Sunday, January 14, 2007

Homemade Spinach Calzones

I love calzones, and when they are made with homemade dough, they are absolutely fabulous. If you don't have a bread machine, an alternative to that could be Pillsbury pizza dough, frozen roll dough, crescent rolls, or even biscuit dough. The calzones can be filled with a variety of other fillings, such as pizza sauce, ground beef, sausage, mushrooms, etc. Just use your imagination.

A bread machine is an amazing appliance. You can buy them now in all price ranges. Mine came from Williams Sonoma. It is actually my third bread machine. I pretty much wore out the other two. I use the basic bread dough recipe that I am posting for the base of many breads, including cinnamon rolls, cheese danish, pepperoni bread, cheese rolls, and quite a few other types. I will post those another time. I usually use my bread machine to mix and knead the dough, and it warms up to make the dough rise. Then I take it out, form it into the desired shape, and bake it in my oven. It takes the dough cycle 90 minutes, which includes the first rise. You do, however, have the option to bake in the bread machine itself if you ever want just a loaf of bread.

Basic Bread Dough

4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup water
1 egg
1 stick butter, sliced
2 tsp salt
6 tbsp sugar
2 pkg yeast (either regular or rapid rise)
Place ingredients in bread machine. I like to add about 1/2 the water first, then the flour and other ingredients, including the rest of the water. Set the machine to the dough setting. This takes 90 minutes. When the cycle is over, roll the dough out onto a floured surface and cut into the desired sizes. (see illustrations)
Spinach Calzone Filling
2 pkg frozen spinach, thawed, drained, and squeezed dry
1- 15 oz container ricotta cheese
1 cup mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup black olives
1 cup pepperoni
2 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano
2 tsp salt
pepper to taste
1 tsp basil
1 egg
Pizza Quick Sauce
Combine ingredients. Fill dough with mixture (see illustration) and brush edges with water. Fold over and seal. Mix basil with egg and about 1/2 tsp water and brush the outside of the calzone. Bake at 350 for about 17 minutes. Use the pizza sauce to top the calzones after they bake.
I found this jumbo calzone maker at a kitchen shop in Destin, and the set of 3 at a kitchen shop in Nashville. You can order them online from if you can't find them locally. They are not absolutely necessary, but they make it easier and will help your calzones to look more consistent.This is what they look like. I chose to use the next to the largest size and I was able to make 12 from one recipe of dough.
Start with a well-floured surface and floured rolling pin:
Roll out the dough. You can cut the dough with the calzone maker to the appropriate size:

You will probably need to re-roll it out because the dough is very elastic and tends to shrink. Then place it onto the calzone maker and top with filling. Brush the edges with water.

Fold over and squeeze to seal. It's ok if some of it sticks out. You can trim the excess with scissors.
Brush with basil/egg mixture and place on a greased cookie sheet. Sometimes the filling will leak out a little bit no matter how well you seal it. Don't worry about it if it does.

The smell of yeast bread is already wonderful, but when you combine it with basil and pepperoni, it is beyond description.

I heated the pizza sauce to serve with the calzones. Yum.


CeeJay said...

ohhhhhhh those look yummy.

CeeJay said...

I am such a dork, Hubby will be busy all Saturday so I was looking for something special to do with the kidletts to pass the day. Do they have a Ross where you are? It is sort of like Marshalls or TJ Max. Well, guess what I found for $2.49? The pack of the Calzone, Dough Press Set :-) I think the kidletts and I are going to have a grand day seeing what we can stuff into homemade Calzones or Turnovers. I am sure I will end up with a very messy kitchen but hopefully a good post for my blog at the end of the day. Thanks for the great idea.

Vickie said...

We do have a Ross but I've never been there. I will check it out because I love TJ Maxx. That's a great deal! You probably will have a mess, but it will be worth it!