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Calzones

Calzones

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Serves 4.
By Dennis W. Viau; modified from a recipe in a restaurant trade journal.

An Italian friend said these pastries are sometimes called svuotafrigo, literally “refrigerator emptier,” in Italy because they are made to economically use up leftovers. I made mine from scratch, including the dough, from fresh ingredients. The calzones were delicious.

Ingredients:

For the Dough:
10.2 ounces (289g) all-purpose flour (just over 2 cups)
5.8 ounces (165g) water (almost ¾ cup); see Note at end
1 teaspoon yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt
For the Calzones:
2 tablespoons pure (not extra virgin) olive oil (for frying)
2 Italian sausages (4 ounces/114g each), casings removed
1 clove garlic, minced or crushed through a garlic press
Optional: 2 anchovy fillets
8 ounces (227g) ricotta cheese
8 ounces (227g) mozzarella cheese, shredded
¼ cup (28g) grated Parmesan cheese
2 ounces (57g) pepperoni slices, coarsely chopped
½ teaspoon dried oregano (or Italian seasoning)
Optional: ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 pound (454g) bread dough or pizza dough (from above)
Corn meal (for the pizza peel)
2 cups (400g) marinara sauce (more as needed)

Directions:

If possible, make the dough the evening before and let rise in the refrigerator overnight.

Combine all the dough ingredients and mix until dry enough to knead. Transfer to a clean surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover with plastic, and let rise in the refrigerator. If making the same day, let rise at room temperature until doubled in bulk, about an hour.

Spread the ricotta cheese on several layers of paper towels and press more paper towels on top to wick moisture out of the cheese. This can be done the evening before. Place the paper-towel wrapped cheese on a plate, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator with the dough.

Heat the oven to 450°F (232°C) with a pizza stone, if available, on a middle rack.

Heat the oil in a skillet and sauté the sausage meat, breaking it up with a spatula, until thoroughly cooked and lightly browned. Add the garlic and (optional) anchovy fillets. Cook a minute longer, stirring to break up the fillets (if using). Push the meat to one side and tilt the pan and let any oil in the meat drain. Then transfer the meat to a mixing bowl.

Add the cheese, chopped pepperoni, and herbs. Mix well. Divide into 4 portions.

Punch down the dough and divide into 4 portions. While working with one portion, keep the others wrapped.

Shape each dough portion into a round flat disk 7 to 8 inches (18 to 20cm) in diameter. Place a portion of filling on the dough circle, arranging it toward one side but leaving room around the edges. Fold the uncovered half of the dough circle over the filling and press well around the edges to seal the pastry closed. Press with a fork the help seal the pastry. Cut vents in the top, large enough such that they won’t close and seal as the dough expands in the oven. Continue with the remaining dough and filling, making four calzones.

Dust a pizza peel with corn meal and place the calzones, 2 at a time, on the peel. Slide the calzones onto the pizza stone, arranging to fit all four onto the stone. If you do not have a pizza stone, you can arrange the calzones on a baking sheet.

Bake about 20 minutes until the dough is golden brown. Note: You might see some leakage of the filling from the edges or out of the vents as it expends. Remove from the oven and cool slightly on a rack.

Heat the marinara sauce and spoon into individual serving bowls for dipping the calzones. Serve warm.