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I made Calzones!!

>> Monday, September 26, 2011

So, Cincinnati has a wonderful hometown pizza place called LaRosa's pizza.  It's Steve's favorite pizza place ever.  Probably because he grew up on the West side of Cincinnati, which is also where this pizza place originated.  And if you are from Cincinnati, you know that people from the West side are very proud of the fact that they are from the West side.  And people from the East side are very proud that they aren't from the West side :)

Anyway, when I was a "working woman" aka before kids, we would go out to lunch once a week or so as a group.  Sometimes we would go to LaRosa's and for the most part I would always order a Calzone with spinach, pineapple and ham.  Yum!

For some reason, I had never attempted to make Calzones at home from scratch.  They just seemed difficult to keep all the fillings in.  Plus, I haven't found the perfect pizza crust recipe yet.  As in, every time I make a pizza at home, my husband always says he doesn't care for the crust.  Every. Single. Time.  Probably because it isn't a LaRosa's crust.

Anyway, I found this Calzone recipe on  The title of the blog post that was linked to the picture intrigued me.  "How to Make Calzones (And Freeze Them for Later!)"  Um, yes please!  So I followed the directions.  And they turned out great!  I didn't have any Ricotta or spinach on hand, so I used my own fillings.  But the crust was perfect for the calzones and I will definitely be making these again.

A couple notes...The crust recipe didn't make much dough.  If you want a LaRosa's size calzone, the crust recipe will probably only make 3 calzones.  I make it into 6 like the recipe said, but Steve and I both ended up eating 2 and the boys each had a smaller calzone.  Also, do whatever toppings you want, but I spread a little sauce on the dough and then added cheese and pepperoni for the boys' Calzones.  For ours, I made a mixture of browned sausage and onion mixed with some cheese and some cottage cheese (weird, I know, but it gives it a creamier texture just like the ricotta).  I didn't measure anything, just eyeball it.  Mine didn't look quite as pretty as hers, but they didn't look that far off!


For the dough:
3/4 cups (6 ounces) of water
1/2 teaspoon of active-dry yeast (if using instant yeast, you don't need to dissolve it during the first step)
2 cups (10 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt

Making the Dough:
In a small bowl or liquid measuring cup, heat the water until it feels barely lukewarm. Add the yeast to the water and stir. Set this aside to dissolve. It's ok if the yeast doesn't bubble, but it should be entirely dissolved.

Measure out the flour into a large mixing bowl. Add the salt and combine. Make a well in the center of the flour and pour in the water-yeast mixture. Use your fingers or a wooden spoon to combine everything together.  When it comes together into a cohesive ball, turn it out onto the counter along with any extra flour in the bowl that hasn't yet gotten worked in.

Knead the dough until all the flour is incorporated and the dough is smooth and elastic to the touch--about five minutes.The dough should still feel moist and slightly tacky. If it's sticking to your hands and counter-top like bubble gum, work in more flour one tablespoon at a time until it's smooth and silky.

Assembling the Calzone:
Preheat the Oven to 450°F

Divide the Dough: Divide the dough into equal pieces. Six pieces make good dinner-sized calzones. Eight pieces make nice smaller calzones for lighter meals and lunches.

Roll Out the Calzone: Press the dough into a flat disk, then use a rolling pin to roll it into an 8"-9" circle for larger calzones or 6"-7" for smaller calzones. Roll from the middle of the dough outwards, as you do for pie dough. If the dough starts to shrink back on you, let it rest for five minutes and try again. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.

Fill the Calzones: Spread a generous 1/3 cup of filling in the bottom third of the calzone (slightly less for smaller calzones), leaving a a clear border around the edge. Fold the top of the dough over the filling and press to seal. If you have enough dough, you can roll that edge up (simply fold it over on itself) to form a more secure seal. Transfer calzones to a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Bake the Calzones: Brush calzones with olive oil or butter, if desired. This gives the calzones a nice golden color, but is not necessary. Slice steam vents in the top of the calzones with a sharp knife. Bake for 15 minutes. Rotate the tray and bake for another 15-20 minutes until the calzones are golden, browned on the edges, and the filling is bubbly.

Eat or Freeze Calzones: Allow to cool a few minutes before eating. Let leftover calzones cool completely, then wrap each individual calzone tightly in plastic wrap. Transfer to a plastic freezer bag and freeze.

Reheat Calzones: Thaw the calzone for a few hours in the fridge, or extend the cooking time to re-heat from frozen. If you put one in your lunchbag in the morning, it will be thawed enough by lunchtime. Unwrap from the plastic before reheating.

Reheat them in the microwave in one-minute bursts on HIGH until heated through (2-3 minutes total), or in the oven or a toaster oven at 300° until heated through.

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