Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Calzone with Spinach and Ricotta

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We've made pizza plenty of times in the past. Now we're venturing (not too far) out and trying a variation that is sure to please. As far as I can tell, a calzone is just a pizza folded in half and that's my approach in making this dish.

First, the dough (adapted from The Complete Italian Vegetarian Cookbook):
  • 2 cups of whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon of wheat gluten (optional)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt
  • 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/3 cups of warm water (between 110 to 120 degrees)
  • 1 envelope of active yeast
Mix together whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, wheat gluten and salt in a stand mixer. In a cup, mix together warm water, yeast and extra virgin olive oil and allow yeast to dissolve, about 2 minutes. Use the paddle attachment and turn the stand mixer on low speed. While mixing, slowly pour in water and yeast solution. When the dough comes together, replace the paddle attachment with hook attachment and knead on medium-high for 4 minutes.

Turn the dough out into an oiled bowl. Cover with wet tea towel or paper towel and let it rise until doubles in size, about 1 1/2 hours. Do not refrigerate. Punch the dough down and portion the dough. This recipe generally makes 4 portions. Cover and let the dough rise again for 20 minutes. Then the dough is ready to be rolled out.

If you don't use all of the dough in one setting, you can either refrigerate it overnight and use it the next day or freeze it and use it within a couple of weeks.

For the ricotta filling:
  • 8 ounces (or half a bag) of frozen chopped spinach
  • 1 1/2 cups of ricotta cheese
  • juice from 1 lemon
  • a pinch of ground nutmeg
  • salt and pepper to taste
Thaw the spinach and squeeze out any excess water. Mix well with ricotta, lemon juice, nutmeg, salt and pepper.

For the tomato sauce:
  • 3 shallots, chopped fine
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 28-ounce can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 large beef steak tomato (or 2 Roma tomatoes), diced
  • 4 sprigs of thyme, stem removed
  • 1 sprig of oregano, stem removed and chopped
  • 2 whole sprigs of basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
Saute chopped shallot in olive oil until softened, about 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 more minute. Add canned tomatoes, fresh tomatoes, thyme, oregano, basil, and sugar. Bring the pot to boil and then reduce to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove the lid and season with salt and pepper. Continue to simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until most of the liquid has been reduced. Remove the basil stems from the sauce just prior to using.

To assemble the calzone, first, pre-heat oven to 500 degrees. Roll out the pizza dough. Ladle tomato sauce to the middle of the dough, leaving about an inch of dough all around. Add ricotta mixture to the middle. Fold the dough over and pinch shut. Crimp the edges tightly. Make 3 small incisions on top of the calzone to allow steam to escape. Bake for 12 to 13 minutes. Allow the hot calzone to cool for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

You can also try adding some mozzarella cheese and basil to the filling. It's a very fun dish to make and to eat.

1 comment:

  1. i am a calzone fanatic!!! This looks like it would be at the top of my list. I love lots of cheese and yummy spinach!!!