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Italian Showdown: Calzone vs Stromboli

  • 4 min read

Ciao, food enthusiasts! Foodie Mike here, and today we’re embarking on an Italian culinary journey to answer a long-standing question that has befuddled many: what’s the difference between a calzone and a stromboli?

An Introduction: Calzone and Stromboli

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, let’s cover the basics. Both calzones and strombolis are beloved creations of Italian cuisine, featuring the alluring combination of dough, cheese, and an assortment of potential fillings. But despite their similarities, these two dishes are not identical twins in the Italian food family.

Understanding the Calzone

Calzone, which translates to “pants leg” or “trouser” in Italian, hails from Naples, the city also considered the birthplace of pizza. It’s essentially a pizza folded in half before baking, creating a stuffed half-moon shape. The dough encases typical pizza ingredients, such as mozzarella, ricotta, ham, or various vegetables. Once baked, it’s served with marinara sauce on the side or drizzled on top.

The Stromboli Story

Stromboli, on the other hand, is a rolled and filled bread named after the Italian island of Stromboli. Despite its Italian name, this dish was actually created in the United States by Italian immigrants. A stromboli is filled with various Italian cheeses and cold cuts, then rolled into a cylindrical shape and baked. Unlike a calzone, the sauce is typically served on the inside, but you can find it on the side in some variations.

Pizza Dough: A Common Denominator

The base for both calzones and strombolis is pizza dough. This lends a light, crisp exterior to these dishes once baked. In the case of the calzone, the dough is folded over the fillings like a turnover, while the stromboli is rolled up with its fillings, creating a spiral pattern when sliced.

Cheese in Italian Recipes: Mozzarella and More

The choice of cheese can also add distinction. Mozzarella is common in both, but calzones often include ricotta for a creamier texture. Strombolis, meanwhile, might feature a variety of Italian cheeses, adding layers of flavor to each bite.

Toppings and Fillings: Customize Your Experience

What goes inside a calzone or stromboli is where things get truly exciting. Traditional calzones stick to a few ingredients – typically one or two types of cheese and a protein like ham. Strombolis, however, are often packed with a variety of Italian cold cuts, such as salami, capicola, and bresaola, along with the cheese and sometimes even vegetables.

Cooking Techniques: Baking Italian Goods

The cooking methods for these dishes are fairly similar, with both being baked in an oven until golden and crisp. However, calzones tend to be larger and thicker, often requiring a slightly longer cooking time than the generally thinner and smaller strombolis.

Serving Suggestions: To Dip or Not to Dip

Finally, let’s talk about how these delicious stuffed breads are served. Calzones are traditionally served with marinara sauce on the side for dipping or spooning over the top. Strombolis, on the other hand, usually have their sauce baked in, but that’s not a hard and fast rule, and some versions come with a side of sauce as well.

The Verdict: Differences and Similarities

So, there you have it, my fellow food enthusiasts! While calzones and strombolis might look similar at first glance, these Italian treats have distinct characteristics that set them apart. Whether you’re a fan of the folded delight that is the calzone, or you prefer the rolled goodness of a stromboli, one thing is certain – you’re in for a delicious treat!

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