Recipe for homemade calzones, to eat now or freeze for later....
(makes 8 with one batch of dough)
1 batch of thin-crust pizza dough (3/4 cup water, 1/2 teaspoon yeast, 2 cups AP flour, 1/2 teaspoon of salt)
4 ounces of cooked meat, separated into 8 half-ounce piles
4 ounces of cheese, separated into 8 half-ounce piles
sauteed veggies of your choice (onions, green or red peppers, eggplant, zucchini, mushrooms, etc.)
Sauce to bind everything together (like tomato sauce, BBQ sauce, or ricotta cheese)
a little milk for sealing the edges
Note: This recipe makes calzones that are a bit smaller than your average calzone, about six inches across. Feel free to make them larger if you prefer! Just use a larger bowl as your template in step 2 and divide the dough into larger pieces in step 3.
Pre-heat oven to 450-degrees F.
Prepare pizza dough as directed for our recipe for Homemade Thin Crust Pizza and set aside while you prepare the filling.
If you haven't already done so, cook your meat and set it aside to cool. Then saute your veggies in a little olive oil until they are mostly cooked through and set them aside to cool. It's important to cook these ahead of time because if you add the veggies raw, they will release a lot of liquid in the oven and you'll get soggy calzones. Plus, cooking them ahead of time gives you better flavor!
Find a bowl in your kitchen that is about six inches across (in diameter). Use this bowl as a guide to trace eight circles onto parchment paper. Cut the parchment into eight pieces with once circle on each piece of parchment. Flip the parchment upside down so the actual pencil/pen mark of the circle is against the counter and your food-surface is clean.
Cut the dough into eight equal pieces. Place one piece on a piece of parchment paper in the middle of the circle. Press down on the center of the dough and then use the heel of your hand to gently push outward on all sides until you've filled the circle. The dough will be about 1/8 inch thick. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough and parchment.
Cover each rolled-out circle as you finished with saran wrap or an upside down bowl to keep it from drying out while you finish the rest of the circles.
Place the meat and cheese in the center of the dough and layer on as many veggies as you think will fit (you'll get a feel for it after making one or two). Leave about 3/4 - 1 inch of space around the edge.
Brush the edge with milk. Lift one side of the dough over onto itself and pinch the dough together in the middle. Pinch all the dough to one side closed and then go back and pinch the other side closed, forming a half-moon. We find this easiest to do when we hold the calzone upright in our left hand like a taco and then we use the fingers of our right hand to pinch the rest of the dough closed. Repeat with remaining calzones. (Note--the parchment paper will continue sticking to the dough and that's fine! When the calzone bakes, the parchment will gradually un-stick itself.)
Arrange four of the calzones on a sheet pan. Just before baking, use a paring knife to cut three steam vents in the top of the calzone--go right through the parchment paper. Bake the calzones for five minutes and then flip them over. Bake for another 5 minutes and flip them over again. Remove the parchment paper.
Bake for another 10-15 minutes until the calzones are an even golden-brown and toasty on the edges.
Remove calzones to a cooling rack and bake the remaining calzones. Let all the calzones cool for about five minutes and serve!
To freeze for weeknight lunches and dinners: Once the calzones are completely cool, wrap each one in plastic wrap and store them in a ziplock bag in the freezer. They'll last in there for a few months (if you don't manage to eat them all first...).
To re-heat: Arrange them on a sheet pan and warm in a 300-degree oven until heated through. Or heat them in the microwave for 1-3 minutes on High.
- Post by Emma
(All images: Emma Christensen)