Italian Style Pesto Strudel

This is a recipe for home cooks to keep in their back pocket for holiday mornings. The whole strudel can be prepped and refrigerated overnight, and then it’s ready to bake, bright and early.


  •  2 tablespoons butter, divided
  •  2 cups baby spinach (4 ounces)
  •  salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  •  4 tablespoons Armanino Pesto Sauce, divided
  •  ¼ cup diced roasted red pepper
  •  ¼ pound Italian sausage, hot or mild, crumbled (remove from the casing if necessary)
  •  1 scallion, white and green parts, finely chopped
  •  3 large eggs
  •  ¼ cup heavy cream
  •  5 slices provolone, cut in half
  •  1 lb pizza dough, purchased or homemade
  •  1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon heavy cream for an egg wash


  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the butter in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the spinach and sauté until wilted. Transfer to a bowl, let cool slightly and season with a pinch each of salt and black pepper and 2 tablespoons of the pesto.
  3. Wipe out the skillet if needed. Heat over medium high and crumble the sausage into the pan. Brown, stirring often until cooked through. Add the sliced scallion and cook 1 more minute or until softened. Transfer to the bowl with the spinach, add the chopped roasted peppers and stir to combine.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs and cream together. Season with a good pinch each salt and black pepper. Wipe out the skillet if needed and melt the remaining tablespoon of butter over medium heat. Pour the eggs into the skillet and gently cook 2-3 minutes, stirring often until slightly underdone. The eggs should be just cooked through and moist; not runny, not dry. Be careful not to overcook as they will cook again in the strudel. Turn into the bowl with the spinach mixture but do not mix quite yet; let cool while you roll the pizza dough.
  5. Line a sheet pan with a sheet of parchment paper or a silicone baking mat and sprinkle lightly with cornmeal. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolk and 1 tablespoon of cream for an egg wash. Set both aside until needed.
  6. On a lightly floured work surface, begin stretching the dough into a loose rectangle then with a rolling pin, gently roll into a 14” x 12” rectangle, flouring as needed and moving the dough frequently. Have patience; if the dough fights back, let it relax for a few minutes and keep at it.
  7. Transfer the dough to the prepared sheet pan and place 5 half slices of cheese along the center, 2” from the each short ends then top with 1 tablespoon of the pesto. Top with the sausage/spinach/egg mixture, another tablespoon of the pesto and the remaining 5 half slices of cheese.
  8. With a sharp paring knife or scissors, starting one the long side of the dough, cut 1” strips on the diagonal from one end of the filling to the other about ½” from the filling. Turn the pan and do the same with the diagonal in the same direction. Try for an equal number on each side.
  9. Cut a rectangle notch, about 2” x 1 ½” from each corner; this will keep the pastry from becoming too thick on the ends when finished.
  10. Arrange the pan so the diagonal dough strips are pointing right to left and brush the strips on both sides lightly with the egg wash. Pull the end tabs up and over the filling to seal in the ends.
  11. Bring one of the dough strips closest to you on the right up and over the filling, pressing lightly on the other side to seal. Bring the first dough strip on the opposite right side up and over and press to seal. These two strips should have created an “x” on top of the filling and the folded over dough end. Continue “braiding” strips of dough diagonally back and forth over the filling, Tuck the final piece in to form a neat closure.
  12. Brush the entire pastry with remaining egg wash.
  13. Bake until browned and heated through, 35-40 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes before slicing.
  14. Strudel is best enjoyed freshly baked. The strudel can be assembled the night before and refrigerated. Bake directly from the refrigerator. Reheat gently in a 325ºF oven if needed.

Chef’s Tips

  • A great addition to your Easter Brunch menu! Assemble the night before and refrigerate then bake in the morning. Reheat gently in a 325∞F oven until heated through. 
  • The filling is very flexible and a great use for leftovers. Mix up the meats, cheese and/or vegetables. For an Italian sub version, use thinly sliced deli meats, cheeses, roasted peppers and pesto.
8 servings
Prep Time
45 minutes
Cook Time
40 minutes

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