There was this great little calzone shop in the town I grew up in for a few years. D.P. Dough. Man, those were some good calzones. When that shop opened up in town, it was the first time I’d ever had a calzone, and for a while there, I probably could have had one every day. Revelatory! They were actually a chain, I guess. There was randomly one in town where my cousins went to college.
A calzone is an oven-baked folded pizza that, according to the Interwebs, originated in Naples, Italy. A traditional calzone uses a salted bread dough, and is baked in a super hot oven after being stuffed with meat (ham or salami) and mozzarella, ricotta, and Parmesan or pecorino cheese. But I haven’t seen (or made) a traditional calzone in a while – and why limit yourself, really??
This past weekend, My Tiny Sous Chef and I took a little trip out east to visit my parents for a few days. Every time we take her back to my home town, where I lived from the time I was four until I left for college at 18, I share just one or two more childhood memories with her–often at least one of those has to do with food (of course). Maybe that’s why the idea of calzones popped into my head. Whatever the reason, I’m glad it did. You can get fancy and complicated with calzones if you want. Or you can keep it simple. Or somewhere in between. But on a weeknight — and a Monday after a weekend away, at that! — this easy and delicious version will satisfy every time, guaranteed. Here you go.
WHAT YOU NEED
* 1 bag baby spinach
* 5oz sliced button mushrooms
* 1/2 a sweet onion, sliced thin
* 2T olive oil, divided
* 8oz ricotta cheese
* 3/4C-1C shredded mozzarella cheese
* 1 egg, plus 1 egg yolk
* 2t minced garlic
* 1t dried oregano
* 1lb prepared pizza dough (I like Trader Joe’s)
* grated Parmesan cheese
* your favorite pizza or marinara sauce, warmed up, for serving
WHAT TO DO
Preheat the oven to 500F. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray, set aside.
Boil some water in a medium-sized pot. When it gets to a rolling boil, turn off the heat and add the whole bag of spinach. Leave the spinach in the water just a minute, to wilt. Drain and pat dry with a paper towel.
Heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat in a pan and cook the mushrooms and onions just until softened, a few minutes. Remove from heat.
In a large bowl, mix together the spinach, mushrooms, onions, ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, the other tablespoon of olive oil, 1 egg yolk, garlic, and oregano.
In a small bowl whisk together the full egg with two tablespoons of water to prepare an egg wash. Set aside.
Flour a working surface and cut your pizza dough into four equal sized pieces. Roll each out into an approximately 6-8-inch round. Place a quarter of the cheese and vegetable filling on one half of each round – pile it up. It will look like a lot, but you want it to be *stuffed* so don’t be shy with your filling. Be sure to leave about a half-inch to an inch border around the edge.
Fold the other half of the dough round over the filling and pinch the edges together. Crimp or fold the seam (or just press it together) to seal. Brush the seams and each calzone with the egg wash and place the calzones onto the prepared baking sheet. Use a sharp knife to cut 4-5 small steam vents in the top of each.
Bake at 500F for 8 minutes. Then remove the calzones from the oven, brush the tops with the remainder of the egg wash, and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake another 7 minutes. Allow the calzones to cool slightly before serving so that the filling can set and isn’t runny, and so you can pick up your calzone for ultimate dipping in the warmed marinara sauce!