I love bread. Especially hot fresh bread right out of the oven. There’s something magical about it really.
I also love cheese. Oh, cheese. How wonderful you are in all your many forms! Soft, hard, gooey, creamy, and best of all, melted.
So when you combine fresh hot bread, and gooey delicious cheese to make pizza, my heart starts to flutter.
Ah, pizza! There’s so many variations and possibilities. Thick crust, thin crust, tomato sauce, garlic sauce, white sauce, etc. A well made pizza is truly a joy to behold, and even more of a joy to eat.
It’s not the most portable food though. Oh sure, cold pizza is portable enough, but disgusting as far as I’m concerned. If it’s not piping hot and gooey, I will be sad.
That’s why I’m so thankful to whoever invented calzone! Portable pizza! It’s brilliant! Right? Right?! Am I the only one excited about this?! It’s like a pizza sandwich people!
If you like making pizza, but want to try something different, calzones are a nice alternative. Everyone can customize their calzone with whatever fillings they want. You can make them with the sauce in them, or leave the sauce out altogether, and provide several different sauces at the table for dipping (think tomato, garlic butter, pesto, alfredo sauce, etc.).
Calzones are also great for packed lunches. They freeze well, re-heat well, and aren’t messy. When you make them for dinner, simply make a bunch of extras, and then individually wrap and freeze them. You can just pop one out of the freezer the night before you need it, microwave or toast it the next morning, and pop it in your lunchbox. Fast, easy, and homemade, so you aren’t getting a bunch of weird preservatives and artificial stuff like the frozen pizza things in the supermarket. Oh yeah, these taste much better too.
Unlike normal pizza dough which has to rise for about an hour, this dough only kneads to rest for about five minutes. I don’t know why. I didn’t make this recipe. I’ve had it for a few years now, so I don’t remember where I got it, but trust me, it’s good. Good and fast.
Calzones (makes 4 large calzones)
- 1 c. warm water
- 2 tsp. dry yeast
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 Tbsp. sugar
- 1 tsp. salt
- 3 c. flour (approximately)
- 3 c. marinara sauce (approximately) (you can substitute any sauce you like or leave out the sauce altogether)
- 2 c. mozzarella cheese
- Fillings – use whatever you like (cooked mushrooms, onions, spinach, green peppers, cooked Italian sausage, pepperoni, etc. Go wild. Just make sure that any vegetables that contains a lot of water (like spinach and mushrooms) are cooked before you put them in the calzone. If they aren’t, they’ll release all that water inside of the calzone as it bakes, and you’ll end up with a soggy calzone. Ew).
- 1 Tbsp. melted butter or olive oil (optional)
- Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F (190 C).
- In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Stir in sugar, oil, salt, and 1 c. flour.
- Continue gradually adding flour and mixing until dough is easy to handle.
- Pour out dough on a lightly floured surface, and knead for about 5 minutes, or until dough is smooth and elastic.
- Cover dough with bowl, and let rest for 5 minutes.
- Cut dough into four equally sized pieces. Roll out each piece into a 10″ circle. Place sauce, cheese, and any other fillings on one half of the dough circle (leave a little space at the edge with nothing on it). Fold the side of dough with nothing on it over the side with everything on it and crimp it shut with your fingers or a fork. Place on a parchment paper lined or greased baking sheet.
- Bake for 15 minutes, then brush tops of calzones with melted butter (optional). Return to oven and bake for another 10 – 15 minutes (total bake time of 25 – 30 minutes), or until golden brown.