This calzone recipe is one of my “Go To” recipes when I am either making dinner for a large crowd, or making a dinner for someone in need whether they are ill, just had a baby, or just lost a loved one. The recipe makes two large calzones. It is perfect for sharing because I can feed my family with one calzone and share the other calzone with a family in need. It is also great because you can customize your filling to the liking of your family and the recipient. The calzones are absolutely scrumptious! I love bread and I love pizza, so this is a match made in heaven!!
I recently shared my calzones with a friend who had her third baby. I dropped it off at her house right at dinner time with a salad and fruit. If you want to take the calzone to your friend before dinnertime, or make it as a freezer meal, you can bake it half-way, then your recipient can either freeze it, or finish baking it at dinnertime. If you want to make the calzones ahead of time for a party, you can bake them half-way then freeze them. The day of the party, let them thaw in the fridge in the morning, then finish baking them during your party. I have done this on numerous occasions and they are always a big hit!
2 cups lukewarm (110°F) water
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon or packet active dry yeast
6 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 tablespoon salt
Filling Ingredients of your choice:
Cheese-Mozzarella, Parmesan, Provolone, Cheddar
Sauce-Pizza Sauce, Marinara, Spaghetti Sauce, Pesto
Meat- Italian Sausage, Ham, Prosciutto, Pepperoni, etc
Herbs-Pizza Seasoning, Basil, Parsley, Crushed Red Pepper, Thyme, Oregano
Vegetables-Chopped or sautéed vegetables of your choice
Dissolve yeast and sugar in lukewarm water in a large bowl. Let proof for 5 minutes or so; mixture should begin to bubble.
Stir 1 cup flour into yeast mixture. Add salt, then stir in an additional 4 1/2 cups flour. When dough begins to hold together and pull away from the sides of the bowl, it’s ready to knead.
Knead dough, using remaining 1/2 cup flour for work surface. Knead for 3 to 4 minutes, then let dough rest while you clean and grease your bowl. Knead an additional 3 to 4 minutes. Dough should be smooth, elastic and no longer sticky. I knead the dough in my stand mixer using the dough attachment. I almost always need to add the entire remaining 1/2 cup of flour.
Form dough into a ball and place in greased bowl, turning to coat all sides. Cover bowl with a damp towel or piece of plastic wrap, and set it aside to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 to 2 hours depending on where you set the bowl (as well as the humidity level in your kitchen.) I place the bowl of dough in my oven with the oven light on to rise.
Punch dough down, and turn out onto a lightly floured surface (alternatively, you can leave dough in bowl and let it rise again, for about half the time of the initial rising; this will produce a finer-grained product).
Cut your bread dough into 2 pieces. Roll out each piece into a rectangle about 10 x 14 inches. Spread a thin layer of sauce on first. Then layer it with your choice of ingredients. Leave a half inch border around the dough.
Starting with the long edge, roll the dough around the filling jelly-roll style. Pinch the seam and ends together very tightly and place the roll on a parchment lined baking sheet seam side down.
Cover the calzone with a damp towel or plastic wrap (grease the underside of it so it won’t stick to the dough). Let it rise for 45 minutes to an hour.
Fifteen minutes before you want to bake the calzone, preheat your oven to 450°F. To make the crust crunchy, preheat a roasting pan on the oven bottom along with the oven. Just before the calzone goes in, pour in 3 or 4 cups of water.
Slash the tops of the loaves, brush with the egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 TBS water) and sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds if desired.
Bake for 15 minutes at 450°F. *If you plan to freeze or half-bake your calzone see Baking Tips for Instructions. Turn the heat down to 400°F and continue baking for a further 15 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown.
To serve, allow the calzone to cool and “set” for 10 or 15 minutes. Then cut in slices. I like to serve mine with any extra sauce for dipping.
Recipe Source: King Arthur Flour
My Marinara Recipe:
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/4-1 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes if desired
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 (15-ounce) can crushed tomatoes-I like to use San Marzano Tomatoes
Salt and pepper
1-2 teaspoons pizza seasoning
3-4 teaspoons sugar
Heat a small pot over medium heat. Add extra-virgin olive oil, garlic, pepper flakes if. Cook 2 minutes. Add parsley, tomatoes, salt, pepper, pizza seasoning, and sugar. Stir sauce, bring to a bubble and simmer 5-30 minutes over low heat. If you are short on time, 5 minutes will do the trick. But I love to let this sauce simmer the full 30 minutes when I have time. The flavors are wonderful!
*To Freeze: Bake the calzone for the first 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool completely. Wrap tight in plastic wrap and tin foil then freeze. When you want to bake it, remove calzone from the freezer the morning of the day you will be baking it and place it in the fridge to thaw. When ready to bake, let calzone rest on the counter while you preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Bake 15 minutes or until crust is golden brown.
*To half-bake and deliver to recipient: Bake the calzone the first 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, cool completely and wrap tight. Deliver it to your recipient with baking instructions. Bake at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes or until crust is golden brown.
*Be careful not to make your filling too juicy or use too much sauce
*Don’t be afraid to use strong flavors.
Bake and Share Ideas:
- Bake the calzones and feed your family with one and share the other with a family in need
- Invite friends or family over for a game night and serve the calzones
- Take the calzones to your next potluck. You walk out a rockstar!!!