Yummy-Sunny Calzones and Beyond!

One of the things I love most about cooking is that you can begin with a basic recipe, make a few alteration and create something new for the family to try. Creative cooking asks very little of us, only that we dare to try, to tape into our imaginations and believe enough to think outside the box. Don’t be afraid to try and fail. It’s a learning process. Simply chalk failures up to what doesn’t work until you come up with something that does. Even a minor set backs can serve as their own form of inspiration.

It began with my rendition of Sunny Spinach Pie. I wanted to bake a Spinach Pie because it reminded me of sunflowers. Sunflowers hold such a special place in my heart for personal reasons, and I associate sunflowers with my sister’s country home. The spinach pie led to a new creation – the Pepperoni Pie. It wasn’t much of a leap to go from pies to calzones.

The dough used for a sunny pie could be stuffed with just about anything. I proved that when I changed out the spinach filling for pepperoni. What if I divided the salty dough into four smaller disks, filled them with pizza favorites and folded it over, creating a crescent-shaped pie? Could I transform my sunny pie into giant calzones? The answer is yes!

The dough recipe for the sunny pie will create four huge calzones. How you fill them is entirely up to you. Kiddo and I are pepperoni fans, Hubby likes a pizza of sausage and mushrooms. I had never made a calzone before, but I’ve eaten them. It seemed to me if I made a pizza pie and folded it in half before baking, that would be a calzone. I’ve got to tell you, these were the best calzones I’ve ever tasted.

The recipes that follows will yield two of each filling. You could double either to create one filling, or make up your own using your own ingredients. If nothing else, I hope what follows will serve as a springboard for your own wonderful creations. And don’t forget to share, I love hearing from other home cooks. After all; you are my inspiration . . .

Sunny-Yummy Calzones
The Dough
2 1/4 cups Flour
1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
1/4 cup White Wine
1/2 cup Water
1 teaspoon Salt

To Make Dough: Place all the ingredients into the bowl of stand mixer. Using the dough hook, knead until the dough is smooth and combined. If the dough appears too dry, add a little more wine and olive oil, a splash at a time. You want it to bind together without being too wet. Divide dough into four equal balls. Wrap in plastic while you make the filling.

Sausage and Mushroom Filling
1/2 Lb Mild Italian Sausage
1 Cup Mushrooms, Chopped
2 Cups Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
2 oz Ricotta Cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 Cup Pizza Sauce (more if mixture appears too dry)
Italian Bread crumbs

To create the Sausage filling: Brown the sausage in a skillet. Add sliced mushrooms, saute for a few minutes. Transfer sausage mixture to a large bowl. Add cheeses, mix well.  Add pizza sauce, mix again. If the sauce seems too dry, add a little more sauce until the mixture is moist but will hold its shape. You can also add moisture with a splash or two of wine if desired. Set aside.

Pepperoni Filling
8 oz Pepperoni, chopped
2 Cups Mozzarella Cheese, shredded
2 oz Ricotta Cheese
1/4 Cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 Cup Pizza Sauce (more if mixture appears too dry)
Italian Bread crumbs

To create the Pepperoni filling:  Chopped Pepperoni. Place in a bowl. Add cheeses, mix well.  Add pizza sauce, mix again.  If the mixture appears too dry, add a little more sauce until the mixture is moist but will hold its shape. You can also moisten with a splash or two of wine if desired. Set aside.

Egg Wash
1 egg, beaten
1-2 tablespoons white wine to thin

Whip egg in a small bowl.  Thin with wine and set aside.

To Assemble: Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Unwrap the dough one ball at a time. Place on a lightly floured work surface. Flatten with the palm of your hand. Using a rolling-pin, roll dough into a thin round disk. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs.

Mound desired filling on half the disk, leaving a small edge to seal. Fold over, pinch edge to seal, then press with a fork. Cut a three vents in the top, one center and two on either side to release some of the steam. Brush with egg wash.

Place calzones on a large baking sheet. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven, loosen with thin spatula. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes, plate and serve. If desired, offer pizza sauce for “dipping”.

sunny-calzone

Author: Rosemarie's Kitchen

I'm a wife, mother, grandmother and avid home cook.I believe in eating healthy whenever possible, while still managing to indulge in life's pleasures.