Calzones are pointless. They’re just pizza that’s harder to eat. No one likes them. Good day, sir.
Apparently I have reached the point in my life as a food blogger where I will try a recipe simply because I have a good quote to accompany it. I mean, I see or hear a solid quotable, write it down, and instantly think, “I should really make [fill in the blank] because that would be a great intro.”
Was I really, really into the idea of making calzones? No. But I hunted down a recipe and determined that I would because of “Parks and Recreation”. And there are a number of other edibles in my line-up of stuff-to-try for the same reason. Don’t judge me… there are only so many deep and/or clever things people have said and written about cookies and soup (really… I’m close to running out in those departments.)
Leslie Knope was probably right about calzones being pizza that’s harder to eat… they’re also kind of harder to make. But don’t think that means they can’t be plenty tasty. These were.
Homemade Calzones (from The Kitchn)
3/4 cups (6 ounces) of warm water
1/2 teaspoon of active-dry yeast (if using instant yeast, you don’t need to dissolve it during the first step)
2 cups (10 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
Combine the warm water and yeast, stirring with a fork or whisk. Set aside for a few minutes to allow the yeast to dissolve.
Measure out the flour into a large mixing bowl. Add the salt and use your hand or a whisk to combine.
Make a well in the center of the flour and pour in the water-yeast mixture. Use your fingers or a wooden spoon to combine everything together. When it comes together into a cohesive ball, turn it out onto the counter along with any extra flour in the bowl that hasn’t yet gotten worked in.
Knead the dough until all the flour is incorporated and the dough is smooth and elastic to the touch–about five minutes.The dough should still feel moist and slightly tacky. If it’s sticking to your hands and counter-top like, work in more flour one tablespoon at a time until it’s smooth and silky.
You will need a batch of dough (above, or you can use storebought pizza dough), plenty of cheese (I used mozzarella), olive oil or melted butter, and 2-3 cups of filling. There’s lots of room for creativity when it comes to filling your calzones. I just used what I happened to have at hand (pizza sauce, cheese, pepperoni, fresh spinach, and cottage cheese.) Just use whatever tickles your fancy.
Preheat oven to 450.
Divide the dough into equal pieces. Six pieces make good dinner-sized calzones. Eight pieces make nice smaller calzones for lighter meals and lunches.
Press the dough into a flat disk, then use a rolling pin to roll it into an 8″-9″ circle for larger calzones or 6″-7″ for smaller calzones. Roll from the middle of the dough outwards, as you do for pie dough. If the dough starts to shrink back on you, let it rest for five minutes and try again. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.
Spread a generous 1/3 cup of filling in the bottom third of the calzone (slightly less for smaller calzones), leaving a a clear border around the edge.
Fold the top of the dough over the filling and press to seal. If you have enough dough, you can roll that edge up (simply fold it over on itself) to form a more secure seal.
Transfer calzones to a parchment-lined baking sheet. (I just used a well-greased baking sheet.)
Brush calzones with olive oil or butter, if desired. This gives the calzones a nice golden color, but is not necessary. Slice steam vents in the top of the calzones with a sharp knife.
Bake for 15 minutes. Rotate the tray and bake for another 15-20 minutes until the calzones are golden, browned on the edges, and the filling is bubbly. Allow them to cool for a few minutes before eating as they will be super hot.