I love calzones. The crust, the hot steamy filling, the way I don't have to fight anyone for the last piece of chicken pizza....it's like having your own personal pizza sandwich filled with delicious.
It came as a suprize to me that grilling your pizza crust and/or calzone is fairly unheard of around these parts. I am a huge advocate of grilling-it's faster and the flavor is INSANE if you get it right, especially with these calzones.
When I cook, I try and make as much by hand as possible, so for my calzones I also included my pizza and alfredo sauce recipes. Enjoy.
For your calzone crust:
- 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
- 1 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 4 cups flour (I like to use 1/2 and 1/2 of wheat just so I can pretend I'm healthy).
- Extra oil (for your bowl).
- *BONUS INGREDIENTS!!* Basil, thyme, oregano, garlic, onion, etc--add them to your dough for a twist.
Proof your yeast by combining the yeast, brown sugar and warm water. (I use instant yeast because I'm impatient. If you use instant yeast, make sure your water is a little hotter, around 120-130 degrees). Set aside for 10 minutes or so until bubbly. If your mix doesn't bubble, it's dead like 8-tracks so throw it out and start over.
Once your yeast has proven its worth, add in the oil and the salt.
Combine that mixture with about half of the flour until sticky. Turn out the mix onto a well-floured surface and knead in the rest of the flour until no longer sticky. Form it into a ball of doughy goodnes and set inside an oiled bowl for about an hour, until risen. After rising, punch out air (relieve stress) and roll into a ball. Then roll out, my homie.
Tip: Throw a cakepan full of hot water into the oven (with it turned off) and rise your dough on the shelf above it. The hotness and moisture will help it rise and the oven will keep it away from drafts. Awesome.
So you've got your crust. What now?
Time for some sauce.
You will need:
- 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
- 6 fluid ounces warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
- 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried marjoram
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 3 Tablespoons white wine
- salt to taste
OPTIONAL BONUS INGREDIENTS:
- 1 teaspoon anchovy paste
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1/8 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
Mix everything together* in a large pot over medium heat.
Let simmer for at LEAST 30 minutes (if you're in a rush) but the longer the better. I usually shoot for about 3 hours, stirring occasionally. A good simmer for this sauce has it occasionally bubbling but not going crazy.
*What I love about this sauce is that you can make it completely to taste. This sauce took a LONG time to get perfect. I'm very picky with my sauces. I like a little kick but I hate that residual mouth-burning that happens sometimes. There are a lot of options to this sauce. My dad liked anchovies, my mom doesn't. I like white wine in my cooking, my brother is a recovering alcoholic and so I try not to add in wine out of respect and support for him. My friends like it spicier, I like it less..this recipe has been modified a billion times, but it always ends up great. Just swirl a spoon and taste it once you get past the 15 minute mark (If you taste it before, the flavors may not have completely blended and you will end up overseasoning).
TIPS: If you like a sweeter sauce: Include the honey. If you like a spicy sauce: add in the pepper.Etc. It's an adventure. Choose your own.
I am a garlic WHORE so I always add about twice the onion and garlic called for.
I also like to add in other cheeses: romano, a little motz, maybe some asiago...everything is good.
This tastes kind of like the sauce at the Olive Garden, but awesome because you make it yourself.
You will need:
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder OR 1 clove garlic, crushed.
- 1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon basil
Melt your butter in a medium saucepan and add in the cream. Simmer for about 5 minutes but be careful not to turn the heat up or your cream will go all gross. Add in garlic, basil and cheese and whisk until cheese melts. Stir in your parsley last so the heat doesn't wither it.
Tips: When I make this, it always comes out more of a cheese sauce because I LOVE cheese. If you are like me, double (or triple...) the cheese called for.Try different blends and types of cheese (just not american or cheddar, okay?) and see what you can come up with.
Alright. So. You've got two sauces and a kick ass crust. What now?
First, preheat your grill to medium heat and let it warm up for at least 20 minutes.
Then assemble your toppings.
Suggestions: Onion, garlic, peppers, pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, chicken, pinapple, anchovies, ect. If it's on the menu at your local pizzeria, its fair game.
Don't forget the motzarella and Parmesan! (You're gonna need loads).
After you've gotten your stuff together, mix a few tablespoons of melted butter and a few tablespoons of parmesean cheese together with a teaspoon or two of garlic and onion powder and maybe basil if you're feeling adventurous. Set aside. (This comes in handy later).
Roll out your dough until it's about 1/2 an inch thick. The first time I made these I think I got about 5 calzones out of the recipe, but as I improved my techniqu
e, I started making them bigger, so just play with your dough until you get the size that feels right to you. I shoot for about a 15-inch circle. (It sounds huge, but to big eaters it will be a good size and for lighter eaters, the leftovers make a perfect portable lunch).
Tip: Roll out your crust between two pieces of wax paper for easier assembly.
Spread your sauce of choice on the bottom half of the dough and sprinkle on a goodly amount of mozarelly. Then add whatever toppings you so choose. Sprinkle more cheese on top of that and then fold the top half over and pinch closed. Roll the edges up so it forms a crust and brush with the butter/parm mix you made earlier.
You can either put it directly on the grill or use a pan (I like to use a pan just because it's easier to turn). Cook for 5-1o minutes per side, until the dough is nice and brown and crispy.
Now, turning these babies takes patience and often a friend. I dropped a good few before I got the hang of it. Use two non-bendy spatulas and use one to lift and the other one to steady. Flip carefully, but remeber, this is an adventure, and adventures don't come without a bit of peril.
Once cooked, let sit for about 5 minutes to avoid grevious cheese-related injury and then serve. Try not to let your head swell too much when people start raving.
This is half of the finished calzone. Where's the other half?
My brother the t-rex was too busy eating it to let me take a picture. Notice dishes.