“Can you explain the difference between Stromboli and Calzones?”
Our servers get this question a lot, so we thought we’d explain it here in case our readers are also a bit confused.
While Calzones are very similar to Stromboli, they are two are distinct dishes. Most people think that it is the ingredients that primarily make up the difference between them. But, in actuality, the ingredients are similar and are either chosen by the chef or the guest ordering the dish.
The principal difference is actually that while Stromboli is served with sauce on the inside of the folded crust, a calzone has the sauce on the side or on top.
The origin of the Stromboli is a bit unclear, but it seems to date back to around the 1950s. Romano’s Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria in Essington, just outside of Philadelphia, claims their Nazzareno Romano originated Stromboli in 1950. Others claim that Mike Aquino, Sr. of Mike’s Burger Royal in Spokane, Washington, created a sandwich in 1954 with chili sauce and named the sandwich after the movie, Stromboli, starring Ingrid Bergman.
Either way, the yummy sandwich developed is a type of turnover using Italian bread dough. Shaped into a square, it is filled with sauce, meats and cheese, rolled into a log and then baked. It’s filled with various cheeses and Italian meats including salami, capicola, sausage, ham, bresaola, or pepperoni.
At Mama Gina’s Pizzeria, we make our Stromboli bursting with mozzarella, sausage, pepperoni and ham.
“Calzone” is Italian for “stocking” or “trouser” but as a meal, it’s a turnover that originates from Naples, Italy.
Calzones in the United States are typically made from pizza dough and stuffed with cheeses, meats and vegetables. The dough is traditionally made with flour, water, yeast, salt and olive oil. First, the yeast is proofed in warm water and then all ingredients are mixed until the dough is slightly sticky. The dough is kneaded on a floured board then placed in a warm location, covered with a moist towel and allowed time to rise. Once the dough has doubled in size, it is punched down, allowed to rise again and then formed into the desired shape for the calzone.
Calzones are commonly stuffed with cheeses including mozzarella, Parmesan, ricotta, Provolone or a local cheese. These pillowy treats typically are served covered with marinara sauce or topped with olive oil, garlic and parsley. The dough is folded in half and sealed or formed into a circular shape and then baked. Some New York and Italian calzones are fried instead of baked but we prefer to bake them.
At Mama Gina’s, we keep our calzones vegetarian, serving them stuffed only with mozzarella, ricotta and parmesan cheeses.
Whether you’re in a Stromboli mood or a calzone mood, we hope to see you at Mama Gina’s soon to enjoy one of these delicious Italian sandwiches!
Step aside, pizza toppings! It’s time for the dough to shine! With the attention normally focused on pepperoni, mushrooms, Italian sausage, fresh garlic and other toppings, you may be forgetting what holds it all together – the dough! But face it, no matter how good the toppings are, if the pizza crust isn’t tasty, your pizza experience is going to be a disappointing one. What may surprise you about pizza crust is that it’s actually all in the flour!
How does the type of flour used influence the taste and texture of pizza crust? Read on to find out!
All-purpose White Flour
The most common type of flour used for pizza dough is all-purpose white flour, either bleached or unbleached. With its medium amount of gluten (wheat proteins that bond the dough together), this refined wheat flour produces a fluffy center and crispy exterior.
Bread flour is a white flour with a 10 to 15 percent higher protein content. Bread flour is ideal for pizzas that require a lot of rise like Chicago-style crusts. It is also a good flour for those using a bread machine to make pizza crust. As with whole wheat flour, bread flour can also be combined with all-purpose flour for a custom (and less expensive) blend.
For a nontraditional flavor profile, alternative flours such as corn or rye flour can also be used for pizza dough.
Corn flour provides an excellent crust for a Southwestern-style pizza. Rye flour mixed with all-purpose white flour for gluten and caraway seeds for flavor, makes a great crust for a Reuben pizza.
To create dough with other flours, a whole wheat pizza dough recipe can be used as a guide for a recipe with alternative flours. The best method is to replace the whole wheat flour with approximately two-thirds alternative flour and a third all-purpose flour added to any all-purpose flour already in the recipe.
Whole Wheat Flour
Whole wheat flour contains bran and germ from the wheat that all-purpose white flour omits. Because of its low-gluten content, wheat flour produces a chewier dough than all-purpose flour. To create the best crust, wheat flour is typically combined with all-purpose white flour to improve the nutritional value and texture. Because whole wheat crust is denser, it is ideal for pizzas with a lot of toppings.
