially at this altitude. I only dust off the rolling pin to make Stromboli. So if you don’t have one, I recommend some kind of can-of-pillsbury solution to your problem. I can’t vouch for the outcome, but I’m sure it’ll still be pretty dank.)
First thing’s first: Ya gotta let that bread rise according to whatever directions the package says. Mine said 4-7 hours and required a loaf pan, cooking spray, and a piece of plastic wrap. (So yeah, when I said “ain’t nobody got time for that” in reference to making your own dough, I kinda lied. This method will take a long time, just not much active time. Good weekend meal 😉)
But once that dough is ready to go, you can get this meal into the oven pretty damn quick… Steak-umms cook fast, so don’t get turned off by the idea of cooking before you have to cook the Strombolis themselves.
Anyway, when you’re in Philly proper and get a proper cheesesteak, they make ‘em on these huge flat metal grills. Foot-high piles of meat sizzling on the edge, the cooks scoop off a sandwich-size chunk o’ meat and cook/flip/chop it with these two big metal spatulas just before topping it with onions & peppers, and then the cheese of course.
I do not have one of these grills in my kitchen and prefer not to F up the Teflon in my frying pan by waiting until the cooking stage to chop up the meat.
So here’s how I do: While the meat is still frozen, I cut it in half and then in strips, like this:
This meat is so thin it defrosts in minutes, so you don’t have to wait to get started. I turn the burner to medium heat and spray my pan with cooking spray cause it’s a little scratched up and I don’t want the meat to stick.
Trow in the meat when the pan is heated up and SALT THE MEAT. A LOT. Like twice as much salt than you think is necessary. (Unless you got some generic steak-umms that have a lot of salt already. Real Steak-umms have almost no salt at all.)
Stir and flip the meat around a couple times until it’s brown. Take the pan off the burner (just put it on a cool burner for now.)
Now preheat your oven to 350.
While that’s warming up, slice your mozz pretty thin, or if you have pre-sliced mozz, good for you.
Beat together 2 egg yolks and about a tablespoon of EVOO and set aside.
Now work on that dough. Flour a surface AND the rolling pin (I use a cookie sheet as my surface.)
Cut the dough in half with a long sharp knife, and then roll out the first half. You want it to be rectangle-ish, at least a foot wide by 15-18” long.
Now pile half of your meat onto 2/3 of the rectangle, then top with half of the mozz.
Next you fold the bare third of the dough over the middle third, and then the final third on top of that. Pinch and/or roll under all three edges of the top layer of dough to the bottom layer.
Place on a greased or sprayed cookie sheet, and repeat the process with the other ball of dough.
Finally brush the tops of the two Strombolis with the egg yolk mixture, and then pop ‘em in the oven.
They’ll take about 20 minutes – When the tops are browned, they’re good to go.
And in the meantime, heat up a little marinara on the stovetop.
Try to let the Strombolis cool off for a few minutes once they’re done baking, if you can stand to wait that long.
Serve with marinara and welcome to Heaven 😉
Servings: This makes 2 Strombolis, which feeds 3-4 adults or 2 adults with BIG appetites.
Time involved: When you include the time it takes to rise the dough, this could take 7-8 hours. But once the dough is ready to go, we’re talking about 30-35 minutes, most of which is baking time.
Props Note: Gotta give props to “Aunt” Josie for the Stromboli dough shortcut. Or was it Aunt Mary who modified the recipe long ago from Josie’s original Stromboli recipe? Either way, props to both of you ladies, YOU BOTH ROCK!!
Weight-conscious Note: There is this little-remembered time in my early 20s when I got “fat.” I gained 20-25 pounds in about a year. Which on my scrawny ass was VERY noticeable to people who knew me.
(Some people don’t believe this ever actually happened, but Kerry has the photo evidence of my “fat” face and “chubby” arms somewhere in her crate of old college pics. And I’m sure my Mom remembers the two consecutive Girls’ Weekends (annual family/friends girls’ getaway to LBI & AC every September): the first when my jeans were literally falling off me, the next when I happened to wear the same jeans and my booty was busting them at the seams.)
I only bring this up because I was eating foot-long cheesesteaks once a week for lunch. I was eating plenty of other fatty crap too, but consider yourself warned. Cheesesteak Stromboli is a once-in-a-while treat, not a once-a-week standard. Unless you’re looking to cultivate some mass like Mac, of course 😉