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Chef Walter’s Flavors + Knowledge: Meat & Cheese Calzone

Wednesday, December 12, 2018


Very often I am asked about the difference between calzone and Stromboli, two dough related products that appear similar but in essence little different from one another. Both calzones and Stromboli are pizza-base derivatives. They utilize the same ingredients to achieve different versions of a sealed, portable but clearly a distant cousin of pizza.

The major difference between a calzone and a Stromboli is how they are sealed. If you wanted a very straightforward comparison, here you go: a calzone is like a taco, and a Stromboli is like a burrito. Tacos and calzones are always folded. Burritos and Stromboli are always rolled. You seal a calzone by folding it in half and crimping the edges. You seal a Stromboli by rolling it in a spiral and folding some extra dough back over the Stromboli. Both get an egg wash to make sure the dough stays out. The different sealing techniques mean that calzones and Stromboli start as different shapes. When shaping dough for a calzone, you shape a circle. The folded circle creates a small half-circle. Calzones are generally single serving. When you shape dough to make a Stromboli, you shape an elongated rectangle.

The rectangle is rolled to create a long, skinny, cylindrical pizza cigar. Stromboli is meant to be sliced for multiple people. Another difference is where they come from. Calzones are legitimately, 100%-certified, Italian. They originated in Naples as a casual, standing-on-the-street way of eating pizza, and they vary in terms of ingredients and techniques in different regions in Italy. Stromboli is Italian-American. It originated in Philadelphia, from the depths of the Italian-heavy neighborhood of South Philly. It was named after the Italian Isle of Stromboli. On the Isle of Stromboli, there’s a giant volcano called Mt. Stromboli.

Serves 4


For the dough

1 cup plain strong all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting

¼ cup milk, warmed to body temperature

¼ cup water, warmed to body temperature

1 teaspoon dried yeast

2 tablespoons olive oil

Pinch salt

For the filling

6 cherry tomatoes, halved

7oz buffalo mozzarella, roughly chopped

8 oz assorted Italian cold meats (for example: salami, prosciutto, and speck)

1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and drained

2 tablespoons grated Parmesan


For the dough: sift the flour into a bowl. Mix the milk, water and yeast together in a separate bowl. Add the yeast mixture to the flour and mix together to form dough. Knead the dough for five minutes on a floured and even service. Add the olive oil and knead again to combine. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave somewhere warm for two hours. Preheat the oven to 400F. Place a baking tray into the oven to preheat. Add the salt to the dough and knead again, then divide the dough into four equal portions and roll into balls. Place each ball onto a floured work surface and roll out into 8 inch circles. For the filling, place all of the filling ingredients into a bowl and mix together well.

Place one quarter of the filling mixture onto one half of each dough circle, leaving a 1-inch gap around the edge. Brush the clean edges with water then fold the other side over to cover the filling and pinch the edges to seal the four parcels. Place the calzones onto the preheated baking sheet and transfer to the oven to bake for eight minutes, or until the dough is cooked through and the filling hot. Serve immediately.

Master Chef Walter Potenza is the owner of Potenza Ristorante in Cranston, Chef Walters Cooking, School and Chef Walters Fine Foods. His fields of expertise include Italian Regional Cooking, Historical Cooking from the Roman Empire to the Unification of Italy, Sephardic Jewish Italian Cooking, Terracotta Cooking, Diabetes and Celiac. Recipient of National and International accolades, awarded by the Italian Government as Ambassador of Italian Gastronomy in the World. Currently on ABC6 with Cooking Show “Eat Well." Check out the Chef's website and blog


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