Most gluten-free pizza crusts end up a combination of chewy, too crisp and dry, flavorless and/or bland. It takes a special mix of flours to bring superior flavor and texture that’s crispy, tender, flexible in the middle, not too thick and not too thin. Mama Gina’s is currently working diligently with a combination of flours including tapioca flour/starch, sorghum flour, brown rice flour and gluten-free millet flour to concoct the perfect recipe to serve our guests. Check back to see when we announce our new gluten-free dough!
Antipasto actually means “before the meal”. It refers to the traditional first course of a formal Italian meal, kind of like hors d’oeuvres. There are several differences though. In proper setting, hors d’oeuvres are served off of trays while guests are still standing with drinks. Antipasto, on the other hand, is served at the table and signifies the beginning of the Italian meal. Formal Italian table settings include an antipasto plate in the center of the table and small plates for each person’s helping.
The ingredients for Antipasto may include a variety of items. The most traditional are
- bruschetta (toasted bread) upon which to stack the cheeses and meats
- cured meats (coppa, mortadella, prosciutto, smoked ham, various types of salami)
- marinated vegetables
- olive oil (used as a topping)
- peperoni (marinated small peppers)
- various cheeses (fresh mozzarella, provolone, etc.)
It doesn’t matter much which meats are served, as antipasto dishes are individualized and suited to taste. Mama’s Antipasto Salad includes:
- Artichoke hearts
- Red onion
- Green pepper
- House made balsamic vinaigrette
- Freshly baked garlic knots
While antipasto ingredients and forms varies, its main purpose remains to extend the meal. Remember that traditional Italian dining is not like the fast-paced meals we most often consume here in Phoenix. Rather, in Italy, meals are enjoyed slowly and are considered only one part of the whole dining experience. A typical Italian meal of antipasto, salad, soup, pasta, a meat dish and a light dessert, is supposed to take time.
So, make an evening of it, like the Italians do, starting with our Antipasto Salad, lingering with your friends and family at Mama Gina’s, and building those precious relationships.
It was a difficult choice when it came to selecting which desserts to offer you with so many choices coming out of Italy. After much hand wringing, we have selected Tiramisu and Cannoli as the Italian desserts to offer you.
Tiramisù is undoubtedly one of the most famous Italian desserts ever. Tiramisù is translated as “pick me up” and is definitely one of the most heavenly desserts on earth!
There is some debate about Tiramisù’s origin. It may have originated as a variation of another layered dessert called Zuppa Inglese. The current version of Tiramisù is a relatively new recipe. It is mentioned in 1983 in Giovanni Capnist’s cookbook I Dolci Del Veneto. Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary, on the other hand, gives 1982 as the first mention of the dessert.
Several sources claim that Tiramisù was invented in Treviso at Le Beccherie restaurant by Francesca Valori (whose maiden name was Tiramisù), the god-daughter and apprentice of confectioner Roberto Linguanotto. Linguanotto named the dish in honour of Francesca’s culinary skill, according to this story.
Other sources report the creation of Tiramisù to have originated in the city of Siena. Some confectioners were said to have created it in honor of Cosimo III for his visit to the city. Another account, by Carminantonio Iannaccone, establishes the creation of tiramisu on December 24, 1969 in Via Sottotreviso while he was head chef at Treviso in Venice.
No matter its history, this unforgettable treat is made of ladyfingers (or “Savoiardi” in Italian). Ladyfingers are light and sweet sponge cakes roughly shaped like a large finger. They are dipped in coffee then layered with a whipped mixture of egg yolks and mascarpone (an Italian cheese made from cream, coagulated with citric acid or acetic acid) and flavored with liquor and cocoa. Finally, they are dusted with cocoa powder.
For an incredible level of decadence, we offer you Cannoli, a Sicilian pastry dessert.
Cannoli originated in the Palermo area of Italy. Cannoli were historically prepared as a treat during Carnevale season, perhaps as a symbol of fertility. Eventually, Cannoli became a year-round staple. In Italy, they’re commonly known as “cannoli siciliani”, Sicilian cannoli.
