America has had a love affair with Italian food, especially calzones, for decades. The word calzone translates as “pant leg” or “trouser.”
Italian calzones often were sold by street vendors and designed to be a portable, walk-around pizza that could be eaten without utensils.
Baked correctly, the calzone’s outer crust is golden-brown and crispy, while the inside filling melts into a flavorful blend of ricotta and mozzarella cheeses combined with an assortment of Italian meats and vegetables. After baking, calzones usually are sprinkled with a blend of garlic, olive oil and parsley, and served with a side of marinara sauce for dipping.
Modern calzones grew in popularity after a reference in the TV series “Seinfeld” in 1996.
I love this Mediterraneanflavored, vegetarian version of the traditional Italian calzone.
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
2 (16-ounce) plain or wholewheat refrigerated pizza dough
2 cups ricotta cheese (whole
milk or low-fat works)
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/ 2 cup roughly chopped
canned artichoke hearts in water,
1/2 cup chopped, fire-roasted
1/3 cup halved Kalamata olives
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup marinara pizza sauce
(plus 3/4 cup more for serving)
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1. Heat oven to 450 F. Lightly oil two large, rimmed baking sheets. Sprinkle each pan with the cornmeal. Set aside.
2. Cut each ball of pizza dough into equal thirds and set aside.
3. In a medium bowl, mix together the ricotta, mozzarella and feta cheese. In a separate bowl, combine the vegetables and divide into 6 portions. Place a ball of the dough onto a lightly floured board or pastry mat. Sprinkle the top of the dough portions with 1 or 2 teaspoons of additional flour to prevent sticking.
4. Use your fingers to first stretch the dough, and then roll it with a floured rolling pin into an 8-inch circle. If the dough shrinks back after rolling, let it rest for 5 minutes and try again.
5. Sprinkle one portion of the artichoke pieces, roasted red peppers and olive filling on the bottom half of the dough circle, leaving about a 1-inch border between the filling and the edge.
6. Place 1/3 cup of the cheese filling on the veggies. Drizzle 1 1/2 tablespoons of the pizza sauce on top of the cheese.
7. Dip your fingers in a bowl of water and wet the edges of the bottom half of the calzone. Fold the top half over the fillings to form a half-moon shape. Press the edges firmly together to seal the calzone and then roll the edges to form a better seal, or press the tines of a fork into the edges to seal the calzone.
8. Carefully transfer the calzone to a baking sheet and repeat steps to assemble the remaining calzones. Place three calzones on each baking sheet. Use a sharp knife to slice a 2-inch slit into the tops of each one. This allows the steam to escape and helps prevent the filling from seeping out.
9. Bake about 10-12 minutes until the calzones are golden brown. Allow the calzones to cool for about 5 minutes before serving. Sprinkle with some of the olive oil, garlic and parsley, and serve with additional pizza sauce for dipping. Makes 6 servings. ©2018 King Features Synd. and Angela Shelf Medearis