Stromboli and Pesto Pasta–Young Chefs, Day Three


Day three of Young Chefs was Italian Day!  We made Stromboli and Pesto Pasta with basil from my garden.

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It was fun telling the children stories of the experiences our family had living in Italy, especially when I described to them elementary school lunches—3 courses served to the bambini on linen-covered tables by smiling lunch ladies!  “Parmesiano? Si!”

Our menu today in Young Chef’s was taken directly from one of those lunches. The kids loved rolling out the dough for the Stromboli, arranging the topping and rolling it up. They eagerly watched me whirl the basil in the food processor with the garlic and olive oil.  Many of the children had already eaten pesto at home, although there were a few that were skeptical.  NO ONE was hesitant about the Stromboli!

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Since many of the kids wanted to make these recipes for dinner (well, maybe not tonight’s dinner!), here they are:

Stromboli

1 pound Pizza Dough

¼ cup finely grated Parmesan Cheese

3 ounces thinly sliced pepperoni (about 12 slices)

4 ounces thinly sliced provolone (about 12 slices)

2/3 cup jarred roasted bell peppers, rinsed and chopped (we did not use this in class)

1 egg, lightly beaten (we did not use this in class–but it will brown your Stromboli nicely!)

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2.  Cut dough into 4 quarters. Roll out 1 piece into a 10-inch round on a lightly floured surface.

3.  Sprinkle dough evenly with 1 Tablespoon Parmesan cheese.

4.  Arrange one fourth each of pepperoni, provolone, and roasted peppers in an even layer over dough.

5.  Roll up dough round, then tuck ends under and pinch edges to seal.

6.  Make 3 more rolls in same manner and arrange 2 inches apart on a lightly greased baking sheet.

7.  Brush lightly with egg and cut 3 (½ inch) steam vents in each roll.

8.  Bake in oven until golden, 30 top 35 minutes.

Pesto Pasta

1 pound spaghetti, uncooked

3 large garlic cloves

1/3 cup olive oil

1 and ½ cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves (whole)

2/3 grated Parmesan cheese

½ teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon pepper

1.  Cook spaghetti al dente, following direction on the package.

2.  Before draining out the cooking water, carefully scoop out 1/3 cup of pasta water and set aside.

3.  Drain the pasta.

4.  While pasta is cooking, coarsely chop the garlic. In a food processor combine olive oil, garlic and basil. Process until you have a moist, well-mixed paste.

5.  Transfer paste to a small bowl and stir in Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper, and pasta cooking water.

6.  In a large serving bowl, combine pesto and spaghetti and toss well.

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