Friday, January 29, 2021


I am a great believer in minimalism, and I feel that is often reflected in the way I cook, bake, and create recipes. To me, the beauty and charm of the old-fashioned, traditional recipes will always lie in as few, but as best as possible ingredients and the effortlessness of the preparation.
Humble dough, delicious savoury filling, and a good amount of extra virgin olive oil; what more could one want. A few slices of rich smoked Pancetta, a few handfuls of Provolone, and a big spoonful of tomato passata. Simplicity in its most wonderful form. There is such an immense beauty in enjoying a simple, flavourful meal with a glass of red wine.
The slow, overnight rise gives this stromboli not only a unique flavour depth, but a great convenience, too, because it requires very little work, yet gives much flexibility when it comes to baking. Not lavish, not flamboyant, but wholesome, rustic, and homemade. Just like comfort food should be.

For the dough
300 grams plain flour
175 millilitres warm water
30 millilitres light olive oil
3 grams instant yeast
15 grams granulated sugar
5 grams salt
For the filling
100 grams smoked Pancetta, sliced thinly
200 grams Provolone cheese, coarsely grated
50 grams tomato passata
For the glaze
50 millilitres extra virgin olive oil
30 millilitres cold water

To make the dough, sift the flour into a medium bowl, add in the salt, and whisk lightly. Make a well in the very centre, and pour in the water and oil. Sprinkle the yeast and sugar into the water, and mix with a wooden spoon until a somewhat sticky dough comes together. It should be ever so slightly sticky, but manageable. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it for a minute or two, until springy and supple. Return it to the bowl, cover, and let it rest for about 30 minutes. In the meantime, coarsely grate the cheese, and prepare the rest of the filling ingredients.
After about 30 minutes, the dough should be rested and even softer. Turn it out onto a floured surface again, and gently press it out with your hands, until a rough rectangle shape forms. Roll the dough out into a neater rectangle that is about 5 millimetres thick. Brush the tomato passata over the dough, making sure you leave one of the sides without any filling, to seal it more easily. Spread the cheese evenly all over the passata, and finally, arrange the Pancetta slices over it.
Gently start rolling up the dough starting from one side, towards the free edge. Pinch the seal tightly, and place the roll, seam side down, on a large baking sheet lined with baking parchment. Cover the dough with cling film, but make sure there is room for it to expand, and place it into the refrigerator for about 12 hours.
After the dough has risen, take it out of the refrigerator, generously brush it with the glaze, and let it rise for about 30 minutes at room temperature. Bake in a preheated oven, at 200°C, for about 20 minutes, until golden and fragrant. Check it often, so it does not overbake. Once baked, brush it with any remaining glaze, and serve. Yields 6 servings.