Trapizzini (Homemade Roman-Style Pizza Pockets) Recipe (2024)

Why It Works

  • Using a high-hydration dough made with bread flour creates pizza with an extra crisp crust that's still both tender and chewy. Cold-fermenting the dough overnight produces complex flavor and an even rise.
  • Folding the dough incorporates air (for a more even crumb) and eliminates excess carbon dioxide (which can inhibit yeast activity), while also strengthening its gluten network (for better chew).
  • Finishing baking the pizza directly on a baking stone gives it a crisp and well-browned bottom crust.

While the state of on-the-go pizza in Rome never reached the abysmal lows ofNew York's postrecession dollar-slice years, the city has enjoyed a similar boom period of exciting, modern, and delicious pizza al taglio over the past 15 years. Thanks to pizzaioli, such as Gabriele Bonci and Stefano Callegari—who share many of the values of New York's pizza revivalists (the use of slow and natural fermentation, high-quality ingredients, and freshly milled flour)—Rome's equivalent of pizza by the slice has exploded in popularity. Both Bonci and Callegari now have outposts in the United States, and this has meant that one of the best pizza-related innovations of the past few decades has crossed the Atlantic: the trapizzino.

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The trapizzino, invented by Callegari at his original pizza shop 00100 in the Testaccio neighborhood of Rome, is a hybrid of Romanpizza biancaand a sandwich. The name is a mashup of the words "pizza" and "tramezzino," a style of sandwich in Italy that's made with crustless white bread and is cut into triangles (because Italians alsoknow triangles taste better). For his trapizzini, Callegari bakes up puffy squares of pizza bianca that he then cuts into triangles, slits open to form a pocket, and fills with riffs on traditional Roman dishes, like braised oxtail and meatballs.

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During a recent game-day foods brainstorming session, I realized these pizza pockets would make a perfect sport-viewing snack: They can be baked in advance and stuffed with any number of tailgate-friendly fillings. Who needs a soggy sub roll when you can make sandwiches out of pizza dough? I set off to recreate the magic of the trapizzino, the Platonic ideal of pizza pockets.

The Dough

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As I mentioned earlier, the trapizzino dough is a variation of pizza bianca, which is sold at both bread bakeries and pizza al taglio shops (the Roman equivalent of a New York slice joint). Bakery pizza bianca, like the one from Forno Campo de' Fiori that inspiredKenji's no-knead, at-home version, is usually baked directly on the bakery's oven deck in long pieces. This yields a thinner and crunchier product than the puffier and doughier al taglio versions, which are baked in black steel pans calledteglie, similar to the trays used to makeSicilian-style pizzahere in the States.

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Trapizzino dough ups the ante on the puffiness of al taglio pizza bianca. It needs to have enough height and structure that it can be split open and stuffed with saucy fillings without falling apart, but it also needs to be light and airy so that it doesn't just become a heavy gut bomb.

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Callegari's proprietary trapizzino dough recipe is leavened with a natural sourdough starter, which makes for delicious pizza but not an easy at-home, game-day-friendly recipe. To make a more user-friendly version, I decided to adapt Kenji's pizza bianca recipe, which gets its rise frominstant yeast, while also incorporating the cold-fermentation and dough-folding techniques used by Bonci. I started by scaling up Kenji's recipe in order to yield a full 13-by-18-inch baking sheet of pizza.

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I whisk together bread flour, salt, and instant yeast to make sure the yeast and salt are evenly distributed. Next goes in the water, which gets stirred into the dry ingredients with a wooden spoon until a lumpy dough forms, with no visible dry flour remaining. To make sure the dough wouldn't end up being too dense when baked as a thicker piece, I increased the hydration slightly (up to 80 percent) to make it more extensible and give it a more open crumb.

First Rise

After the water, I incorporate a few tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil into the dough itself. While the bottom and top crusts will be coated with plenty of olive oil before baking, adding oil to the dough ensures its flavor isn't just on the surface but is carried all the way through this thicker pizza bianca. The dough is placed in an oiled bowl, covered with plastic wrap, and allowed to rise for one hour at room temperature.

