Recipe: Nothing says loving like a brown bag lunch with Italian Calzone

Ann and Eddie Steriti

Thirty-two years ago, 50 young, recently engaged couples gathered at St. Anthony’s church in Revere, (some) eager to learn the lessons of love and marriage. When the class leader asked everyone the reasons they chose their partner to marry, Eddie proudly announced one of his reasons: “She makes the best brown bag lunches.”

I was happy to hear Eddie’s answer and I’m still making him delicious brown bag lunches. I am so grateful that I was raised in an Italian family where love was served-up daily in the kitchen. It’s no wonder that I believe food plus family is a recipe for love. If you take a walk down our memory love lane, you will see images of Eddie and me preparing summertime picnics, pasta dinners, barbecues on the deck, holiday feasts and even working side by side at Periwinkles.

My love of food originated in my mother’s kitchen where my siblings and I were mandated to be home for dinner, no exceptions. My mother would serve up delicious meals and read each and every one of our faces to see what kind of day each of us had. I learned so much about love and life sitting around the table swirling spaghetti and talking with my family. I cannot tell you how joyful I am that my daughter Alexa also loves to cook and talk while she cooks.

It should have come as no surprise to me that the love of my life would proclaim one of his reasons he loved me was in the shape of a brown bag lunch. What he didn’t and still doesn’t know is I consider it a high compliment. Eddie and I appreciate that our plates are full, with lots of food and love.

Italian Calzone


  • 1.5 pounds Italian cold cuts (any combination that you like) Ham, Salami, Prosciutto, Hot capiola
  • 12 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 Spanish onion
  • 6 oz mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • pinch hot pepper flakes
  • flour
  • 1 egg (scramble for egg wash)
  • 1 1# bread dough ball


  • Heat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Slice onion and mushrooms. Sauté in oil until soft. Add garlic, basil, oregano and pepper flakes and sauté for another 2 minutes. Put mixture in a strainer and leave to drain for 10 minutes.
  • Lightly flour a work surface, roll or stretch dough to a size of 15″ x 12″. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese down the center of the long side of dough leaving a 1-inch border at the ends. Cover cheese with onion and mushroom mixture. Finally layer meats over onion mixture.
  • Fold short edge of dough over filling. Take one half of long side of dough and fold over onto meat. Brush seams with 1 egg wash. Repeat with other side. At this point it should look like a log. Pinch sides and edge of dough to secure. Brush the top of calzone with egg wash and place on a lightly greased cookie sheet or parchment paper.
  • Bake 40-45 min or until lightly brown and the bottom is golden.
  • Let sit 10-15 min. after removing from the oven. Slice with serrated knife.

Relax and Enjoy!

Ann Steriti is owner of Periwinkles Food Shoppe in Salem.

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