Calzones are one of those things that I love but don’t order in restaurants because they can just go so wrong. Either they are a mass of bread with sparse fillings that you have to dig for or they are stuffed with so much grease and cheese that you are only a few bites in before wishing you had ordered something else. Oftentimes, there isn’t a lot of variety of flavor or balance between the filling and crust.
For this reason, calzones are the perfect thing to make at home! Like pizza, they can be endlessly adapted to your personal taste and they’re fun to assemble and experiment with. We put a lot of different ‘toppings’ in our recipe, which resulted in a variety of flavors and textures…we even got our veggies in! The crust is just thick enough to contain all the toppings but not overwhelming. Like everything else in life, calzones are all about balance…
We got this bottle of wine as a gift from our friend Kelly who highly recommended it. All I can say is: Delicious! This hearty, deep red Malbec was a complex wine that presented different flavors in the beginning, middle, and end of each sip. It started full of berry flavors…predominantly cherry and blackberry. Then the flavors of vanilla and anise had their time to shine. Lastly, the sip ended with a hint of spice. It stood up well to the variety of flavors in the calzones and I would definitely buy this wine again. Thanks Kelly!
Much like other European Pilsners that I’ve tried, Jever (how do you pronounce that, anyways?) is a light lager with a slight aroma of hops and skunk followed by a light taste with sweet candy undertones. This light beer is good to wash down hearty meals like our calzones but I probably wouldn’t drink it on its own as the aforementioned candy flavors turn me off.
For the Calzone dough:
1 teaspoon Active Dry Or Instant Yeast
4 cups All-purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
For the filling:
1 Tbs. olive oil
½ onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 packed cups of fresh spinach
4 oz. mushrooms, sliced
pinch of red pepper flakes
¾ cup ricotta cheese
1 ½ cups mozzarella, grated
¼ cup parmesan cheese
¼ cup feta cheese
pepperoni, to taste
kalamata olives, to taste
salt and pepper, to taste
marinara sauce, jarred or from this recipe
To make the dough:
Sprinkle yeast over 1 1/2 cups warm (not lukewarm) water.
In a mixer, combine flour and salt. With the mixer running on low speed (with paddle attachment), drizzle in olive oil until combined with flour. Next, pour in yeast/water mixture and mix until just combined.
Coat a separate mixing bowl with a light drizzle of olive oil, and form the dough into a ball. Toss to coat dough in olive oil, then cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and store in the fridge overnight or up to three days. Pull the dough out of the fridge 2 hours prior to making the Calzones to give it time to rest and come to room temperature.
To make the calzones:
In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium. Add onion; cook until softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Add garlic, spinach, mushrooms and pepper flakes. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Form calzones: Divide dough in half. Since you’ll only need half of the pizza dough to make this recipe, you can use the other half for a pizza or more calzones later. Put the extra dough in the fridge or freezer. Divide the dough you’ll be using into 3 or 4 balls, depending on how many calzones you want to make. We made 3 large calzones but 4 smaller calzones would also work. On a lightly floured surface, stretch each piece out, first to a 3-by-4-inch oval, then stretch again, this time to a 6-by-8-inch oval. (Let dough rest a few minutes if too elastic to work with.)
In a medium sized bowl combine ricotta, egg, mozzarella, parmesan and feta. Stir cooled spinach mixture into cheese mixture; season generously with salt and pepper.
Spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray and sprinkle generously with ground cornmeal.
Assemble calzones: Brush marinara sauce over dough, leaving a ½ inch border around the edges. Spread a rounded ½- ¾ cup spinach/cheese mixture over half of each piece of dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border; fold over to form a half-moon. Press edges to seal. With a paring knife, cut 2 slits in the top of each calzone.
Using a wide metal spatula with a thin blade, transfer calzones to prepared baking sheet; reshape if needed.
Bake until golden, about 25-30 minutes. Serve with marinara sauce.