Thank you Naples for giving us pizza and the vast array of variations on the theme, including the baked pizza calzone. Not to be confused with the stromboli (rolled like a burrito) or the panzerotti (deep-fried), the calzone stands alone. Pizza and her cohorts originated as street food and as a quick and inexpensive food to take to work or on the go. Wives slathered some marinara sauce on a slab of dough cooked in a pizza oven, folded it in half, and handed it to husbands as they rushed out the door. Each pizza serves as a meal for one; never sliced.
Having grown up in California, where we learned about eating pizza at Round Table and Pizza Hut (gasp!) One certain memorable pizza experience in Italy was very eye-opening. It was in Benevento, in a small trattoria filled with local families from the village. Becoming a serious anthropologist, I watched how it was done. Each person received a whole, full-sized (unsliced) pizza on a big round ceramic plate. Then using a knife and fork (what?!) they started in the center of the pie and worked their way to the outer crust. I found this extremely liberating and quickly took to the sensual and immediate pleasure of eating an entire pizza.
The baked pizza calzone, in its own way, belongs in this category. I do beg forgiveness from the purists, although I usually belong to that group, as this recipe takes some liberties by substituting mushrooms for the more authentic salami, ciccioli, or prosciutto found in the baked calzone. This recipe does, however, retain some classic elements — the ricotta and eggs inside and the tomato sauce and mozzarella slathered on top before baking.
Just for fun, this blog post has a sibling.
Click here for the recipe Meatless Calzone from Southern Italy for the calzone used for Lent. Minus the meat and cheese, the use of escarole leaves, pine nuts, raisins, and black olives within the dough fried in olive oil, makes this a less known, but equally delicious sister to the baked pizza calzone.
Try them both and let me know what you like best!!
This version, from one of my favorite websites, Great Italian Chefs, uses white wine in the dough.
Baked Pizza Calzone
Making the dough
- 1 package active dry yeast (7 grams or 2 rounded tsp.)
- ¾ cup lukewarm water 80° F
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 3 cups bread or pizza flour (or all-purpose)
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 1 cup ricotta cheese
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup grated Parmigiana cheese
- ¼ tsp. salt
- 4 mushrooms, chopped
- ½ cup tomato sauce
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese, grated or crumbled
Making the dough
- In a medium bowl, add yeast and pour in ¾ cup lukewarm water. Add the olive oil and stir to combine. Let sit for 10 minutes until slightly foamy.
- Add the flour and salt and mix well (by hand or with a dough hook). Turn onto a lightly floured board and knead for 5 minutes until you have a soft and smooth dough. If the dough sticks to the board while kneading, add just a bit of flour at a time.
- Place in a clean bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap, and let sit in a warm place for about 2 hours until doubled in size.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the ricotta, parmigiana, eggs, salt and mix well. Chop raw mushrooms and add to filling.
Assembling the Calzone
- Preheat oven to 350° F
- When the dough has risen, turn onto a floured board. To make 8 individual calzone, divide the dough into eight equal balls. With a rolling pin, roll into 4-inch circles. Add a spoonful of filling onto the center of each calzone.
- Fold over to form a half-moon and pinch the edges to seal. Using the end of a fork, press around the edge to make sure seal is tight.
- Cover a pizza or baking pan with cornmeal or parchment paper to prevent sticking. Place your calzone on the pan. Using a shart knife, make two slits through the top of the dough to let out the steam while baking. Spoon 1-2 tbsp. tomato sauce over the top and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.
- Bake at 350° F for 45 minutes until cooked through and golden brown.
- Remove and place on a serving platter and enjoy right away. If you have any leftovers (probably not!), calzones will keep in a covered containter in the fridge for 3 days.