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Sunday, March 10, 2013

Calzone Recipe

Last Sunday we made the YUMMIEST calzones for dinner! I got all of the recipes from the "How to Cook Everything" cookbook (everyone should get this cookbook, by the way). I did change up some parts of the recipes, so that is what I will be sharing with you today. :)

Do not let all the steps and instructions intimidate you! This is a really easy recipe to make and is SUPER yummy!! You should make it at least once in your lifetime! :)

Basic Pizza Dough 

-1 teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast
-3 cups bread flour (you can also use all-purpose flour)
-2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
-1 to 1 1/4 cup water
-2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil

1. Combine the yeast, flour, and 2 teaspoons of salt in a large bowl (I used my Kitchen Aid with the dough hook). Begin mixing, add 1 cup of water and 2 tablespoons of olive oil.

2. Gradually add more water until dough forms into a ball and is slightly sticky to the touch. If your dough become too sticky, add a small amount of flour at a time.

3. On a floured work surface, knead the dough by hand to form a smooth, round dough ball. Grease a large bowl with the remaining olive oil, and place the dough inside.

4. Cover with plastic wrap (or damp cloth) and let the dough rise for 1 to 2 hours.

**You can make this dough ahead of time and store it if the freezer for up to one month.**

While the dough is rising I make the pesto and get everything else ready to put inside the calzones.

Basic Pesto

-2 loosely packed cups fresh basil leaves (make sure they are rinsed and dried)
-2 tablespoons minced garlic (we LOVE garlic)
-1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil (or more depending on how you thin you like it)
-1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

1. Combine the basil, garlic, and about half of the oil in a blender. Process, make sure you scrape down the sides occasionally.

2. Gradually add the rest of the oil and add the cheese.

3. Store in the refrigerator until you are ready to use.

**The recipe says to stir in the cheese by hand right before serving, I just do it all at once. You can store pesto in the fridge for up to two weeks, and in the freezer for several months.**


The beautiful thing about calzones is you can put whatever you want inside! It is a great way to get rid of various leftover veggies sitting in your fridge, or even leftover meat! I like to use leftover chicken. Here is what I put inside our calzones!
-2 large chicken breasts (cut up into bite sized pieces)
-Mozzarella cheese
-Cheddar cheese
-Parmesan cheese
-Green peppers
-Artichoke hearts
-Sliced olives
-Red onion
-Extra garlic (I told you we loved garlic :])
-And of course the homemade pesto!

1. Once the dough is ready, knead it lightly, divide in half, and form into 2 balls. Place on a lightly floured surface, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise for 20 minutes.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

3. Roll each dough ball into a flat round. Let the rounds sit for a few minutes, this will relax the dough and make it easier to roll out!

4. Roll the dough into an 8 to 10 inch round (like a pizza!) and place on a lightly oiled baking sheet.

5. Cover each form with the pesto. Fill with chicken, veggies, cheese, and whatever else your heart desires!

6. Moisten the edges with a little water. Fold one end over the other and press the calzone closed with your fingertips.

7. Bake the calzones for 30 to 40 minutes, or until nicely browned. Serve hot or warm!

Posting these pictures makes me hungry! :)

After cooking. They are HUGE! And so tasty! 

Each calzone will be enough for 2 (yes 2!) servings. It pairs great with salad! I love it with Caesar salad. This is really fun to make for a small dinner party. It would also be a fun way to get kids involved with making dinner! Let me know how your calzones turn out! :)

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