Calzone might be the greatest of pizzas. It more than doubles the wonderfulness of pizza by basically quadrupling the toppings and serving them up all gooey and delicious inside a bready pocket of loveliness. However, not long ago I found out that in Philadelphia a calzone comes with sauce on the side, and if you want sauce inside the pizza you must order a stromboli, a distinction made nowhere else in the world (where a stromboli differs from a calzone in that it is rolled, like a spiral). And sometimes restaurants will not make stromboli, only calzone. This seemed like a terrible travesty to me, so I decided to make my own. Along the way I discovered that home made calzone is way better than home made pizza, in a way that is not true of their restaurant equivalents, and that making your own pizza dough is not only delicious, but very easy. (Jack theorizes that home ovens cannot replicate restaurant pizza because they cannot get hot enough, so the crust is never quite right, but that because calzone is all about the filling it works well in a domestic oven. It seems as good an explanation as any).
This particular calzone was filled with sauteed onions, mushrooms and spinach, roasted red pepper, mozzarella, ricotta and a spicy, garlicy tomato sauce. Gorgeous.
- about 3 cups flour
- 1 packet rapid rise yeast
- a little salt
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 1 cup warm water
- olive oil
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1/2 pint mushrooms, sliced
- 1/2 bunch spinach, washed and trimmed
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup ricotta
- 3/4 cup grated mozzarella
- 1 red pepper, roasted (under the broiler works well, see this post for directions), and sliced
- 1 8 oz (250 ml) can tomato sauce (try to get one with as few ingredients as possible, and definitely no sugar)
- 1 medium tomato, diced
- pepper, red pepper, salt, oregano, basil (for sauce, to taste)
- 2 cloves garlic, diced
Preheat oven 375 degrees.
For the crust, in large bowl, mix together 2 cups flour and yeast, then add salt, oil and warm water. Combine, adding flour until dough forms and is no longer sticky. Knead on floured surface for about 5 minutes, until smooth, adding flour as needed. Cover with a dish towel and set aside.
Set pepper to roast. Heat a little olive oil in a pan to saute onions, saute, seasoning with pepper, until soft and lightly caramelized, add sliced mushrooms, cooking until water is released and cooked off. Add spinach, cook until well wilted. Remove from heat, add ricotta and mix until well combined.
Combine tomato sauce, diced tomato, spices (heavy on the oregano) and garlic. Remove dough from bowl (it will have increased in size, about doubled), roll out either on floured surface on directly onto oiled pizza pan (if you roll it on a surface and transfer to the pan, you can use cornmeal instead of oil to stop it sticking. Spread sauce on half the pizza, leaving about an inch of crust around. Add spinach mixture, sliced red peppers and mozzarella cheese only to the area covered by the sauce. Pick up the other side of the dough and stretch over the toppings, to form a crescent, pressing the edge together with your fingers (if necessary use a little water or oil to make it stick).
Bake in preheated oven for about 25 minutes, until crust is golden. Cut into wedges (a bread knife works well), and serve. Feeds 3 or 4. If you want to double it, you can either make two crescents, or make one large round calzone.