Browsing articles tagged with " italian food phoenix"

Know Your Italian Sandwiches: Calzone vs. Stromboli

Feb 21, 2012   //   by mamaginas   //   Blog  //  No Comments

“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.

Calzone & Stromboli

Calzone & Stromboli

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.

Stromboli
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
“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!

Linger Longer Over Our Antipasto Salad at Mama Gina’s Pizzeria

Nov 4, 2011   //   by mamaginas   //   Blog  //  No Comments

Antipasto. What could that mean other than we’re against (“anti”) pasta (“pasto”)? But why would a pizzeria be against pasta? Yeah, that doesn’t make much sense…

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

  • anchovies
  • 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)
  • olives
  • 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:

  • Ham
  • Salami
  • Pepperoni
  • Mozzarella
  • Artichoke hearts
  • Olives
  • Red onion
  • Cucumber
  • 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.

Scrumptious Italian Desserts, Right Here in Phoenix!

Oct 18, 2011   //   by mamaginas   //   Blog  //  No Comments

At Mama Gina’s, our unparalleled desserts have been inspired by traditional Italian desserts.

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
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.

Cannoli
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!

Why Garlic is For Lovers

Aug 11, 2011   //   by mamaginas   //   Blog  //  No Comments

We get lots of couples who come into Mama Gina’s on dates before or after going to the movies, and we have a little advice for them; Don’t shy away from the Garlic Bread, Garlic Knots or Bruschetta!

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!

Pizza & Drink Special