The singular of Cannoli is cannolo meaning “little tube”. Cannoli consists of tube-shaped shells of fried pastry dough. The shells are stuffed with a sweet, creamy filling containing ricotta cheese (traditionally, the cheese was made of goat’s milk). Cannoli range from baseball-sized found in Piana degli Albanesi, south of Palermo, Sicily to no bigger than a finger (“cannulicchi”)!
These are scrumptious as a dessert after a Sicilian meal or even to take home as a breakfast treat.
So, for the perfect ending to your Mama Gina’s meal, we invite you to try one of our delicious Italian desserts!
Can you name the common food link here?
Stumped? Okay, here’s another hint:
If you guessed that these are the weeks and the teams the Cardinals will be playing where you’ll be needing food for some serious tailgating, you’re right!
The NFL season is just days away and regardless of whether game day ends in a W or an L, no Card’s game is complete without starting off with a tailgate party. Whether you’re headed to the University of Phoenix Stadium with your season tickets, single game tickets or just hanging in the parking lot with no tickets at all, you’ll need good food and spirits.
Successful Tailgate Party Game Plan
- When you’re feeding a lot of people, variety is key; offer vegetarian meals as well as foods with meat. Offer spicy and mild versions.
- Keep in mind that just because you love or hate a certain food, it doesn’t mean your guests feel the same way.
- Make sure you have plenty of non-alcoholic drinks on hand for designated drivers.
- Some of the best advice we can offer is to leave the cooking to the pros so you’re not trying to finish everything at the last minute before kickoff.
For a successful, worry-free tailgate party, we suggest ordering these favorites from Mama Gina’s for carry-out to create a menu your friends will rave about.
Chicken wings are a staple for any good football spread because they are the ultimate finger food. At Mama Gina’s we offer you traditional or boneless wings. We also cook them in a variety of flavors, so pick up an order of each (Hot, Mild, BBQ) to keep everyone happy! We serve ours with blue cheese or ranch dressing.
Easy finger food to pop in your mouth for a burst of flavor.
Fried Mozzarella Sticks
Perfect choice of protein for the vegetarians at your party.
A spicy snack your friends will devour.
Filling, flavorful and fun.
Because we know that Cardinals fans can come in the hardcore variety, starting their tailgate parties even before we open, we also wanted to offer a recipe for a Breakfast Stromboli. These tasty treats are portable, so you can bring them to the tailgate party and leave the rest of the menu up to us!
1 (11 oz.) tube of refrigerated crusty French loaf dough
2 scrambled eggs
3 strips apple wood smoked bacon
1/2 cup of sausage (any meat)
1 bell pepper diced and sautéed (any vegetable)
¼ cup mushrooms
¼ cup onion
3 oz Cheddar
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
Mix it up with Tomato, Jalapeno or Chipotle peppers for a South-Western Zing. Add the veggies to the eggs while scrambling.
Unroll dough onto a greased baking sheet.
Place a layer of sausage (or what ever meat you choose) on dough within a 1/2 inch of the edge.
Lay in scrambled egg mixture
Place layer of bacon (or other meat or vegetable)
Sprinkle Mozzarella cheese (to taste)
Roll up like a jelly roll starting on the long side.
Pinch the seam to seal and pinch the ends shut as well.
Roll so it is seam side down on the baking sheet.
With a knife, cut 8-10 1/4 inch deep slices across the top of the loaf approximately 1 inch long.
Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.
Cool slightly, serve warm.
For a video demonstration by the owner of Mama Gina’s showing how to make this recipe, watch this!
We’ve got you covered with lots of tailgating favorites, so on game day, you can put on your jersey and enjoy another Cardinals win!
Garlic gets such a bad rap for causing bad breath, but that’s just one small detail considering it’s one of the healthiest foods you can eat!
For centuries, garlic has been considered a “cure-all” used to treat almost every ailment from the common cold to the Plague! While we here in Phoenix don’t have Plagues about, here are a few benefits you’ll be getting when you order our Garlic Bread, Garlic Knots or Bruschetta:
- Anti-Bacterial – Garlic has 1% the potency of penicillin and can actually ward off an impressive number of bacteria including Cryptococcal meningitis, E. coli, Listeria and Salmonella. While most bacteria develops resistance to antibiotics, this is not the case with garlic. (Another order of garlic bread, please!)
