Carmen and Sonny were my first husband's aunt and uncle. Carmen passed away in 2004 and Sonny just three weeks ago. Sadly, I found out on Facebook. Since then I have been thinking a lot about Carmen and Sonny and remembering the good times we spent with them. Carmen was a feisty Italian with an artistic flair and a gift for cooking. Her Italian suppers were amazing. Her red sauce was fantastic.
There was one thing Aunt Carmen made that I have never forgotten. It was a sort of Calzone type thing with soft pillowy bread stuffed with cheese and broccoli. I have searched for the recipe online but have never able to find it. I always thought she called it coodarooni. I could never find anything called coodarooni. Yesterday I tried again. I spelled it every which way until the lightbulb finally came on. I realized it was goudarooni, not coodarooni! I didn't find a recipe that sounded exactly like Carmen's, but I found a recipe I could work with!
Goudarooni broccoli cheese bread, like Aunt Carmen's Goudarooni is a bread more than it is a sandwich. Carmen's was served alongside an Italian dish like spaghetti with marinara sauce. I always looked forward to this dish. I remember once being in the kitchen with Carmen while she was making it and she was telling me how to raise sweetpeas. I forgot to mention that she was a gardener too and she had the most gorgeous, fragrant sweetpeas I have ever seen. She told me that you have to plan ahead if you want flowers in the Spring by planting seeds in the Fall. I never planted sweetpeas, but I did put up sweetpea wallpaper in my bathroom!
Replicating Carmen's goudarooni is my way of paying my respects to Carmen and Sonny. I could never truly replicate Carmen's bread because it was one-of-a-kind, but I will try to come close.
So let's talk goudarooni! I used this recipe from Saveur as my starting point, never intending to add red sauce, ground beef, etc. I also didn't want a gigantic amount, so I cut the ingredients for the dough in half. The result was a crumbly mixture that never came together as a dough. I am not sure what went wrong, but increasing the liquid fixed the problem. Just to be sure, I made the dough again today and it worked perfectly. I used the dough setting on my bread machine to knead the dough, then let it rise in an oiled bowl until doubled. Then I rolled it out into a big rectangle.
I brushed the the surface of the dough with olive oil, sprinkled it with granulated garlic, salt, pepper and dried basil. I topped one half with the cheeses and the steamed broccoli.
I folded the dough, crimped the edges, and baked it on a pizza stone in a 425 degree oven.
After about 18 minutes it was golden brown.
The bread was just as I remembered it, soft and pillowy, with a nice chewy crust.
The broccoli and cheese filling was just right.
Just look at this yummy bread!
I hope you try my recipe for Aunt Carmen's Goudarooni. May she rest in peace, with Sonny at her side.
Aunt Carmen's Goudarooni
- Stand mixer with dough hook.
- Bread machine with dough setting optional
- Large bowl
- Steamer basket and pot
- Pizza stone or baking sheet
For the dough:
- 2 teaspoons olive oil plus more for oiling the bowl
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
- ¾ cup warm water 115 degrees
- 2 cups all purpose flour plus more for dusting
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Semolina flour for dusting
For the filling:
- 1 medium head broccoli florets only
- ¼ cup olive oil
- ¼ tsp. granulated garlic
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- ½ tsp. dried basil
- ½ tsp. crushed red chile flakes
- ¾ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- ½ cup grated Gouda cheese
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
For the dough:
- Combine oil, sugar, yeast, and warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Let it sit until foamy, about 10 minutes.
- Mix flour and salt in a medium bowl. With mixer on low, slowly add flour mixture. Mix until a smooth dough forms, 8–10 minutes.
- Transfer dough to a greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap. Let sit at room temperature until doubled in size, 1–1½ hours.
Alternate instructions for dough:
- You can make the dough in a bread machine using the dough setting. You can also make the dough by hand kneading until it is smooth. I prefer to use the bread machine because it also provides the warmth for the dough to rise.
For the filling:
- Steam the broccoli florets and drain on paper towels until the excess moisture is absorbed.
- When the dough has risen, roll it out on parchment paper to a large rectangle approximately 9" by 12".
- Brush the top to within 1 inch of edges with extra virgin olive oil. Season with salt, pepper, red chile flakes, granulated garlic, and basil.
- Spread the cheeses evenly over one half followed by the broccoli. Fold the side without cheese and broccoli over the other side, roll and press the edges to close.
- Sprinkle a little Parmesan cheese on top. Bake in a 425 degree oven for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown.
Alternate instructions for baking:
- You can bake the goudarooni on a cookie sheet or directly on a preheated pizza stone in the oven. I used a pizza stone and it worked really well. Be sure to put the stone in the oven before preheating. It needs to be hot when the dough goes on.
- Cut the bread into eight squares and serve hot or at room temperature.
Approximate nutrition information is provided as a convenience and courtesy only. You are encouraged to do your own calculations if precise data is required.