Doughrigami: Folding the Dough

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Once the first rise is complete, the dough is turned out onto a floured work surface and gets folded to incorporate air into the dough and strengthen the dough's gluten network. This step also eliminates excess carbon dioxide produced during the initial rise, which can end up inhibiting yeast activity during the longer bulk fermentation.

To fold the dough, pat it into a rectangle, and then gently pull the upper and lower edges of the dough into the center of the rectangle and pinch them together to form a seam running parallel to the countertop's edge. Rotate the dough 90 degrees, so the seam is perpendicular to the counter edge, and repeat the folding and pinching motion. Repeat the rotation and folding step once more before covering the dough with a clean kitchen towel, allowing it to relax for 15 minutes. (For a good visual step-by-step of this folding process, see the image in step 2 of the recipe below.)

Cold Fermentation

Repeat the entire folding and rotating sequence once more, giving you a total of six folds. Strengthening the dough and incorporating air into it with this folding process gives the interior of the finished pizza an airy lightness that still has plenty of chew. As you can see in the photo below, the folded dough enjoys a more even rise and is less dense with more uniform air pockets in its crumb.

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On the left: cold-fermented, folded dough. On the right: room temperature-fermented, no-knead dough.

For the bulk fermentation, the dough is placed in a large bowl, which is wrapped in plastic and transferred to the fridge for at least 18 hours and up to three days.Cold fermentationcauses yeast to produce carbon dioxide at a slower rate, which creates a more uniform rise as well more complex flavor compounds than doughs fermented at room temperature.

Final Proof

The next day I turn the dough out onto a well-oiled rimmed baking sheet, and gently stretch the dough to fill the pan before covering it up to allow it to proof and rise one final time. While the dough rises, I set a Baking Steel or pizza stone in the oven and crank up the oven as high as it will go. This is also a great time to put together or, better yet, reheat your trapizzino fillings. During testing, I kept my fillings pretty classic Italian: pulledchicken cacciatore,sautéed broccoli rabe, and a batch of Daniel'sItalian-American meatballs. They all worked beautifully, but that's not to say you can't branch out and stuff your pizza pockets with something decidedly different, likeTexas-style chiliorbraised lamb shoulder. For stress-free game-day entertaining, I would recommend braised meat or vegetable dishes that can be kept warm in a Dutch oven on your stovetop or in a slow cooker, if that's something you have in your kitchen.

Before baking the pizza, I divide the dough in the pan into eight rectangles using a bench scraper. Olive oil gets drizzled around the edges of each rectangle and over the entire surface of the dough, before all of it gets a final sprinkling of coarse sea salt. Each rectangle will make two pizza pockets, for a total of 16 portions—perfect for a crowd.

Get Crafty

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While you're making the magic happen in the kitchen, get some help with the finishing trapizzino touches. If you have any industrious little ones around the house, or some crafty adults who haven't been put off of paper boats for life by Pennywise, have them fashion some pizza pocket holsters out of parchment paper. I am in no way accomplished in the dark arts of paper-folding and even I managed to make some passable paper cones, thanks to astep-by-step online tutorial. The internet comes through once in a while.

Twice Baked

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I found that these pizza pockets need the same twice-baked treatment that Kenji gave his pizza bianca in order to properly crisp and brown the bottom crust. After baking the pizza in the rimmed baking sheet until the dough is cooked through and the top is a burnished golden brown, I remove them from the oven and let them cool slightly.

I then pop the rectangles out of the baking sheet and place them back in the oven, directly on the Baking Steel. After a few minutes the bottom crust will be crisp and well browned, and your trapizzini are ready to be portioned and filled. You can hold off on this step until you are ready to start eating, so that the trapizzini can be enjoyed warm.

Cut 'Em and Stuff 'Em

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All that's left to do is cut each rectangle in half diagonally to form triangles, and then cut a slit down the middle of the cut side to open up a pocket. Nestle pockets in their parchment wrappers, and pile them up with fillings of your choice. Grab a beverage, a seat on the couch, and bask in the glorious union of pizza and sandwich.

