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. But there was one thing she 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!
Carmen’s goudarooni was a bread more than it was a sandwich. It 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.
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 I let it rise in an oiled bowl until doubled before rolling it out into a big rectangle.
I brushed 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 was just right.
This was Michael’s first time eating goudarooni and he was quite impressed. He declared it “awesome.”
Just look at this yummy bread!
So here’s my recipe for Aunt Carmen’s Goudarooni. May she rest in peace, with Sonny at her side.
- 2 teaspoons olive oil, plus more for oiling the bowl
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1¼ 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: 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 have arthritis so hand-knead is not an option. 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. 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.