follow the recipe for rotoli di pizza ai peperoni rby giuseppe dell'anno


Rotoli di Pizza ai Peperoni

Pizza Rolls with Sweet Peppers

Always a welcome addition to an informal dinner buffet, a picnic or a kids’ birthday party




For a 23 x 33cm (9 x 13in) deep pan

For the dough

  • 450g (1lb/3¼ cups) strong bread flour
  • 3 tsp dry yeast
  • 2 tsp caster (superfine) or granulated sugar
  • 250g (9oz/generous 1 cup) lukewarm water
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp salt


For the filling

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for greasing
  • 350g (12oz) red sweet peppers (about 3 medium peppers)
  • 100g (3½oz) red onion (about 1 small onion)
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp concentrated tomato purée
  • 100g (3½oz) green olives, pitted and sliced
  • 50g (1¾oz/2/3 cup) Parmesan, grated
  • ground black pepper, for seasoning
  • a few fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped

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Pizza rolls are a very popular street food and this tear-and-share traybake makes a great and always welcome addition to an informal dinner buffet, a picnic or a kids’ birthday party.

Common fillings typically include the usual tomato sauce, mozzarella and often ham, however, my recipe includes one of my favourite combinations based on ripe red sweet peppers and onions. The vegetables are simply simmered in a frying pan for about 20 minutes before being blended to a cream: the relatively long cooking time brings out their sweetness and makes them much easier to digest. The creamed filling makes also a delicious dipping sauce, so don’t throw away any leftovers!

Once you have become familiar with the method, pizza rolls will become one of those basic recipes that you can play with when it comes to fillings: anchovies or Genovese pesto go very well with a basic tomato sauce, but you can also consider unusual tomato-free fillings based on caramelized onions or ricotta and spinach.


Make the dough

  1. Add the flour, yeast and sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook and mix them with a spoon until fully combined. Start the mixer on a medium-high speed and slowly trickle the water into the mixing bowl. Immediately after the water, add the oil and continue mixing until the dough becomes one homogeneous mass. It should take a couple of minutes. Sprinkle in the salt and let the mixer knead the dough for a further 8–10 minutes, or until it becomes smooth, wraps around the hook and comes off the sides of the mixing bowl cleanly.
  2. Scoop the dough out of the bowl and, while holding it in your hands, stretch it and fold it over itself a few times and shape it into a ball. Drop it back into the mixing bowl, cut a deep cross on the surface with a sharp knife, cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave the dough to prove until it has doubled in volume; it should take about 1 hour 10 minutes at 20°C (68°F). A very practical solution to prove the dough is to leave the bowl in the closed oven, with the heating off but the internal light switched on. This will generate an optimal draught-free and slightly warm environment to facilitate the action of the yeast. Proving the dough in these conditions may shorten the proving time.

Make the filling

  1. While the dough proves, prepare the filling: wash the peppers, remove the stems, cores, white pith and seeds, and roughly chop the skin into 2–3cm (¾–1¼in) pieces. There is no need to be accurate as they will be blended once cooked. Peel and chop the onion, then place it in a medium frying pan with the oil and the chopped peppers. Add the salt and shallow-fry over a medium heat, uncovered, stirring often, until the onion has become translucent. It will take about 5 minutes. Add the tomato purée and half a glass of water (about 125ml), cover the pan with a lid, reduce the heat and simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated. It will take about 15 minutes. While simmering the peppers, check that the pan does not dry out to avoid burning the sauce.
  2. Once the peppers are soft and thoroughly cooked, and most of the liquid has evaporated, remove the pan from the heat and cream the contents in a heatproof blender or with an immersion blender. Set aside to cool.


  1. Grease a 23 x 33cm (9 x 13in) baking tray, 5cm (2in) deep, spreading a thin layer of olive oil over the bottom and sides. Line the bottom with a sheet of baking paper.
  2. Once the dough has proved, drop it over a well-floured surface, roughly shape it as a square with your fingers, then roll it out to a thickness of 5mm (¼in), shaping it into a 30 x 50cm (12 x 20in) rectangle. With the longest side of the rectangle facing you, pour the pepper filling over the sheet of dough, and spread it with the back of a spoon or a small offset spatula, leaving 2–3cm (¾–1¼in) of dough at the top of the rectangle sauce-free. Distribute the sliced olives evenly over the dough. Grind a generous dusting of black pepper over the sauce, sprinkle over the grated Parmesan and add the basil leaves. Roll the sheet of dough, starting from the side facing you, all the way to the top.
  3. Using a sharp knife, slice the sausage of filled dough into 20 equal rolls, about 2.5cm (1in) thick, and arrange them in the prepared baking tray. There might be space left between the rolls at this stage, however, this will be filled by the dough during the second prove and baking. Leave the rolls to prove again, uncovered, for a further 30 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, set the shelf in the lowest position in the oven and preheat it to 200°C static (400°F/Gas mark 6). Once the second prove is completed, bake the rolls for 27–29 minutes, or until the tops just start to brown. Store, wrapped in paper, for up to a day.

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