Oh me, oh my. I love a good calzone.
I suppose you could say that calzones are what I first cut my culinary teeth on when I started living away from home. Sure I was in college and being fed by the campus dining hall, but it wasn't nearly anything like what I was used to and what I craved. One summer I house/dogsat for a campus professor and was responsible for all my meals. I bought some basic ingredients and was initially going to make a pizza when I saw a recipe in a cookbook for a calzone. Everything was pretty much the same, so I decided to make a calzone so I could call my mom and gloat. "See? I'm TOTALLY not starving!"
It turned out to be a genius decision on my part. I've been in love with a good calzone ever since, and it's a must-have when I visit my favorite pizza joints. The recipe I'm posting tonight is incredibly basic and very customizable to your tastes. I hope to post one or two more calzone recipes throughout the summer, but given how hot the oven needs to be for me to make them, I might just wait till October. We shall see. But for now.....
OH! And don't hate me, but these recipe doesn't use terribly precise measurements. I tried to remember today, but I kept forgetting. Hopefully this isn't too confusing, but you can always comment or email me if you're confused and I will do my best to clarify.
Big, Fat Calzones
(Original Frazzoo recipe)
1 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 green pepper, diced
2 links sausage (I usually use spicy Italian sausage)
2 T. olive oil, plus a little more for drizzling
2 refridgerated pizza dough crusts (I'm partial to Pillsbury, but whatever's on sale will work)
1 c. favorite marinara sauce, divided
2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese, divided, plus another 1/2 c. if you like it cheesy.
8 oz. white mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp. fresh flat-leaf parsley, minced
1 tsp. fresh oregano, minced
1 tsp. fresh basil, minced
1/2 tsp. fresh rosemary, minced
Heat oven to 400 F.
In a medium pan, saute onion, garlic, and green pepper in olive oil until tender. Brown sausage in same skillet when vegetables are done (or brown at the same time in a separate skillet). Drain off fat and set aside.
Spread pizza dough on pizza stone or pizza pan. Spread 1/2 c. marinara sauce on each sheet of dough, leaving about 1/2 inch of edge uncovered. Sprinkle 1 c. mozzarella on each calzone. Working on one half of the calzone, sprinkle mushrooms over calzone. Add onion, garlic, and green pepper. Top with sausage.
Mix together parsley, oregano, basil, and rosemary. Sprinkle herbs over calzone. Fold calzone in half by carefully lifting one half and laying it down across the other. Pinch the ends shut to keep sauce from leaking out. Slice 2 or 3 vents on top of the calzone to allow steam to escape and keep it from exploding (trust me on this one). Top with a drizzle of olive oil and some shredded mozzarella and/or herb mixture.
Bake at 400 F. for 15 minutes, or until crust is golden brown (usually what I go by). Remove from oven and allow to cool on pan for about 5 minutes before removing to a platter and serving. Makes 2 big calzones. Serves 4.
- Totally not at all related to this post, but Jordan Knight's "One More Night" just started playing on my Pandora. I seriously, seriously love Mr. Knight and the rest of the New Kids. I'm never in a bad mood when I listen to this music. Screw Enya. I need me some early 90s pop!
- You work on one half of the calzone because when you fold it, all the ingredients will tumble off and create a big mess. It's easier to clean up a little sauce and cheese if they fall off, rather than half a pizza.
- I've used turkey sausage with good results. It's really easy to switch in and there's not really a noticeable difference.
- You can also use your choice of meat here. I usually make one with sausage and one with pepperoni for Graham.
- Fillings are totally up to you here. It's pretty unreal how easy they are.
- As you can see from the picture, one is calzone shaped, the other is more rolled. I didn't roll out the crust as much as I intended, so it was more a pizza pocket. Graham cut right into that sucker! It still worked, though. He didn't complain, so I'm saying it worked. SO THERE.
- These are PHEE-NOM-INAL when stuffed with melted cheddar (or Velveeta) and ham. ooooooooooooooohhhh.............