Monday, March 22, 2010

Pizza is boring...let's make CALZONES!

This is actually a few recipes in one. You can use jarred marinara, but I always make my own. You can also buy pre-made Italian sausage, but this way is cheaper & you control the garlic, spice and flavor. It's really more of a method than a recipe. I've used spinach, garlic & mushrooms as filling & it's fantastic. Try different things...the kids and adults will all have fun making their own little packets!

Sauce Ingredients
1 can tomato sauce
2 cloves garlic minced
1/2 sweet onion & 1/2 red pepper...pureed in the food processor
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp basil
1 tsp oregano
a small squirt of honey
salt & red pepper flakes

Get a small saucepan warm and add the garlic, then the onion & pepper puree. Season with salt & pepper flakes. Add the basil & oregano....then the tomato sauce.  Add the dash of honey and combine well. Simmer for 5 minutes & it's done.

Italian Sausage Ingredients
1 roll of breakfast sausage...plain or spicy
1 tbsp fennel seeds - ground up with a mortar & pestal so the seeds become powder. This makes it really taste Italian.
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
2 cloves minced garlic

Combine all ingredients and brown in a skillet. Drain on paper towels.

This is me saying "It smells AMAZING" with my eyes.

Ricotta Ingredients
1 15oz container of ricotta
about 1 cup of mozzarella, shredded
1/4 cup of grated parmesan or other sharp Italian cheese (I had Grana Padano, so I used that)

Just combine them. Done!


Calzone basics:
Any prepared pizza dough - Trader Joe's makes a great one and they have it in regular, garlic herb & whole wheat!

Any fillings you like & come up with

1 beaten egg

Roll out your dough to about 1/4-1/2" thick. Cut into sections (I used the kind from the biscuit section of the store, so it was already thin & in a rectangle.)  This dough made 4 medium sized calzones.  There will be plenty of filling so if your family is bigger, just buy some extra dough.

Fill each section (not TOO full) with your fillings. I layered in the mozzarella/ricotta mixture, Italian sausage, julienned turkey pepperoni & a little extra mozzarella.

Now fold one side over and pinch/twist the dough all the way around...making sure it's completely sealed up.

Do this with the rest.

Now beat your egg and brush a little of it on each calzone. This ensures a brown, shiny and crispy crust.

Take a knife & slit a small opening on the top of each one, so they don't explode everywhere.

Bake at 400 degrees for about 15-20 minutes. They will be golden brown when done.

Top with your sauce (or serve it on the side, if you want to eat them like little sandwiches)

I am excited. I was very hungry.


Anonymous said...

You're trying to save money so I have to wonder-- how much did it cost you for the ingredients? I'm wondering, you know, if it would have been cheaper just buying calzones from Pizza Hut or something. Just curious, thanks!

Melissa said...

I buy most of my ingredients in bulk and on sale...then I come up with things to make with them. I also try not to eat any "fast" food because I don't know exactly what goes into it. I get the sausage roll at Sam's Club for around $4 and split it into 3 sections and freeze it. I buy the tomato sauce and garlic in bulk at Sam's Club. I get all my veggies at Joseph's Marketplace.

I'm a big supporter of using what you have on hand.

Say you are feeding a family of four. 4 calzones delivered from Pizza Hut would cost around $30, right? These ingredients cost half that and each person gets to cater their calzone to their own tastes + you know exactly what is going into each one.