Pizza, calzone what is the difference? I want to say it in a Tamil Movie style reply, what’s in the name – the filling is inside in one and the filling is out in the other. Calzones are pizza pockets in simpler form which originated in Naples as folded pizza. It is served a street food in Italy as it is easy to eat when compared to pizza. The calzones are typically filled in with pizza toppings, shaped as a half moon and then fried or baked. It is served with marinara sauce on the side.
I have always wanted to make calzones at home instead of the usual pizza on pizza nights, but never got to it. When trying to decide on the kind of dough to make, I stuck to the basic bread recipe but with olive oil in it to flavor the dough. If preferred you could also use some dried herbs in the dough.
I kept the filling very simple with onions, bell pepper and spinach. I used red bell pepper for some color in the calzones. I made 10 calzones and 2 small personal cheese pizza for my boys with the dough. The calzones that I made were single serve small ones. If preferred you could make 4 large calzones and then slice them in two and serve.
Ingredients – (makes 12 Calzones)
To make the dough –
- Bread flour – 3 ½ cups (can be substituted with All purpose flour)
- Warm water – 1 – 1 ½ cups
- Instant yeast – 2 tsp
- Sugar – 1 ½ tbsp
- Salt – 1 tsp
- Olive oil – ¼ cup
- Onion – 1 large (sliced thin)
- Red Bell Pepper – 1 (chopped fine)
- Spinach – 10 oz (I used frozen)
- Garlic – 2 cloves (minced finely)
- Crushed red pepper – 2 tsp (adjust based on your spice level)
- Italian seasoning – 2 tsp (or use a blend of dried herbs of your choice)
- Salt – to taste
- Olive oil – 1 tbsp
- Pizza sauce or Marinara sauce – 1 cup
- Mozzarella cheese – 1 ½ cups (shredded)
To make the dough –
- I made the dough using my Kitchen aid mixer. Add all the ingredients except water to the bowl of the mixer. Mix well to combine and then add about 1 cup of water.
- Run the mixer on low speed to mix all the ingredients. Add more water as needed to form soft and slightly sticky dough.
- Knead on low speed for about 8 minutes until the dough is very smooth and soft.
- Leave the dough in a well oiled bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. Let it rise in a warm place for about an hour to hour and a half or until double in volume.
- If using frozen spinach, thaw it. If using fresh spinach, finely chop the leaves and keep it ready.
- In a wide pan, heat the oil. Add the onions and fry until golden brown. Add the minced garlic and fry for a minute more.
- Now add the bell peppers and mix well. Fry for about 3 minutes until slightly soft and then add the spinach along with salt and seasonings and mix well. Cook until the vegetables are cooked and all the moisture had evaporated.
- Let the filling cool.
- Once the dough has risen, punch it out gently and then divide it into 12 equal parts.
- Now roll each part into a 5 or 6 inch circle.
- Spread about 2 tbsp of pizza sauce or marinara on the rolled dough leaving about an inch on the sides.
- Add about 2 tbsp of vegetable filling in the middle of the dough.
- Top it off with about 2 tbsp of cheese.
- Fold the dough over the filling and seal the edges by pinching it tightly or by using the tines of the fork.
- Preheat the oven 425 F.
- Arrange the assembled calzones on a greased tray and brush the top with some milk (or egg wash).
- Bake for 25 – 30 minutes or until the calzones are golden brown, rotating the tray once in between.
- Serve with Marinara sauce on the side.