November 18, 2013 by briantshock
It happens every time without fail; I look up a new recipe to follow from the internet or a cookbook and I end up having an anxiety attack trying to follow all the directions in a time frame that is conducive to producing a dish that is not completely ruined. The steps provided usually do not give fair enough warning of how long something will take, or what you could safely do while another step is in progress. So because of that, I thought I’d share with you some of my recipes so simple even an idiot can follow them (because he does regularly). This time around: Calzones.
I was really intimidated by the idea of making a calzone at first, since for some reason it sounded very complicated to me. Once you acknowledge that it’s really just a pizza that’s folded over on itself, you too can become empowered to conquer the calzone in the kitchen! Let’s get to it.
STUFF YOU’LL NEED
Pizza Crust (You can find pre-made tubes of pizza crust near all the biscuit dough. One tube should make two decently-sized calzones. You could make it yourself, but I assume if you’re reading this blog looking for answers you probably do not care to do this.)
Ricotta cheese (Get the real stuff. Throw that low-fat stuff in the trash. There’s no room for half-measures here.)
(That’s really the minimum for what you need. The rest is just filling and this is purely up to you. You want chicken? Cook some chicken and put it in there. You want pepperoni? Sure why not? For this example I will use spinach and mushrooms.)
STEP 1 (OPTIONAL) – DRINK ONE OR TWO GLASSES OF WINE
While this step is optional, I find it helps me with the entire process.
STEP 2 – GENTLEMEN START YOUR OVENS
Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees. It won’t take too long to get these calzones ready to go so start heating early.
STEP 3 – ROLL OUT
Remove the dough from the tube and start kneading it and smacking it around a little bit. You want to work the dough enough so you can roll it down to about 1/4 of an inch thickness with a rolling pin, working towards a generally circular shape. A lot of recipes will call for a “dough press” but that’s just absurd; we need not bother ourselves with such contraptions!
STEP 4 – GET A MIXTURE READY
In a mixing bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese with any other fillings you want to put inside your calzone. You’re going to want to prepare enough to stuff it pretty well, but I’d recommend going lighter on the ricotta. This stuff gets filling fast and overpowers the rest of the fillings easily. This would be where I mix in the spinach and mushrooms. You can mix in your chicken or gummy bears or whatever you want, I don’t care.
STEP 5 – FILL ‘ER UP
Spoon out that mixture into one half of circular flat dough. Make sure you leave some room at the edges! We’re going to need to be able to seal all this goodness in.
STEP 6 – FOLD THAT DOUGH
This can be a little tricky. Most recipes will say to use that dough press for this, but as we’ve established earlier we have opted to forego such frivolous contraptions. Before you fold anything, brush a bit of water around the edge to try to make sealing the dough a little easier. Take the non-filled half of the calzone and fold it over the filled half, lining up the wet edges. Mush those edges together now. It also helps to use a fork, pressing the prongs down along the edges to bind the dough together.
STEP 7 – THROW THAT MESS IN THE OVEN
It’s time to finally put the calzones into the oven, provided it’s 400 degrees by now, of course! Before you do that, brush a bit of olive oil all over the crust.
This is probably a good place to mention that you’ll need to cut a slit or two on the top of each calzone. I forgot to do this so that’s why they look as deformed as they do in that picture. I mean, they look so “bursting with flavor” – yeah, that’s it.
STEP 8 – THE WAITING GAME IS THE HARDEST PART
Not much left to do now than just wait it out. This will take longer than a pizza so expect this to take about 20 minutes, but start checking on that around the 15 minute mark. I don’t want to get any angry emails from you people having burnt calzones. This gives you plenty of time to read some more great blog posts, or maybe heating up a marinara sauce on the burner might be a more relevant use of time.
STEP 9 – IF IT’S BROWN, GO TO TOWN
After the 20 minute mark this dough should be getting pretty golden-brown. Once the shell looks like it’s cooked, it’s time to take it out, since it’s probably getting kind of burned or crispy on the bottom. I know you’re impatient, but give it a couple of minutes to cool and harden before diving in. See? Not so hard!
This recipe was based off of the directions “How to Make a Calzone Like a Pizza Shop” at preparedpantry.com