Easy Calzone

Easy Calzone - serves 4 - 6

 
2 - Rhodes Bread Loaves - (TAKE THESE OUT IN THE MORNING SO THE DOUGH IS READY BY THE EARLY EVENING - ABOUT 8 HOURS AHEAD) spray a cookie sheet with Pam, place frozen bread loaves on pan a few inches apart and then spray the top of the bread loaves with Pam and cover lightly with wax paper.  If the dough hasn't raised up enough, turn your oven on low and when it is preheated, shut it off and place the dough in the oven until it is ready to use. 
 
 
Roasted garlic - for the garlic lover and great for basting your calzone with before baking it
 
1 or 2 heads of garlic with cloves separated but not peeled.
 
Put  cloves in a small baking dish and drizzle extra virgin olive oil over the cloves until almost covered with oil.
Bake in the oven at 350 uncovered until the oil is bubbly - about 15 minutes.  Remove from the oven and cover with foil.  As soon as the oil cools down, remove foil and simply slice the skin of the garlic down the middle and pop the garlic out back into the oil.  You can make this a couple of days ahead and just cover it with plastic wrap and leave it on the counter.
 
 
Sauce:
 
1 - 6oz can of tomato paste
1 - 8oz can of tomato sauce
2 tbls extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1/4 tsp red chili flakes
3-4 large cloves of garlic - minced
1-1/2 tsp of Italian seasoning - use fresh if you have it  (thyme, oregano, rosemary, basil)
 
Mix and cover.  If using it the day you are making the calzone, leave it out on the counter so the spices blend better - or it can be made a couple of days ahead but you should refrigerate it.  If you have leftovers, use it as a base for spaghetti sauce or as a good dipping sauce for warm bread sticks.
 
Meat:
 
Cook any type of sausage (about 1 pound) - a blend of spicy and sweet Italian sausage is delicious.  If you like burger, that works well too if you spice it up with lots of garlic, salt and pepper.  Drain the cooked meat and set aside in a dish.  You can also buy a roasted chicken and pull the meat off the bone and shred it with your fingers into bite-sized pieces.
 
Saute:
 
2 tbls (or more if necessary) extra virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion - roughly chopped
3-4 large cloves of garlic - minced
1/2 pound of cleaned and thinly sliced crimini or white button mushrooms
1/4 cup green bell pepper - roughly chopped
1/4 cup yellow bell pepper - roughly chopped
1/4 cup red bell pepper - roughly chopped
 
Heat the olive oil for a minute and then add the above ingredients and cook until slightly clear but still have some crunch left to the veggies.  Mix the meat into the cooked veggies.  Set aside.  This can also be made ahead and refrigerated.
 
Fillings:
Pepperoni - I use the Hormel turkey pepperoni - it has great flavor and very little fat
2/3 cup black olives - cut in half
Mozzarella cheese - grated
Parmesan cheese - grated
Roasted garlic cloves - see above instructions
 
**If using roasted chicken, try using ricotta cheese in the filling or feta with fresh baby spinach.
 
When the bread is ready to roll out, sprinkle some corn meal on your counter or cutting board and pick up your dough and lay it out on the board, stretching it into a rectangle.  Roll it out with a roller until it is about 1/4" thick or thicker if you like your calzone thick.  After rolling out each loaf, they should measure about 14-16" x 8".   Brush the dough with the garlic oil from roasting garlic or with extra virgin olive oil.  We like the sauce inside the calzone and on top of it after cooking.  However, you can leave the sauce out of the filling and just use it as a side dish.  On the bottom half of the dough, spread a couple large tablespoons of the sauce spreading evenly on the bottom half but try and stay away from the edges because it will tough to roll the edges with the sauce on it.  (We like the sauce inside the calzone and on top of it after cooking. However, you can leave the sauce out of the filling and just use it as a side dish.) Sprinkle the sauce with some mozzarella, then the meat and veggie mixture, pepperoni, olives and sprinkle again with some mozzarella and Parmesan.  Fold the dough in half over the fillings and press your thumb down all along the edge to seal the dough.  Then starting at the left side of the calzone, twist the dough moving along to the other side with your thumbs and index fingers so it looks twisted and sealed.   Spray Pam on a cookie sheet and quickly, but gently, pick up the calzone and place it on the cookie sheet moving it into a crescent shape.  Brush the top of the dough with the garlic oil or extra virgin olive oil and set aside while you make your second calzone. 
 
Heat oven to 375 degrees.
 
Put one calzone in the oven at a time and cook until golden brown - 15-20 minutes.  Remove and spoon more sauce over the top, sprinkle with mozzarella and Parmesan.  Let rest for 5 minutes and cut with a serrated knife into 3-4" segments.   Enjoy!
 
**The idea of this calzone is to fill it with the things you like - Canadian bacon, pineapple, pulled pork, ricotta, fresh spinach, fresh basil with tomatoes and mozzarella.  The less juice from your fillings, the better because you don't want to get the dough too soggy. 

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