Adventure to Calzone Land

Pizza is one of those dinners that I enjoy immensely, especially if it's homemade. Yeasty dough, fresh sautéed veg, more pizza sauce than strictly necessary and real cheese. I've made a lot of pizza in my life, but for the first time ever the dough made a fold and my first calzone was born.

The adventure starts with the dough. When I worked for a test kitchen, my favourite recipe tester created an easy and quick pizza dough recipe. 

Pizza Dough

(Sourced from the Blue Flame Kitchen)

1 1/2 cups (375 mL) warm water (104ºF/40ºC) 
1 tbsp (15 mL) sugar
1 pkg (8 g) active dry yeast 
3 tbsp (40 mL) olive oil 
3 cups (750 mL) flour 
1 tsp (5 mL) salt 
Cornmeal 
Olive oil

 How to knead. In triple speed.

How to knead. In triple speed.

Combine warm water and sugar, stirring to dissolve. Sprinkle yeast on top. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Drizzle in 3 tbsp (40 mL) oil.
Place flour and salt in a food processor fitted with a dough blade; process to combine. With machine running, pour yeast mixture through feed tube of food processor. Process just until dough comes together and forms a ball, about 1 minute.

Turn dough out onto a floured surface. Knead until dough is smooth and elastic, about 1 – 2 minutes. Shape dough into a ball. Transfer dough to an oiled bowl; turn dough to coat with oil. Cover with a plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm draft-free place for 30 minutes. (Aside: I usually pre-heat my oven before I start the dough. That way the top of the stove is warm by the time the dough needs to rise.)

Preheat oven to 425ºF (220ºC). Grease a rimmed baking sheet or pizza pan and sprinkle with cornmeal. On a lightly floured surface, flatten dough and roll out to fit prepared pan. Pat dough into prepared pan and press dough up around edges to form a rim. Brush dough with oil and prick all over with a fork.

Bake, uncovered, for 15 – 20 minutes or until golden brown. May be frozen. Makes 1 crust.

While the dough definitely makes the homemade calzone mouth wateringly amazing, the filling is just as important. I have two picture sets above. One of Veggie Pepperoni (my first calzone) and the other of Spinach, Goat Cheese and Chili Pulled Beef (respectively, my second).

Veggie Pepperoni Calzone Filling

1 TBSP olive oil
1/2 white onion, chopped
6 - 8 large white mushrooms, sliced
1 tsp coarsely ground pepper
1 large zucchini, sliced into 1 cm rounds, halved
1 can artichoke hearts, drained and halved
200g deli pepperoni
Old Cheddar, grated
Pizza sauce

  1. Heat oil over medium heat in a large frying pan. Add onions. Sauté till translucent. About 10 minutes. 
  2. Add sliced mushrooms. Add pepper. Cook until mushrooms start to reduce in size.
  3. Add zucchini. Stir together. Cook till zucchini is starting to turn translucent and mushrooms start to brown. Remove pan from heat.
  4. Spread pizza sauce on one side of prepared pizza dough. 
  5. Layer pepperoni, mushroom and zucchini mixture, artichokes and cheese on top of sauce.
  6. Fold over non-pizza saucey side on top of toppings, rolling the dough edges together slightly. Cut slits in the top. Bake according to dough instructions. 

Spinach, Goat Cheese and Chili Pulled Beef Calzone Filling

1 TBSP olive oil 
1/2 red onion, cut into rings, halved and broken up
1 bunch spinach, washed and dried
1 lb chili pulled beef (recipe below)
130g goat cheese, crumbled
Pizza Sauce

  1. Heat oil over medium heat in a large frying pan. Add onions. Sauté till they start becoming limp. About 10 minutes.
  2. Add spinach. Stir. Let leaves cook until limp. Remove pan from heat. 
  3. Spread pizza sauce on one side of prepared pizza dough. 
  4. Layer spinach mixture, pulled beef and goat cheese on top of sauce.
  5. Fold over non-pizza saucey side on top of toppings, rolling the dough edges together slightly. Cut slits in the top. Bake according to dough instructions. 

Chili Pulled Beef

Pre-heat oven to 325F. 
In a oven-safe pot or dutch oven, heat 1 TBSP oil. Sear 1 lb chuck beef roast on all sides. Add 4 TBSP of chili powder (two to each side of roast) and 4 tsp cumin (two to each side of roast) to roast. Fry in oil till meat is golden.  Add one can of beer (I did an IPA) to the dutch oven, pouring it over the meat. Bake, with lid on, for 2 hours, flipping over meat every 30 minutes, or until liquid is reduced to about a 1/4 cup (eyeball it!).
To pull beef apart, take two forks and pull meat apart by criss-crossing the fork tines and then pulling them away from each other. 

Now that I have adventured into the land of the Calzone a may only infrequently return to pizza-ville.

Hope you can recreate!

-Andrea 

The Half-Assed Hobbyist