Give me a combination of bread and cheese I’m pretty much set. Include more pizza-related toppings and I’ll be happy forever. (Maybe a slight exaggeration, but really, not that much.)
When I was in college, one of the dining halls had a pizza bar where you could make your own pizza, and I was delighted when I realized that I could ask them to fold it in half at the end to make it a calzone. That one simple change up made all the difference to have my ordinary pizza into something special. Getting tired of your same old pizza? Try this recipe on for size! And if you have dip-happy children, maybe they’ll enjoy being able to dunk their calzone in the warm marinara sauce!
Tip: you can add other pizza toppings into your calzones based on your family’s preferences, but be sure not to have them get too wet, lest the toppings ooze out the sides or make the dough too soggy.
What you need:
- 2 ¾ c. bread flour
- ¼ c. cornmeal
- 2 t. instant yeast*
- 2 t. kosher salt
- ¼ t. black pepper
- 1 c. lukewarm water (about 105F)
- 1 c. ricotta cheese
- 8 oz. Italian sausage, browned
- 5 oz. frozen spinach, defrosted and drained
- 1 c. shredded mozzarella
- 1 c. parmesan cheese
- 1 egg
- Marinara sauce for dipping
*Instant Yeast is different than Active Dry Yeast. While it doesn’t necessarily make your dough rise faster (I wish!), the main difference is that the yeast does not need to be dissolved in water before incorporating it into the recipe.
- stand mixer fitted with a dough hook
- large mixing bowl, clean kitchen towel or proof cover
- skillet for browning sausage
- large baking sheet
- parchment paper
- rolling pin
- pastry brush
Time: 2-2 1/2 hours, including rising time
Freezeable: I have not tried this yet, but think that it should be possible to form the calzones and prebake them slightly and freeze them. If you give it a shot, let me know how it goes! I know you’d be able to freeze the dough after the first rise. Frozen pizza dough balls are great to have around.
Serves: Makes 4 (very) large or 8 medium calzones
Multiplying the recipe: I would mix the dough in separate batches.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine flour, cornmeal, yeast, salt, and pepper. While mixing on low, add the lukewarm water and olive oil. Increase the speed of the mixer and knead with the dough hook for 3-5 minutes. Spread about one tablespoon of flour on the counter (just enough to keep the dough from sticking) and knead by hand a few turns until you have formed a smooth round ball of dough. Place in a greased bowl and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Let rise for 1-2 hours, until doubled in size.
Brown the Italian sausage. Mix together the cooked sausage, spinach, ricotta, mozzarella, and parmesan.
Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. When the dough has risen, turn out onto a lightly floured counter and divide into 4 to 8 pieces, depending on how large you want your calzones. Add the filing on one side of the circle. Wet the edge of the dough with water and fold it in half. Press the edges together to seal. Use a fork to stamp the edges. Line them up on the prepare pan. Bake for 25 minutes. Brush the tops of the calzones with an egg wash and return them to the oven for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, until crust is lightly browned.
Serve with warm marinara sauce for dipping.