Thursday, April 28, 2011


I don't have a "finished" calzone picture because I was hungry. Please admire my raw calzone.

Recently Andy discovered an early British show with Jamie Oliver on Netflix, Oliver’s Twist. We both love Jamie Oliver and support his food revolution. We also have one of his cookbooks but have yet to see one of his TV shows, so we were intrigued. In two of the shows we watched Jamie made calzones (pronounce the word “calzo-neighs” and you’ll be in the British spirit of the program), both a sweet and a savory.

Watching this got us hankering for calzones, especially since we’ve never made them before and so it became a bit of a challenge. After making the calzones a couple nights later we realized that they’re just pizzas folded over and cooked a bit longer. There’s really nothing to calzone making. For all those calzone novices and pizza experts, you are just 3 simple steps away from making a delicious dinner (or lunch).

Andy's ingredients. Our small plates were a bit too big for one calzone.

Making pizza dough is super easy, even more so if you have a stand mixer to knead the dough for you (or an overactive child who likes to mush things). Andy usually makes the dough and he uses a recipe from Cooking for Dads, which is a website I highly recommend; though I’m sure Jamie Oliver has a recipe too that you could use, since we’re making these calzones at his urging. You could get a pre-made dough if you don’t have time to do your own. Once you get your dough made, roll it out all at once and use a small plate (these are individual sized, unless you only have large plates) to cut out circles for the calzones. For pizzas I usually make them free form, but it’s good to have a symmetrical shape for calzones so that everything seals up evenly.

Load up your calzone like a pizza. Don’t worry about putting all the ingredients on one side, the dough should easily stretch over. We used tomato sauce, sauteed onions and peppers, olives, goat cheese and Parmesan. This is a good meal to use up leftovers, don’t be afraid to try new combinations and use up the odds and ends in your refrigerator. Alfredo sauce or pesto would be good sauce options. The typical pizza toppings such as sausage, pepperoni, you could try chicken or ground beef (maybe cheeseburger calzone?). Different cheeses would give your calzone unique tastes and are always fun to try. You could even take a cue from Mesa pizza and make mac and cheese calzones, but maybe it’s best to take things slowly. To seal up the calzone pull up one side and fold it over the other. To make sure it's really shut it helps to kind of roll up the edge, plus it looks pretty. Slash the top a few times with a knife to let steam out. And the calzone is ready to go into the oven at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes (or until you think it looks done).

My calzone, it looks a little pathetic after seeing Andy's, but it was scrumptious!

Extra calzones do fairly well refrigerated (after baking) and eaten the next day for lunch. Just make sure your lunch bag is big enough to handle it. If you want to show off for a crowd these are pretty simple meals to create for people in advance. Or you could have a DIY calzone party, which is always awesome. If you want to get really crazy, you can do like my friend Matt and make a Stromboli. Whatever you choose to do calzones are really easy and make a satisfying “gourmet” meal!

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