Cousins on the Pizza Family Tree
There are lots of pizza relatives trying to make a name for themselves to keep up with their famous cousin. Calzones and Strombolis are two who bear a striking family resemblance. Some people think they are identical twins, but there are specific ways to tell the two apart.
Calzones Are Large Turnovers
A calzone is made with the same traditional (or trendy) ingredients as the pizza pie. The crust dough is formed into a round shape, the other ingredients are layered atop one half of the dough, and the other dough half is folded over to form a large turnover, which looks like a half-moon.
Calzones are natives of Naples, Italy, just like their famous pizza cousin. The Italian word "calzone" translates to pant leg or stocking.
Strombolis Are Large Stuffed Subs
Strombolis are also made with ingredients similar to pizza. The crust dough is formed into a round shape, the rest of the ingredients are scattered down the center or across the entire dough, after which the whole thing is rolled up from one side to the other, into an oblong shape that resembles a submarine or large, chubby cigar.
The only "Stromboli" you'll likely find in Italy is an actual island of that name off the north coast of Sicily. Food historians maintain that the edible Stromboli was born in Philadelphia in 1950, the creation of Nazzareno Romano, proprietor of Romano's Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria.
Interesting Imposters & Interpretations
Operators are finding lots of ways to capitalize on pizza's popularity without installing wood- burning ovens or perfecting the overhead dough toss. A little creativity can transform readily available products into instant pizza crusts. For example, try these ideas:
- FLATBREADS are available in an assortment of on-trend flavors, and make an excellent, convenient pizza base for your customers' favorite toppings.
- FLOUR AND CORN TORTILLAS topped with hot peppers, black beans, shredded meat and Mexican-style cheeses deliver a quick Tex-Mex pizza option.
- PITA BREAD is the perfect base for a Middle Eastern interpretation.
- LAVOSH/CRACKER BREAD provides an instant wafer-thin crust.
- BAGELS sliced horizontally make a hearty, sturdy base for appetizer pizzas or small-plate offerings.
- PUFF PASTRY is an impressive, upscale carrier for savory or sweet pizzas.
- PANCAKES/WAFFLES are a great base for breakfast pizza.
- GIANT SUGAR COOKIES smothered with Nutella and sprinkled with chopped nuts, crushed candy bars, shredded coconut and other goodies make a tempting dessert pizza.