Calzones!

One of my favorite things to do is reading cookbooks. During a snack with Maya today (one of many snacks since she is always hungry), I was reading a couple and came across a picture of a calzone. So, I said, “Do you want to make calzones?” Not even knowing what a calzone is, she of course said, “yes.” She loves helping me in the kitchen. And I love cooking with her too. Why use a stand mixer when you have a willing 4-year-old? Not to mention that I have been trying to find more ways to use my homegrown zucchini. Although I’ve never made calzones before, they turned out pretty good. Here’s the run-down:

Dough Ingredients (adapted from Jamie Oliver)

  • 4 cups bread flour (or all-purpose flour)
  • 3.5 teaspoons dry yeast
  • 2.5 tablespoons honey
  • 3.5 teaspoons salt (I use kosher)
  • 1.5 cups warm water (from the tap is fine)

Filling Ingredients – The possibilities are endless, but here is what I included today:

  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 medium-sized zucchini, diced
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, diced
  • 3 tomatoes, diced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • salt, pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
  • mozzarella, shredded

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I believe that the original purpose of the calzone was to use up odd bits and ends of things leftover in the kitchen. I can see adding bits of salami, prosciutto, leftover meats, ends of cheeses, artichoke hearts, olives, pickled peppers, etc. Like I said, the possibilities are endless!

First, make the dough. I wish I had a large cutting board because then I could make the dough right on there and not have to wash any bowls, but my largest one isn’t big enough. So, we used a bowl. Put all the flour in a bowl (or on a large cutting board), make a well in the center, and fill the well with the yeast, honey, and water.

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Mix the ingredients in the center, then start to incorporate the flour into the mixture. Add the salt.

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After the dough has come together, put it on a lightly floured board, and knead 10-12 times.

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Cover loosely with a cloth and let it rest for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400.

While the dough is resting, prepare the filling. Heat a little olive oil in a skillet. Lightly brown the filling ingredients (except for the tomatoes) over medium heat.

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After a few minutes, add the tomatoes, salt, pepper, and thyme. Cook over medium-high heat for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally. The goal is to evaporate as much of the water from the tomatoes as possible. After all, you don’t want soggy calzones! When the mixture is relatively water-free, put it on a wide, shallow plate. This allows it to cool quickly.

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Divide the dough into 4 pieces. Roll into 7-8 inch circles (about 1/2-inch thick). Put a little cheese on half, spoon on the filling, and add a little more cheese. (At this point, I added olives to one of the calzones. I kept it separate from the mixture because not everyone likes olives.) Fold the dough in half, pinch the edges together, score with a knife to allow steam to escape during the baking process, and place on a cookie sheet dusted with cornmeal. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown.

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Nico (1) has decided that homegrown zucchini is the vegetable of the week, so he ate almost all of my filling. Hopefully you can eat more of yours than I got to! Enjoy!

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