Have you ever had calzone? Weirdly, my first taste was in Germany (where there are a lot of Italian restaurants) and I was hooked for life. It’s like a pizza folded in half, as you can see below or, if your prefer, a pizza crossed with a Cornish pasty.
What you can’t see is the incredible filling which oozes steaming out as you cut into it. Mmmmmm! In this easy, authentic Italian calzone recipe, you’ll notice a lack of tomato sauce. You can pour red pasta sauce over the top once your calzone are out of the oven if you like but we tend not to.
This recipe makes enough for 4 sensible people who add a good portion of salad on the side as the calzones are humongous but we have been known to polish off almost a whole one each on a Friday night if we were very hungry. The leftovers are also good the next day. I’ve given an option for you to make it in a bread machine which makes it even easier. They do take some time but are so worth it and there’s nothing tricky about them. They would also be fun to cook with kids.
Right, to business…
For the dough you need:
1 tsp dried yeast
1 cup / 240 ml warm water
1 tsp white sugar
1 tsp salt
3 – 3 1/2 cups / 360 g plain or all purpose flour plus a little extra
1 tbsp olive oil
1. Either put these ingredients into your bread machine on dough cycle and let the magic happen (but check stage 2 as this may happen to you too when you come back to your dough – proceed then as you would for hand method).
OR dissolve your yeast in the warm water in a large mixing bowl, add the oil, sugar and salt and blend in about 1 cup of flour until smooth. It doesn’t have to be exact. Gradually stir in the rest of the flour until the dough is smooth.
2. At this stage, flour being as variable as it is, you may need to add a little more. If your dough is too wet it will look a little shaggy and you want it smooth so gradually add more flour, a tablespoon at a time, until your dough is smooth and kneadable. Knead dough on a floured surface (I use this pastry rolling mat and it’s a life saver!) for about 5 minutes until elastic.
3. Put the dough to rise in a clean bowl which contains about 1 tbsp oil, flip it over and leave it to rise for 40 minutes until almost doubled in size.
4. As you go onto step 5, put the oven on to heat at 375 F / 190 C / Gas mark 5
For the filling you need:
2/3 ball of mozarella, shredded
1 1/2 cups (about 200g) cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup / 100g diced or torn up salami or pepperoni
1/2 cup of chopped red or yellow pepper
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms (optional)
1 tbsp dried oregano
You also need a beaten egg – don’t add this to the filling!
5. Mix the filling ingredients in a bowl.
6. Split the dough in two. Roll each half into a roughly round shape.
7. Transfer each circle to an oiled baking tray. Place half the filling on each, mounded over to one side.
8. Fold the dough over the filling, stretching a little if you need to and seal the edges by pinching with your fingers or using a fork. Paint the outside of the calzone with a pastry brush dipped in beaten egg to give the calzones a rich, golden glaze.
9. Bake for 30 minutes and enjoy!
Perfect Saturday night food in front of a movie with a glass of red. Sadly, now Tintin is no longer dairy intolerant, we may have to start sharing these!