- Improve Cardiovascular Health and Lower Cholesterol – If yours is a lasting love, you’ll want to remain healthy to keep up with your sweetie for years to come! Mediterranean food, including your Italian favorites, uses a lot of garlic, and people from Mediterranean countries have low incidences of cardiovascular disease. Cholesterol can be a confusing area of health with the HDL and LDL. What you should know is that modern medicine has found that garlic contains allicin which scavenges hydroxyl radicals (OH) and is thought to prevent LDLs from being oxidised. This is a good thing.
- Antioxidants – Allicin naturally increases the antioxidant enzymes in your blood. If you’re a smoker, quit! But, garlic can guard against the damaging effects of nicotine and slow the aging process of your liver by inhibiting lipid peroxidation.
- Reduce Acne – Our teen customers may want to take note of this one! Many teens spend a fortune buying facial washes and creams. Did you know that you can boost their effect by eating garlic? Garlic is thought to work because of its blood cleansing and antibiotic properties. The garlic on our Garlic Bread, Garlic Knots or Bruschetta is the perfect way to get your helping of garlic, because it is crushed and chopped. This will help release the active compounds.
We hope you’ll stop by and share one of these appetizers with your better half.
Remember Mama Gina’s Math: Your garlic breath + your date’s garlic breath = no garlic breath worries!
Here is a closer look at some of the more common types of pizza:
CHICAGO STYLE PIZZA – The Chicago Style pizza, or “deep-dish” pizza, was invented in 1943 at Chicago’s Pizzeria Uno. Initially, it was reported that Uno’s founder Ike Sewell, a former University of Texas football star, invented Chicago Style Pizza. But a 1956 article from the Chicago Daily News reported that Uno’s original pizza chef, Rudy Malnati, actually developed the recipe.
The Chicago Style pizza crust is a thick layer of dough made with olive oil and cornmeal formed into a deep round pan. It is pulled up by the sides, then parbaked. This means the raw dough is baked as normal but stopped at about 80% completed. At this point, the dough is rapidly cooled and frozen. The pan is heavily oiled to create a fried effect on the outside of the crust. The buttery, spongy crust is up to three inches tall at the edges, acting much like a bowl. The crust is covered with about a pound of sliced mozzarella and a solid layer of meats. Italian sausage, mushrooms, onions and bell peppers are often used as toppings. The sauce is uncooked and made from puréed tomatoes. Because of the amount of ingredients on this pizza, it is usually eaten with a knife and fork.
ITALIAN STYLE PIZZA –Italian pizza is made to be thin and light enough for one person to eat the whole pie. Italian pizza has a thin, crisp crust with just a thin layer of sauce made from pure tomatoes. Vegetables, cheese and other toppings are added sparingly. Italian pizza is made in a wood-burning brick oven.
SICILIAN STYLE PIZZA – Sicilian thick crust pizza, originating from Palermo in Sicily, is one of the most popular pizza styles. Sicilian pizza is square and has a very thick crust served in an aluminum baking sheet. An authentic recipe often calls for pecorino cheese and bits of anchovies.
NEW YORK STYLE PIZZA - Mama Gina’s brings you the best New York Style pizza in Phoenix. As is traditional for this pizza originating in the early 1900s, it is a large thin, wide, foldable pizza. New York Style pizza is made from a high-gluten bread flour. The traditional toppings are tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese. It is hand-tossed and uses a minimal amount of sauce.
New York Style pizza is sold by the slice and as whole pies from 16” to 20” inches in diameter. The slices can be folded in half and eaten as a “street snack”, since it can be hard to eat flat because of its size and flexibility.
Mama Gina’s can make a pie just for you or you can grab a slice to go from our display which rotates selections daily. Choose from:
- Traditional Cheese
- Mama’s Supreme – Mozzarella, pepperoni, sausage, onion, green peppers, mushroom topped with extra cheese
- Meat Lovers – Pepperoni, Italian sausage, ham, bacon and meatballs
- BBQ Chicken
- Hawaiian – Mozzarella cheese, ham and pineapple
- Margherita – Tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, fresh garlic and olive oil
- White – Ricotta, fresh garlic, Parmesan, mozzarella
- Veggie – Mushrooms, onions, green peppers, black olives
While there are probably thousands of combination including different crusts, sauces and toppings, we still believe that you’ll find the New York Style pizza at Mama Gina’s is unbeatable!
Come visit us in Westgate City Center for pizza by the slice, Italian favorites and more!