I always thought calzones were one of those sacred things that only professional bakers could make. Every time we ordered from our favorite brick-oven pizzeria I always made sure to get one – plain cheese, spinach and cheese, or broccoli and cheese. Mmm mmm.
Then I discovered something. Calzones are really easy to make.
This revelation took the magic away from the pizzeria downtown, but who cares because now I can make calzones at home. Anytime I want. With whatever filling I choose. If you can make a simple pizza dough and mix a few cheeses together in a bowl, you too can have this awesome power.
If you want to make life easy for yourself (and let’s face it, who doesn’t) split the preparation of this meal into two stages. Make the dough a day in advance and store it in the fridge overnight (instructions below). The next day remove the dough from the fridge about 1.5 hours before dinnertime so it has time to warm up and rise. Make the filling 30 minutes before you’re ready to assemble the calzones, then put them together and pop them in the oven. When my son is a little older he’s going to be in charge of shaping the calzones. Working with dough is great busy work for little hands!
Scroll down to the recipe section for a video of me shaping the calzones. I always learn best by watching someone do something.
This post was originally published on my previous blog, Baking and Books.
Three Cheese Broccoli Calzones (My recipe)
For the dough: Makes 4 calzones
- 1 1/2 cups warm water
- 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 3 to 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 egg, for glaze
In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer combine the warm water, yeast, whole-wheat flour and 1/2 cup of the all-purpose flour. Mix with a whisk, then allow to stand at room temperature for 15 minutes.
Add the salt and olive oil and mix to combine. Now add the remaining all-purpose flour 1/2 cup at a time, mixing between additions with a wooden spoon or with the paddle attachment of your mixer. When the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl dust with flour and turn out onto a lightly-floured surface to knead by hand. Knead for 4 minutes, dusting with flour as needed to prevent sticking. The dough is ready to rise when it is smooth and springy. It will be relatively soft compared to other bread doughs. Shape into a ball and transfer to a large bowl that has been greased with 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Turn the dough to coat, then cover the bowl loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm place for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until doubled in volume.
** Note: If you are preparing the dough a day in advance, after rising gently deflate the dough and place it in a large, lightly oiled airtight container. Press a large piece of plastic wrap directly on the dough to prevent it from forming a crust. Seal the container with the lid and place in the fridge. The next day, allow the dough to come to room temperature before proceeding, which usually takes about 40 minutes if you place the dough in a warm place.
20 minutes before the dough’s rising time is up (or while the refrigerated dough is coming to room temperature), make the broccoli and cheese filling, outlined below. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Gently deflate the dough and transfer to a lightly floured work surface. If it is too sticky to handle, dust with a small amount of flour, just until you can shape the dough without it sticking to your work surface. Divide into 4 portions, shaping each portion into a ball.
Working with 1 ball of dough at a time, roll it out into a rough 8-inch circle. Spoon a quarter of the broccoli filling onto half of the circle, leaving at least 1 1/2 inch border around the edge. Gently pull the other side of the circle over the filling, lining it up with the other edge to form a half-moon shape. Press the edges together with the tines of a fork. With a pizza cutter trace the outer edges of the dough, removing excess dough and shaping the seal into a half circle. Now crimp the edges of the dough using your index fingers – grab small sections of the outer edge and fold them toward the filled part of the calzone, forming small triangles. Repeat across the edge of the calzone. (See video below for illustration)
Transfer calzones to the parchment paper lined baking sheet. With a sharp knife cut 3 slits on top of the calzone to allow steam to escape during baking. Make an egg wash by combining 1 egg with about 1 tablespoon of water. Whisk together, then lightly brush the wash over each calzone.
Bake at 475 degrees F for 18-20 minutes, or until the calzones are golden brown. Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before serving, with marinara sauce if you like.
For the filling: Makes 4 calzones
- 1 10-oz package frozen, chopped broccoli, thawed and warmed
- 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup yellow onion, diced
- 1 15-oz carton ricotta cheese
- 2/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- Salt and pepper to taste
Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add diced onion and a generous pinch of salt. Cook until softened and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes.
Cook the broccoli according to package instructions, omitting salt and fat. I generally just microwave the broccoli for 4 minutes, then drain it on a plate lined with paper towels. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine the cooked onion, broccoli, ricotta, mozzarella, Parmesan and oregano. Mix to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Proceed with calzone assembly as outlined in dough recipe above.