Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Convenient Calzones, #SeriousSandwich

Emeril's calzones. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books

Calzones are one of those foods I forget about, and when I do remember, I think to myself “why don’t I make these more often?” The rolled-up pizzas are just as tasty as a pizza pie, but the form – the bread pocket, makes them super-convenient to make, take and freeze.

Fact is, I used to make calzones all the time, making mini-pockets to accommodate my young children’s appetites. Making them half as small meant twice as many pockets. I would take the leftover calzones, wrap them carefully and place them in freezer bags, then bring them out for heat-and-heat fast meal on a busy weeknight. Hey, I still have busy weeknights – I should be doing this more often!

To be honest, my calzone recipe was pretty standard stuff – tomato sauce, pepperoni and shredded cheese. Here comes Emeril to the rescue, stuffing his calzone recipe with Genoa salami, ricotta, mozzarella, Parmigiana-Reggiano, and fresh basil.  This is truly a calzone taken to notches unknown, a real live #SeriousSandwich. (Hubs and kiddos both give thumbs up to this kicked-up version, and I left out the crushed red pepper.)

This post is part of the #SeriousSandwich blogalong to celebrate the publication of Emeril Lagasse’s “Emeril’s Kicked-Up Sandwiches: Stacked with Flavor” (Morrow, $24.99). If you’d like your very own copy of this fabulous new cookbook, then click over to this post for the giveaway. And in the meantime, assemble your ingredients for the busy mom’s best friend, aka the Calzone.

Calzones with tomato sauce for dipping. Lucy Mercer/A Cook and Her Books

Sopressata and Genoa Salami Calzones

4 calzones

I love this calzone with a variety of salami, but this is a recipe where you can safely go in many directions. Change up the cheese, use roasted red peppers or sautéed mushrooms instead of the meat, add Roasted Garlic (page 79) . . . I could go on and on. And you don’t have to eat them right out of the oven, either—they travel well, so pack your picnic basket!

1 recipe Semolina Pizza Dough (use Emeril’s recipe, or your favorite homemade or storebought)
1 cup Quick Tomato Sauce for Calzones (recipe follows) or your favorite jarred pizza/pasta sauce
1 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
8 ounces mixed sopressata, hot sopressata, Genoa salami, and/or pepperoni, chopped
1 cup ricotta cheese, drained
8 ounces smoked mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
¼ cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Flour or cornmeal, for dusting the pizza peel

1. Place a pizza stone in the bottom third of the oven and preheat the oven to 500°F. (Alternatively, place an upside-down rimmed baking sheet on the rack in your oven.)

2. Halve one of the pieces of dough and roll it out on a lightly floured work surface to form two 8-inch rounds. Spread ¼ cup of the tomato sauce over the bottom half of each round, leaving a 1-inch border. Sprinkle ¼ cup of the basil and one-quarter of the cured meats evenly over each portion of sauce. Sprinkle one-quarter of the ricotta, mozzarella, Parmesan, and crushed red pepper over each portion of meat. Gently fold the top half of the dough over the filling, rolling and pressing the edges together with your fingertips to seal them, and crimping as you go along. Make 2 more calzones with the remaining ingredients.

3. Depending on the size of your oven, you may be able to bake only 2 calzones at a time. Cut several small slits in the top of each calzone to allow air to escape while baking, and transfer the calzones to a pizza peel that has been lightly dusted with flour or cornmeal (to facilitate moving the dough). Tilt the pizza peel to slide the calzones onto the preheated baking stone. Bake for 16 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the dough is cooked through. Remove the calzones from the oven with the pizza peel or a spatula, and serve immediately or at room temperature.

Quick Tomato Sauce for Calzones

1 3/4 cups
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
One 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes, drained and pureed
1 sprig fresh thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Heat the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and cook for 3 minutes, until soft. Add the tomatoes, thyme sprig, salt, and pepper, and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir in the extra-virgin olive oil, discard the thyme sprig, and set aside until ready to use.

If you love cookbooks like I do, you gotta follow The Secret Ingredient Blog from Morrow Books.
Text and images copyright 2012, Lucy Mercer, with the exceptions
 of the cover of  Emeril's Kicked-Up Sandwiches, provided by Morrow, 
and the recipe text, reprinted with permission from Morrow.


Aly ~ Cooking In Stilettos said...

That looks FANTASTIC!

Kimberly said...

I loved these calzones too! Nice job!

Anonymous said...

I actually made "mini" calzones too! But they were still pretty big :) Made it much easier for the hubby to take them to work for lunch!

Sara C said...

I agree that this calzone recipe is definitely a notch above the majority! Great post :)

Buffi T said...

Sounds yummy!