The first question is, "What is a calzone and what in the heck is a stromboli?"
Even the pronunciation is sometimes questioned: Is it “cal-zone” or “cal-zon-ie?" What makes a calzone different from a stromboli? And what makes them so similar that, at times, it’s difficult to differentiate?
Some say it’s all about the tomato sauce. Is the sauce on the inside, outside or on the side? Others say the difference is all about what goes inside. Some experts say strombolis have Italian meats, mustard inside and sauce on the side, while calzones have cheese, meats and/or vegetables on the inside and sauce somewhere else. Many chefs will tell you their preference, but there doesn't seem to be one known standard.
One view is calzones are stuffed, while a stromboli is rolled and can have
anything you want inside with the sauce placed anywhere you wish. A calzone is sometimes referred to as an inside-out pizza, and a stromboli as an inside-out sandwich.
The calzone vs. stromboli debate could go on forever, so allow me to offer a little clarity.
Calzones are similar to strombolis, but they're two different dishes. The ingredients are actually at the discretion of the chef. Stromboli’s are rolled pizza dough with the ingredients inside.
The confusion begins with the way strombolis are sometimes prepared, which can be like a calzone, where the only difference is that the calzone has sauce on the side, and strombolis have it inside the crust. However, strombolis can also be served with no sauce on the inside, but with the sauce on the side—adding to the confusion.
Now that you're completely bewildered, remember that a calzone is a type of turnover filled with various cheeses, typically mozzarella, and veggies or Italian meats, such as salami, capicola and bresaola. A Stromboli is made with square-shaped pizza dough that can be topped with any pizza toppings, and is then rolled into a log and baked.
Many American pizza shops serve a calzone using round pizza dough that is folded in half with fillings. You can have the sauce on the inside, the side or on both the inside and atop the calzone—but don't ever try one without the sauce.
Romano's Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria claims to have originated the stromboli in 1950 in Essington, Tinicum Township, just outside Philadelphia. Others claim the Stromboli was invented by Mike Aquino, Sr., of Spokane, Wash., named after the 1954 movie Stromboli starring Ingrid Bergman.
Originally from Italy, the calzone is a turnover. Pizza dough is rolled thin, filled,
then folded in half like a semicircle before cooking. The typical calzone is stuffed with pizza sauce and mozzarella cheese. Other ingredients usually associated with pizza toppings are used inside, and must be cooked and then added to the sauce and cheese before sealing up the dough. This allows the calzone to finish cooking so the dough will be golden brown when served.
Most people assume calzones are already made and just need to be cooked. Smaller versions of a calzone have been known to be deep fried and served with a generous amount of sauce on top.
Hopefully this puts your calzone vs. stromboli questions to rest, and if you're interested in trying one of these Italian temptations, which can be found all around you, check out Pinocchio’s #1 in North Gilroy, Pinocchio’s #2 in South Gilroy and Dutchman’s Pizza & Pasta in Gilroy and Morgan Hill.
If you become one of those elite calzone fans, try the Dutchman’s King Calzone Challenge. The challenge includes a 6-pound calzone monster that you must eat by yourself in under 45 minutes. If you overpower the calzone monter, your picture goes on Dutchman's "Wall Of Fame," the meal is free and you receive a Dutchman’s King Calzone T-shirt stating you met the challenge.