Sometimes the inspiration for a meal comes from a surprising place. For instance, my desire to make calzones came watching the final episodes of the television show Parks and Recreation. I love Amy Poehler…she’s a rockstar…and we love watching Park and Recreation but, the series ended last week. So, why calzones? Well, Ben Wyatt (Leslie Knope’s husband) loves calzones and he tries to work them into every meal he eats. For some reason this makes me laugh and it mades me want to make and share these yummy, sweet and savoury calzone recipes.
A calzone is basically a pizza that is folded in half and baked in the oven. Calzones are often confused with a panzerotti, but a panzerotti is deep fried, not baked. Once you make up a batch of pizza dough, the filling possibilities are endless. And, kids love calzones. Kids love filling them with their favourite ingredients and dipping them in sauces. Calzones are a great meal to make with a child’s assistance.
Mix a batch of your favourite pizza dough. I recently discovered Fleischmann’s super convenient Pizza Crust yeast. I keep the pantry stocked with these little yeast packets, so we are always ready to make a pizza or calzones. Follow the directions on the package and in a matter of minutes the dough is ready to go, it doesn’t need to sit, rest and rise…the dough is ready immediately. If you don’t have access to Fleischmann’s pizza crust yeast, use the pizza dough recipe we shared before. If all else fails, most grocery stores carry fresh balls of pizza dough in the bakery department.
Once you have your dough made, divide it into 4 balls. Work with one ball at a time, being sure to cover the other balls with a tea towel. We like to use durrum semolina flour to flour my work surface, but all purpose flour will work as well. Roll out the ball of dough, into a 1/4 inch thick disk. Now it’s time to add the filling to one side of the disk, making sure to leave 1 inch edge free of filling.
For our savoury calzones we made a traditional pizza option. This calzone is filled with 2 tbsp tomato passata, 1/2 tsp dried oregano, 1 slice of prosciutto (cut into small pieces), 1 slice of sopressata (cut into small pieces), 1 tbsp sundried tomatoes (chopped) and 1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella. Change the filling as you like.
For next savoury calzone is filled with 1/2 cup of shredded chicken that has been warmed in a small saute pan with 1 tbsp butter chicken paste and 1 tbsp water. Once warmed through, add the cooled filling to the calzone.
Now for the fun part, closing the calzones. Stretch and fold the side without the filling over top of the filling side. Press the edges together. Fold the edge over and crimp the dough with your fingers. Fold, pinch and press..it’s pretty easy once you get the hang of it. Once the calzones are closed, use a sharp knife to cut a few vents in the top of the calzone. Finally, lightly brush the tops of the savoury calzones with olive oil. Brush the sweet calzone with melted butter and a pinch of sugar.
Bake the calzones on parchment paper, which prevents the calzones from sticking to the baking surface. Place the calzones on a pizza stone or on a baking sheet. Pop the calzones into an oven that is preheated to 425°C for 15-20 minutes.
Calzones are super easy to freeze. Make the calzones and before baking them, place them in a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet. Place in the freezer, once frozen transfer the calzones to a freezer bag and store them until you need them for lunch, dinner or a snack. Bake them from frozen.
So, now the question is…what will you fill your calzone with?