We had bucket loads of tomatoes fresh from Mom and Dad's farm so we made an absolutely outstanding sauce on Saturday afternoon. We blanched and peeled about 12 fresh tomatoes, pureed them in the food processor, and cooked for hours with simply about one half of an when making a sauce, it needs to simmer over a couple of hours on medium-low heat (stirring every 15 minutes or so). The water cooks out resulting in a more concentrated, sweet tomato flavor. As the sauce thickens and starts to take on a deeper red color, we add a handful of sliced fresh basil and season the sauce well with salt and pepper. I sometimes add a tablespoon of sugar or honey to balance out the acid but if you've really simmered long and slow, it starts to sweeten on its own.
Fresh tomato sauce is truly a labor of love. I have a hundred vivid childhood memories of walking in from school, following the delicious smell into the kitchen, giving the pot of sauce a stir and then sticking a piece of bread down in to sop up a quick taste. There is really nothing like it!
My Mom and Dad fell in love with stromboli at a little Italian place in Colorado called Cappuccino's. They lived there for 8 years before we moved overseas (I was born there.) My Mom has been recreating them ever since. You roll a round of pizza dough into an 8-10" circle. (Mom's dough recipe is killer but we actually cheated this time and picked up fresh dough from Mellow Mushroom up the road.) You can fill them with whatever you like - we layered a few slices of ham, slices of provolone cheese, mozzarella, sliced tomato, sweet sopressata, and pepperoni. My dad likes them just like this but Mom and I went lighter on the meat and added some roasted eggplant, bell pepper, banana pepper and zucchini slices and some sauteed baby bella mushrooms to the mix. John had the supreme version which was a whole lot of everything.
You fold the dough in half to form a half moon shape and roll the bottom edge up to close them. You place the stromboli on a cookie sheet dusted lightly with corn meal and bake at 425-450 degrees for approx 20 minutes or until the top and the bottom crust is golden brown and crusty when you tap on it.
You serve the stromboli whole on a plate (mine was technically 2/3 in this picture), smothered in fresh tomato sauce and sprinkled with some extra mozzarella cheese. Let's just say there isn't must talking once these bad boys hit the table. Serve with a cold beer or glass of Italian wine and plan on doing NOTHING for the remainder of the evening other than laying on the couch in a food coma...hmmm.