Okay - can I just say this? This was really, really fun! I participated in the Surprise Recipe Swap that's hosted each month by Jutta who blogs at Hungry Little Girl. Besides writing a wonderful blog (which I highly recommend you read), she hosts this fun event each month! (You can get all the details, as well as information about how you can join in the fun, by visiting here.)
The recipe I chose to re-create comes from Jackie at Recovering Lost Arts from our Mothers. I popped on over to her blog to visit and choose a recipe, and after about thirty-seven seconds I was hooked. First of all, I love the way she writes her recipes - no fancy terms to learn and no fussy stuff - just the way my grandmother taught me how to cook. Plus, she signs her recipes with the term "mangia". Which may not mean anything to those of you who are NOT Italian, but this was, in fact, the word I heard every single time I sat at my grandmother's table.
I was right at home, right away.
And I knew everything would be delicious.
And I marveled at how the universe works. And God - how He works. Which is pretty amazing.
The recipe I choose was her Calzone recipe. I am so glad I did.
It was, in a word, fantastic.
Head over to Jackie's site to see her recipe.
Here's what you need:
- 3 1/2 cups flour
- 1 1/4 cups warm water
- 1 tsp salt
- 4 tsp sugar, divided
- 2 1/4 tsp yeast
- 1/8 cup olive oil
- 15 oz tomato sauce
- salt, to taste (I used 1/4 tsp)
- black pepper, to taste (I used 1/8 tsp)
- 1 tsp parsley
- 1 tsp basil
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp garlic salt
- 3 Tbsp melted butter
(for filling the calzones, I used the following):
- 1/2 lb Italian sausage
- 4 slices thick cut bacon
- 1 stick pepperoni (about 1 cup sliced thick)
- 3 large white mushrooms
- 1/2 green bell pepper, diced
- 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
And here's what you do:
Put the water in a bowl and sprinkle on the yeast. Let it sit until it proofs (about 10 minutes). Incidentally, Jackie does a wonderful job of explaining "proofs" - basically the yeast becomes frothy and bubbly.
After the yeast becomes frothy (proofs), add in the salt, 2 tsp sugar, oil, and 2 cups of the flour. Mix with a dough hook until the flour is absorbed (or by hand if you don't have a dough hook). Continue adding the flour, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring well in between additions. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, and knead for about 10 minutes (or until just barely sticky).
Put the dough ball in a bowl (I floured mine) and let it rise for about an hour.
While the dough is rising, prepare the sauce by mixing the tomato sauce with the salt, pepper, parsley, basil, oregano, garlic salt, and 2 tsp sugar in a saucepan over low heat. Cook until thickened (about 30 minutes).
While you've got the time, prepare the fillings...
For the sausage - brown in a bit of olive oil over medium-high heat, then add water to cover and simmer for 30 minutes, or until cooked through. Slice into 1/4 inch discs.
Fry the bacon over medium heat until cooked through, then chop into bite-sized pieces.
Slice the pepperoni, mushrooms, and green peppers.
To assemble, pinch off about 2 inches of the dough, and roll into a ball. Flatten with a rolling pin on a floured surface, to an oval about 6 to 8 inches long.
Add about 2 tsp sauce to the bottom half of the calzone, then top with cheese, meat, veggies, as desired.
I took Jackie's lead and let my kids create their own masterpieces, laying out all of the filling choices on the counter...
They had a blast, and created some delicious calzones. None of which included any vegetables.
Mine, however, did include the veggies.
And this one...included ONLY veggies and cheese!
After piling on all of the delicious toppings that you like, brush the sides and top with melted butter, and fold over to seal. Roll up the edges to make sure the contents STAY PUT!
Oh, and make a few small holes in the top to prevent the calzones from EXPLODING on you. Yes, that would be good.
Brush the tops with melted butter and pop them in the oven at 400 degrees for 15 minutes or so (until browned).
Oh dear - simply delicious.
And my "all veggie" version? Amazing.
I love-love-love these! They're so simple to prepare, and the idea of laying out the fillings and having each family member (or even guest!) create their own calzone was terrific. I am most definitely recommending this recipe and will be tucking it in to my file to be re-created again and again!