A calzone is sort of like a piece of pizza that has been folded into a pocket, or a turnover. It is made of pizza dough with some sort of filling on the inside. The filling almost always involves at least one type of cheese, though meats and vegetables are common inclusions.
There is some controversy over the calzone and it stems from the sauce. A lot of people think that there should be no sauce inside of the calzone, just filling. They believe that the calzone should be serve with or dipped into sauce. There are others who feel that there should be sauce inside the calzone. Since it looks like something that should be portable, they feel that the calzone should be a self-contained meal.
I am open to both ways, though I am picky about my fillings. I recall ordering a calzone at a local Italian restaurant, as a child, a getting a football-sized mound of cheese with some dough wrapped around it. It was revolting – and I loved cheese. Needless to say, I avoided the dish for many years after that experience, but once I realized that not all calzones were like that, I began to indulge from time to time.
I like a little bit of sauce in my calzones, with more on the side. I like only a little bit of cheese and a lot of other filling – vegetables, sausage, etc – even though cheese and sauce is all you really need to have a good calzone. I used my recipe for basic pizza dough to make the pockets, rolling it fairly thin. The most important thing in calzone making is to pinch the dough shut tightly so that the filling doesn’t escape. This is not my strong suit. I suggest using a fork to press the edges together. Make sure to cut a slit or two in the top of the calzone with a sharp knife, or no amound of pinching will prevent some leakage.
The recipe below gives you a lot of options. Once you have the dough ready, you can fill it with just about anything. The cheese, veggie and meat options are all simply suggestions. I like mine with mushrooms, though other excellent combinations are: broccoli-ricotta, chicken-mushroom, spinach-ricotta-mozarella, chicken-sausage-mozarella, ricotta-mozarella….
1 recipe basic pizza dough, risen once
cheeses: mozarella, ricotta
veggies (pre-cooked) : broccoli, spinach; mushrooms
meats (pre-cooked): sausage, chicken
marinara sauce: optional
Preheat oven to 400F.
Divide the pizza dough into 6 equal pieces and let rest for a few minutes. Working with once piece at a time, roll out into a thin, flat circle, about 1/4-inch thick. Spread half of the circle with filling of your choice (a little bit of sauce topped with a pile of meat/cheese/veggies) and fold over the other half of the circle. Pinch tightly with the prongs of a fork to seal. Place on parchment-lined baking sheet.
Repeat with remaining dough.
Cut a small slit or two into each calzone with a sharp knife and bake for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown.
Note: The calzones can be frozen when they are filled but unbaked. They will take longer to bake, but they can be placed directly into the oven from the freezer – on a baking sheet, of course.