the Calzone

 It is really the perfect food.  Yummy dough with cheese and sauce and veggies and meat all inside a little pocket.  We have been making these a lot over the past few months.  Not only are they delish, they make excellent dinners to take to friends who are sick or have babies or just need a little something yummy in their house! 

The Calzone begins with regular ol pizza dough.  So yes, you can make pizza with this.  Now, in full disclosure…. Up until about a year and a half ago I used to buy Trader Joe’s pizza dough. I THOUGHT dough would be too hard to make and their dough was decent.  Making your own dough is, in my opinion, cheaper and much more delicious AND EASY! 

PIZZA DOUGH

 
1 teaspoon active/instant yeast
3 cups flour, plus more to roll out…
2 teaspoons coarse  salt
2-3 pinches of sugar
1  cups room temperature water
2 -3 tablespoons olive oil
 
Combine the yeast, flour, sugar and salt in a bowl. (I do this with my kitchen aide and a dough hook attachment.  I believe food processor works too.  Or, your hand and a mixing spoon, although then you must make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients to dump the wet ingredients into..)
 Slowly add oil as you mix.  Then slowly add the water (again, the dough hook takes care of the slow mixing part of this.  Basically you want a slow incorporation between the dry and wet ingredients..)
The mixture should start to come together and form a ball.  It will be sticky if you touch it, but not too wet that it glues to your hand (add more flour if so) OR too dry that it won’t stick together really well (add more water).
 
Then, after the dough is a ball, leave it in a big bowl.  Place a dishtowel over the top.  Place the bowl somewhere it can get a bit of heat.. (I have used a window sill, the top of my oven while I am baking something, on top of the heating vent… although the vent location makes the towel blow off so I have to rubber band that on.)  If nothing is noticeably warmer, your dough will still rise …It will just take a long time (like overnight).  With a little heat help, my dough has usually doubled in 3-4 hours. 
Once it has doubled, take your fist and punch the air out.  I have left the dough as long as 24 hours out of the fridge.  Usually after I punch the dough I either use it or put the whole bowl in the fridge with the towel on top.  It will last in the fridge with the towel for a day (and will rise some more too..) or in a sealed tupperware for as long as 5 days.  If I cannot eat enough pizza before then, I freeze it.  Before using any dough I bring it to room temperature otherwise it is very difficult to roll out. 

{ball of dough all ready to roll!}
This recipe gets me 5 medium-sized calzones usually
or two good-sized pizzas.  I tend to really roll my calzone dough thin though, but my pizza dough I am less concerned with.  And by “good-sized pizza” I mean occupies most surface area of a cookie sheet in a somewhat elliptical shape. : )

For calzones — After you roll the dough out, place all the ingredients on one half of the dough and fold the other size over the toppings.   You can stuff them with just about anything.  My basic rule is:

Cheeses + Sauce + Topping

(just think of the possibilities here…. YUM!)

I then use a fork to press down all edges.  I also use a fork to poke holes in the top of the dough so the calzone does not explode.   (I have also been known to use my fork prongs to differentiate a “M”eat calzone from a “V”eggie.. or the first letter of a new baby’s name….)

{a whole bunch of calzones ready for parchment paper wrappings and delivery!}
 
They cook for 22-25 min at 375 degrees –until there are golden brown edges.
For pizza I simply load all my ingredients on and pop in the oven.  12-14 min on 360… and the edges are nicely golden.

The best way to give these away is by wrapping them in a piece of parchment paper.  All the recipient has to do is unwrap and lay the parchment paper flat on a baking sheet and place the calzone on top.  The calzone will never stick and clean up involves tossing the used parchment paper.

Enjoy!

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