January 2019

Recipe Details

Trapizzini (Homemade Roman-Style Pizza Pockets)

Active45 mins

Total24 hrs

Serves16 pizza pockets

Ingredients

  • 1kg (35.25 ounces; about 6 1/2 cups) bread flour, plus more for dusting (see note)

  • 20g (0.7 ounces; 5 teaspoons) Diamond Crystal kosher salt; for table salt, use about half as much by volume or the same weight

  • 7g (0.25 ounce; 1 packet or 2 rounded teaspoons) instant dry yeast, such asSAF

  • 800g (28.25 ounces; about 3 1/3 cups) room temperature water

  • 80g (2.8 ounces; 6 tablespoons) extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more for bowl and finishing

  • Coarse sea salt, such as Maldon or fleur de sel

Directions

  1. For the Dough: Combine flour, salt, and yeast in a large bowl and whisk together until hom*ogenous. Add water and stir with a wooden spoon until no dry flour remains, about 2 minutes. Add 40g (1.4 ounces; 3 tablespoons) olive oil and stir to incorporate, using hands if necessary to work oil into dough. Transfer dough to a clean large bowl that has been lightly greased with olive oil; cover with plastic wrap, and let rest at room temperature for 1 hour.

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  2. Transfer dough to clean surface dusted with flour; dust your hands and dough with flour. Pat dough into large rectangle, with long sides of the rectangle parallel to countertop. Gently pull the upper long edge of the rectangle, stretching dough, and fold it into the middle of the rectangle. Then gently pull the lower edge, and fold it into the middle of the rectangle. Pinch these folded edges together to seal them together, forming a seam. Rotate dough 90 degrees, and repeat folding and sealing process. Rotate dough 90 degrees and repeat once more. Cover dough with a clean kitchen towel and let rest for 15 minutes.

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  3. Repeat this entire folding process once more, for a total of 6 folds. Place dough seam side down in lightly greased large bowl. Lightly drizzle dough with olive oil, and use your hands to gently rub it over the surface. Cover tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 18 hours or up to 3 days.

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  4. Baking the Pizza: Remove dough from refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 10 minutes. Lightly spray 13-by-18-inch rimmed baking sheet with vegetable cooking spray; pour remaining 40g (1.4 ounces; 3 tablespoons) olive oil onto baking sheet and spread over entire inner surface (including rim) with your hands. Transfer dough seam side down to prepared baking sheet, and spread gently with your hands to mostly fill the pan (don't worry if dough doesn't fully stretch to edges). Lightly dust surface of dough with flour, cover with clean kitchen towel, and let rise at room temperature until dough is very soft and puffy and nearly doubled in volume, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

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  5. One hour before baking, adjust oven rack to lower-middle position. Place baking stone or Baking Steel on it and preheat oven to 550°F (290°C). Using floured hands, gently push and stretch dough into corners of the pan by pressing out from the center. Divide dough into 8 equal-sized rectangles by first drizzling olive oil to trace outline of pieces, and then use bench scraper to cut dough along the lines. Drizzle more olive oil over top of the dough, and use hands to gently rub over entire surface. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt. Transfer entire baking sheet with dough to oven, positioning it on top of baking stone.

  6. Bake until dough is cooked through and top surface of pizza is burnished golden brown, about 16 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking. Let pizza cool in baking sheet on wire rack for 5 minutes; use spatula to separate pieces. When ready to serve, return pizza pieces to oven to bake directly on baking stone until bottom crust is evenly browned and crisp, about 4 minutes. Transfer to cutting board; cut each piece in half diagonally, and then cut slit down middle of the now-exposed interior of each pizza triangle to form a pizza pocket. Stuff pockets with fillings of your choice (see note) and serve immediately.

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Special Equipment

Digital scale, baking steel, rimmed baking sheet, wire rack

Notes

For best results, use a digital scale set in grams to measure ingredients.

Trapizzini can be stuffed with any number of fillings. If you want to keep things Italian, meatballs and sautéed broccoli rabe make for excellent sandwich stuffers. Or get wild, and fill your pockets with something like Texas-style chili.

Make-Ahead and Storage

The dough can be made and stored in the refrigerator up to 3 days in advance.

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