Tuesday, February 5, 2013

For The Love of Pizza

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Who doesn't love pizza?  Please don't answer me, I am under the happy illusion that there are no poor souls out there who deny themselves the delicious addictiveness that is pizza.  In our house we'll occasionally order pizza, but more often I make it.  It's so cheap and easy to do and once you've cured yourself from the fear of yeast, it's incredibly simple.

This time, though, I decided to do a spin on pizza: calzones.  I actually hadn't made them before, but how hard could it be?  They're basically little pizza pockets.  I made it even easier on myself and used store-bought dough, but you can just as easily make your own.

Here's how to do it:

- 2 balls of pizza dough
- 15 oz ricotta cheese (I use part skim)
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella
- 2 eggs (plus one more for an egg wash)
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
- Marinara sauce for dipping

That's the simple ingredient list.  You can use your favorite pizza toppings to include with the cheese filling.  I used mini pepperoni and sauteed mushrooms.  In order to get more mushroom flavor into the little calzones, I finely chopped them in the food processor before sauteing them with salt, pepper, oregano, basil and a splash of balsamic vinegar (a staple in my cupboard). NEVER use raw mushrooms on pizza or in calzones, they release a ton of water when cooked, so you need to saute them first to make sure that has cooked out and evaporated.

You want to thaw the pizza dough about 24 hours in your fridge before using, then remove and divide into roughly 16 little balls of dough and let them rise for 2 hours in a warm place on a greased cookie sheet.

Mix together the cheeses and 2 eggs, then divide the mixture into separate bowls before mixing in your chosen toppings.

Roll out your balls of dough as thin as you can - don't worry, pizza dough is extremely stretchy and if you poke a hole in it, just patch it and roll it out again.  Heap about a tbsp. full of the cheese mixture in the middle of each dough circle, then fold it over to a crescent shape and pinch the edges to seal before placing on a greased cookie sheet.  Repeat this step until all of your filling is gone.

Beat an egg with a tbsp. of water and brush over the tops of your calzones before baking 10-15 min. in a 400 degree oven until nice and browned.  Serve with the warmed marinara sauce for dipping.

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