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 include the usual tomato sauce, mozzarella and often ham; however, this recipe uses one of my favourite combinations based on ripe red sweet peppers and onions. The vegetables are simmered before being blended to a cream: the cooking brings out their sweetness and makes them easier to digest. The creamed filling also makes a delicious dipping sauce, so don’t throw away any leftovers!


For the dough:

  • 450g (3 ¼ cups) strong bread flour

    WNK-Giuseppe's Italian Bakes Book cover Giuseppe's Italian Bakes Giuseppe Dell'Anno
  • 3 tsp dry yeast

  • 2 tsp caster (superfine) or granulated sugar

  • 250g (generous 1 cup) lukewarm water

  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

  • 2 tsp salt 

For the filling:

  • 350g (12oz) red sweet (bell) peppers (about 3 medium peppers)

  • 100g (3 ½ oz) red onion (about 1 small onion)

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for greasing

  • 1/8 tsp salt

  • 2 tbsp concentrated tomato puree (paste)

  • 100g (3 ½ oz) green olives, pitted and sliced

  • ground black pepper, for seasoning

  • 50g (2/3 cup) grated Parmesan

  • a few fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped



  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 comes together evenly. 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 20C (68F). 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. 


  1. Meanwhile, prepare the filling: wash the peppers, remove the stems, cores, white pith and seeds, and roughly chop the skin into 2–3cm (¾ –1 ¼ in) 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, for about 5 minutes, stirring often until the onion has become translucent. Add the tomato puree and about 125g ( ½ cup) water, cover the pan with a lid, reduce the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated. Keep checking that the pan does not dry out to avoid burning the sauce.

  2. Remove the pan from the heat and cream the contents in a heatproof blender or with a stick blender. Set aside to cool. 


  1. Grease the baking tin, spreading a thin layer of olive oil over the bottom and sides. Line the bottom with a sheet of baking paper.

  2. Drop the proved dough over a well-floured surface, roughly shape it into a square with your fingers, then roll it out to a thickness of 5mm (¼ in), shaping it into a 30 x 50cm (12 x 20in) rectangle. With the longest side facing you, pour the pepper filling over the dough, and spread it with the back of a spoon or a small offset spatula, leaving 2–3cm ( ¾ –1 ¼ in) 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 sideways 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 200C (400F/ 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.


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.

Excerpted with permission from Giuseppe's Italian Bakes by Giuseppe Dell'Anno published by ‎Quadrille Publishing, December 2022, RRP $29.99 Hardcover.

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