One of the first things I learned to cook really well was a calzone. I mean, could make delicious omelets and french toast and cereal, and all of my family’s recipes, but when I started to like cooking, the first thing I was able to create was a calzone.
It was junior year of undergraduate college, in my first apartment (goodness I miss that kitchen), and my roommate and I were getting tired of the same old same old. She called her dad for his sister’s recipe on how to make calzones. Before I go any further, I must admit that it’s more of a stromboli-calzone hybrid, as no one in that family likes ricotta, the main ingredient that separates the two. But it is that recipe that has spun my favorite go-to meal, the one that’s so easy, yet impresses so many. It was the first meal I fed new boyfriends, new acquaintances, really anyone who’d let me cook for them. It is very handy to have in your culinary repertoire. And, it’s nice and warm for these holiday months.
- 1 lb. Pizza dough (you can find it refrigerated at your local supermarket)
- 1 C. shredded Mozzarella (or Mozzarella style soy cheese)
- Pepperoni/Sausage, sliced/chopped
- Garlic Powder
If you follow the instructions on the dough bag, it tells you to let the dough rise, punch it down, and let it rise again. Follow it. Let it rise while you’re at work (cover with a towel), and when you get home, punch it down and let it rise again while you’re watching HGTV for an hour, or whatever.
Preheat the oven to 400F.
Divide it into 4 equal balls (this recipe serves four), or more if you want smaller portions. pat a counter top or cutting board with dough and pound and flatten the dough, starting from the center of the ball and working your way out. If it rejects being stretched (you pull, let go, and it shrinks back to what it was), add a dusting of flour to stop the elasticity a little. Make the dough a little thinner than you’d like it to be when you bite into it (it will puff up in the oven).
When you’ve finished flattening, shape into a triangle. Then, shake garlic powder on it. More or less depending on how much you like garlic. Next, shake some oregano – be gentle, because it’s a very strong, dominating taste.
Add a ¼ cup of the shredded mozzarella in the center of each dough triangle. Top with your meat of choice (or none at all).
If you’d like, add some chopped onions to it, or other flavorful spices in place of the oregano. Ricotta is also a good idea, since that’s what is supposed to be in a calzone.
Take each corner and wrap it all the way to the side directly opposite. Again, be careful because things may fall out. Just poke them back in. Take the next corner and repeat. And the third and stretch it to make sure nothing’s coming out anywhere. Repeat for the other three calzones-to-be.
Your oven should be warm enough by now. Take a cookie sheet and set the balls (that’s what mine look like anyway) on it. Stick it in the oven and leave it there for 30-40 minutes. Be sure to check it to make sure it doesn’t burn. Use a knife and fork to make sure the dough is cooked all the way through.
A simple trick I’ve been learning is that you can smell it about 10-15 minutes before it’s done.
It’s been about three years since I started making my roommate’s aunt’s calzones, but it was an instant classic. And now that she’s moved one direction and I’ve moved another, it’s a great way to remember how close we were.
And if your little ones can’t eat one in its entirety (which they probably shouldn’t), it tastes pretty great if you refrigerate it and microwave it for leftovers.
Article image by: decembre71, flickr