Thursday, December 29, 2011

Recipe: Spinach Calzones with Quick Tomato Sauce
Last Night's Dinner

Truthfully, this was more like last month's dinner but I am still trying to catch up after the holidays. I make pizza fairly often during the summer and fall, but since I prefer to cook it on the grill, my winters tend to be long, dark pizza-less nights of the soul. But I recently found some dough in the bottom of the freezer and decided to give calzones a try. They came out amazingly good and were quite simple. Of course, I didn't make my own dough, which would make this a bit less simple, but even so, the whole process is straightforward as can be. You can obviously customize the filling to suit your tastes, I happened to have some spinach on hand and my pantry is always full of garlic so that is what I went with.

Click through for the recipe.

Garlic-Spinach Calzones with Quick Tomato Sauce
1 package of pizza dough (I use Portland Pie Company)
Cornmeal and flour for dusting
Olive oil
Big bunch of fresh spinach, roughly chopped
Alot of garlic, sliced
1 cup mozzarella, grated
1/2 cup to 1 cup ricotta
1/4 cup grated parmesan
1 large egg
Tablespoon of capers
1/2 cup white wine
2 cans of diced tomatoes
Tomato paste if you got it
A little pesto if you got it
herbs: basil, oregano, thyme

Preheat oven to 500 with a pizza stone on the middle rack. If you do not have a pizza stone go get one because cooking this on a cookie sheet just does not do it justice. Trust me on this one.
Heat oil in pan, medium-ish heat, add 3/4 of your garlic and cook for a minute or two, being careful not to burn it. If you think you will not be able to finish the next step without the garlic burning then remove it from the pan with a slotted spoon.
Drop in your spinach and cook down, maybe 3 or 4 minutes. If stuff starts to stick, add a tiny bit of water, but the water from washing the spinach should really take care of it on its own. Lightly salt and pepper. Remove to bowl, add cheeses and egg and mix together until well blended. Set aside.
Divide your dough into two parts by slicing it in half with a floured bread knife. With floured hands and working on a floured surface, work each ball of dough into a circle, pretty thin but watch out for holes. Lay the dough on a pizza peel (another cheap but handy item to have--a reversed cookie sheet will work in a pinch) sprinkled liberally with corn meal. Fill half the circle with filling, keeping the outer 1/2 inch free. Brush a bit of water on the outer edge of the dough and then carefully pull the other half of the dough over the filling. Seal the edges of the dough by fluting with your fingers or using a fork (I am not very good at this little skill). Once both calzones are ready, brush outsides with a bit of oil. They should now each be side by side on the cornmeal covered pizza peel. Here is the trickiest part. Open the oven door (watch out for the wave of heat in your face, 500 is freaking HOT) and slide the calzones onto the pizza stone with a firm front-to-back motion of your wrist. You have to commit here--a half-assed move will leave you with a big mess. The cornmeal should allow the calzones to slide right off. Have a spatula handy in case they get stuck.
Bake for 12-15 minutes.
Meanwhile, in the same pan you cooked the spinach in, heat a bit more oil if necessary and add the remaining garlic, followed by the capers. After a minute, add the wine to release all of that flavor that might be stuck to the bottom of the pan. Simmer the wine until nicely reduced and then add tomatoes, tomato paste, and herbs if using dried (if using fresh add them more towards the end). If you have some pesto add it now for a nice punch of flavor. Hell, if you have a half-full jar of spaghetti sauce throw it in there if you like, I won't tell anyone. Cook the whole thing on a low simmer until thickened.
Remove calzones when nicely browned across the top, using a large spatula or the pizza peel. Place on a wire rack for 5 minutes or so. Serve with tomato sauce on the side. 
I get zero points for a nice presentation here but I wanted to show how nicely the calzone looked in a cross section, with the dough a perfect thickness and consistency and the filling nicely melted. And it tasted just as good as it looks.

1 comment:

  1. Danny will be adding this to his arsenal ...


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