This week was Daniel's turn to choose the menu for Tuesday Night Fun Cooking! and we made calzones. Calzones are a favorite for all of us, but I don't make them all that often. They seem like a lot of work, though come to think of it, it's no more time and effort than pizza, and I make pizza all the time. In fact, a calzone is basically a little pizza folded in half. That's not so hard, is it? Scroll down to the end of this post for my recipe.
I try to have the kids do as much as possible, both so they are learning by doing and also so my hands are free to take pictures. I managed to get several posts on Instagram within an hour before I had to put my phone down and help things along. (I created a new hashtag, by the way: #tuesdaynightfuncooking and I'd love to see some more people join in.)
We started off by mixing up the dough. I had stirred up some semolina, yeast and water to proof, and it was up to the kids to add salt, olive oil and the rest of the flour. They each had a turn adding those things and stirring them in, but they still managed to fight over it (sigh).
|Anya refused to smile. She was still upset about the salt.|
We set the dough aside and went to work on the filling. This is what takes so long making calzones. I mean, you could just grate some cheese and be done with it, but it's better to add some other stuff, too.
|Anya likes to grate cheese. Daniel does not. One less thing to fight about, at least.|
|Daniel likes to chop things. Slowly.|
|Please ignore the sopping pile of dirty rags on the counter.|
|Anya opens the package of ricotta with gusto. "Take THAT!" Notice Daniel is still chopping that mushroom.|
|Daniel carries chopped mushroom across the floor to the stove one handful at a time. He only drops a few on the way.|
|"Oh no you don't, you're not going anywhere near that pepperoni!!!"|
|Roll it out and make it round-ish.|
|There it is: calzone, marinara, and salad.|
For the dough:
- Mix 1 1/4 cups semolina flour with 1 T yeast and 1 cup water, and let it sit for an hour or so
- Add 2-3T olive oil, 1.5tsp salt, 1/4 cup whole wheat flour and stir together
- Add white all-purpose flour a few tablespoons at a time until you have a ball of dough that is soft but not sticky; you'll use a cup total or less
- Leave the dough in a bowl, cover with a plate and set aside while you make the filling
For the filling, mix a tub of ricotta with a fist-sized pile of shredded mozzarella and whatever else you want. Tonight we sautéed mushrooms with garlic and onion and mixed that in along with some fresh basil. In the past, I've cooked up Italian sausage and chopped kale and nobody complained about it. When it comes to vegetables, you just have to make sure you don't have anything too watery like fresh tomatoes or uncooked spinach; better to save those things for a side salad.
To assemble the calzones:
- Divide the dough into 6-8 pieces slightly larger than golf balls
- Roll each piece out into a round that is about 1/4" thick; any thinner and the filling will ooze out
- If you are using pepperoni (we did), layer a few slices on one half of the rolled out dough, then spoon 2-3T of the cheese filling on top of the pepperoni
- Fold the other side of the dough over the filling and pinch the edges shut to prevent the filling from leaking. Usually it does anyway, but you can say you tried.
Bake at 350 degrees 30-40 minutes, or until the calzones are golden brown.
Serve with marinara sauce for dipping, and fresh vegetables or green salad on the side.