Browsing articles tagged with " pizza 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!

Mama Gina’s Explains What Flours Make the Best Pizza Dough

Feb 14, 2012   //   by mamaginas   //   Blog  //  No Comments

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
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.

Other Flours
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.

Gluten-Free Flour

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!

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!

Pizza & Drink Special