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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.

Serve hot.

Makes 6.

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.

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  • Ivonne
    April 14, 2006

    If I send you a self-addressed stamped envelope would you send me one of those???

    Unbelievable, Nic! As always you’re baking is amazing.

  • water
    April 14, 2006

    calzone? It’s so similiar with the the Chinese food “烙饼”, annouced “lao bing”, which is frequently ate as a main food in some parts of the North China.
    The making of the dough is the same and the fillings are also two parts – the vegetable and the non-vegetable.
    I ate one filled with cabbage, vermicelli and pork, precooked before mainly with the soysauce and a little sesame oil. Can be spicy or not.,taste juicy and delicious.
    Also, a one with leek and egg can be easyly prepared and also very tasty.
    But the”烙饼” do not use oven or grill. I saw people in the countyside using a large metal pan to bake them, many can be done at the same time. Turn over one by one and served instantly when done.

  • Shauna
    April 15, 2006

    What a beautiful shot, Nic. This makes me wish I could eat calzones again!

  • Randi
    April 17, 2006

    Im of the opinion that calzones should not have sauce and should always have ricotta. I grew up in Florida where most everyone is a transplanted NYer. So, our calzones always have ricotta. Here in Ontario, they are called panzerotti and never have ricotta and always have sauce.

  • Fiber
    April 20, 2006

    Yes, please!!
    Looks fantastic!

  • mike
    February 6, 2010

    hi Nicole,
    I wanted to make something unique for our superbowl party tomorrow and thought of calzones (never made them before). I googled calzones and found your recipe. The picture sold me, and they sound DELICIOUS (and not too hard to make 🙂 )! Wish me luck (and wish the New Orleans Saints luck too)!!! Mike

  • Coffee Shops
    April 20, 2010

    I love reading your blog and love every picture you have posted. Keep it up.!

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