Italian stuffed breads - filling fare for lunches, picnics

STUFFED breads, an Italian tradition, are perfect for brunches, lunch boxes, picnics. Most are so hearty they're a meal in themselves. A thermos of beverage or soup, a loaf of stuffed bread, and the picnic spot of your choice can make a beautiful day even better. Visitors traveling to Portland, Maine, via Route 1 might want to stop at Anjon's Italian Restaurant in Scarborough to pick up a loaf of their ham and cheese or broccoli-stuffed bread, made daily by Mr. Disanto, the owner. His mother before him made these loaves in the restaurant, in operation since 1959.

For your convenience, these uncomplicated recipes call for commercial loves, frozen bread dough, or prepared baking mix. Italian Calzones 1 tablespoon vegetable oil 1 cup chopped onion 1 large clove garlic, crushed 2 cups finely diced cooked ham 1 8-ounce container ricotta cheese 1 cup coarsely grated mozzarella cheese 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 1 pound frozen bread dough, thawed

Heat oven to 425 degrees F. In small skillet over medium heat, heat oil. Add onion and garlic. Cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, in large bowl combine ham, ricotta, mozzarella, parsley, and pepper. Stir in onion and garlic until well mixed.

Set aside. Cut bread dough into six equal pieces. With rolling pin, on lightly floured surface, roll each piece into a 6-inch round. Spoon some of ham mixture into center of each round, dividing evenly. Brush edges of rounds lightly with water. Fold each round of dough over filling to form half-moon shape, making sure all edges meet. Press edges with tines of fork to seal.

Arrange calzones without touching on ungreased large baking sheet. Bake 15 to 20 minutes until puffed and golden. Serves 6. Beef and Sausage-Stuffed French Bread 2 packages French rolls (2 loaves per package) 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped 1 pound sausage meat 1 pound lean ground beef 2 eggs 2/3 cup water 4 tablespoons Dijon-style mustard 1/4 cup chopped parsley 2 cups crumbs from hollowed-out French rolls 1/4 teaspoon pepper 1/4 teaspoon oregano 1/4 cup melted butter or margarine 1 clove garlic, minced or 1 teaspoon garlic salt

Hollow out French rolls with long paring knife. (Cut off ends first and save.) Reserve 2 cups crumbs from insides. Mix 2 cups crumbs (made with blender) with eggs, water, mustard, parsley, pepper, and oregano. Brown onion, sausage, and beef in skillet. Pour off grease and add meat to crumb mixture. Melt butter with garlic. Pack bread shells with meat mixture. Replace ends of bread. Fasten with toothpicks. Brush garlic butter on shells.

Cut into slices but keep closely packed in loaves. Bake in preheated 400 degree F. oven 15 minutes. (If using already cooked French rolls, cover with foil.) Serve hot. Spinach-Stuffed Bread 1 1-pound round loaf crusty bread 2 10-ounce packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and thoroughly drained 2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened 3 tablespoons milk 1 teaspoon lemon juice 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/8 teaspoon pepper Pinch ground nutmeg

Cut 2-inch slice from top of bread. Set slice aside. Cut around center of bread, 11/2-inches from outer edge. Remove center, leaving at least 2 inches of bread on bottom of loaf. Cut center and top into small chunks. Set aside.

In medium mixing bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Mix well. Spoon into bread shell. Serve with bread chunks for dipping. Serves 8.

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