Wednesday, September 12, 2007
Who wants a slice of Calzone???
Okay, let's talk about an easy no fuss dinner that you can make yourself, you can serve it for dinner, or slice it smaller and serve it as an appetizer or hors de vors at your next dinner party.
While you could make your own calzone/pizza dough (they are identical), I have found that your local supermarket or bakery can provide you with a perfectly portioned parcel of dough for very little er, dough. Lame joke I know.
Buying your dough will save you HOURS of time, believe me. Pizza dough is easy to make, but the rising process is time consuming, I would just assume buy it than wait that long. HOWEVER, you will have to wait some, as if you try and roll out cold pizza dough, you are fixing up a recipe for frustration (believe me, in my restaurant days I had been known to have meltdowns and throw uncooperative dough across the kitchen, but what can you do when the orders are up?). So do yourself a favor, let the dough rest at room temperature (or even a bit warmer), in a flour lined bowl, covered with a damp tea towel. You can use it when it's room temperature.
In the meantime, whilst you wait patiently on your dough to proof and get pliable, you can prep the fixins. I want to stress that you can stuff these bad boys with anything you want, healthy things, unhealthy things, hard things, soft, you get it, I have even heard tell of desert calzones...but that sounds gross to me (I have no sweet tooth).
So I started by searing up some of Tony's awesome sausage links (Tony is the butcher of my local Italian butcher shop, he is a sweet genius of meat). Once the sausage had cooked out I threw in some onions and peppers to carmelize in the lovely pork juices.
Once my dough is ready, I rollout it out on a floured surface into a big oblong oval (is that redundant? I think it might be), I roll it out pretty thin, less than a centimeter thick, but not much thinner than that, think a thin crust pizza. Then arrange the fixins in a line down the center of the oval and liberally apply your favorite cheese, I like good ol' mozzarella for this, fold in the ends and wrap er up like an envelope. I like to tuck the excess underneath, so it looks neat and seamless.
Place the whole rigamarole onto a lightly greased cookie sheet, at this point I also like to cut slices in the top of the calzone, it looks nice, and releases excess steam while cooking, it's a good thing. Brush all exposed sides of the calzone with an egg wash (merely a beaten egg, with a splash of water to loosen it up some), season the outside with some salt and pepper, and I like to grate some fresh Parmesano Regiano on the top, it melts nice, and looks pretty, but you can sprinkle poppy seeds, or sesame seeds, or nothing at all, it's your calzone bub, not mine.
Pop it in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown and crispy. I like to give the ends (where the dough is thickest) a good tap, if it sounds hollow, I know the dough has cooked through to the center. Allow it to cool for at least 10 minutes, as the cheese will be MOLTEN hot, and the fixins will spill out on you if you don't. Slice it up nice and enjoy with a cold beer or a glass of wine, yumm!