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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Spinach and Ricotta Calzones

Can you imagine what it would be like to go to one of your favorite bakeries in town and load up your car with 100 cinnamon rolls, along with endless brownies, scones, muffins, and two dozen still warm calzones? Can you now imagine that you have to drive this car load of fresh baked goodies across town without eating one of them? That was me this past Saturday. I was picking up all the goodies for the Wild Arts Walk at Creamer's Field. It took everything in me not to "steal" one of those fresh warm calzones from Bun on the Run. Since they were actually closed when I went to pick everything up, I had no choice but to make my own for dinner Saturday night. These are far more involved than our standard Saturday night pizza, but they were worth it because we actually got two meals out of it. I will give you fair warning that there were a lot of complaints (which I did not read until after I made it) online about the dough recipe. The recipe is really similar to my standard pizza dough recipe, which I can attest turns out perfect every time. I didn't have any problem with this one either, but a lot of folks said they had issues with the amount of oil and I must admit it seemed like a lot. The finished product was great and I thought they were even better warmed up for dinner last night. Don't forget to warm up some pizza sauce to serve alongside...
Spinach and Three Cheese Calzones
adapted from Tyler Florence on the Food Network

1 package rapid-rising dry yeast
3/4 cup warm water
1 tablespoon sugar
3 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt

In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine yeast with warm water and sugar. Stir gently to dissolve, then let stand 5 minutes until foam appears. Pour in 1/4 cup olive oil and add salt. Turn mixer on low and slowly add the flour, 1 cup at a time. When the dough starts to come together (add more water or flour if necessary), increase the speed to medium. Stop the machine periodically to scrape the dough off the hook. Mix until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, about 10 minutes.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and fold over itself a few times. Form dough into a round and place in an oiled bowl, turn to coat the entire ball with oil so it doesn't form a skin. Cover with plastic wrap or damp towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 45 minutes. (Prepare filling while dough rises) When ready, knead the dough gently and divide in 4 balls. Sprinkle the rounds lightly with flour, cover, and let rest for 15 minutes.

Spinach and Cheese Filling:
15 oz. fresh ricotta
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound baby spinach, washed and dried
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup grated Parmesan
1/2 cup shredded fontina
1 egg beaten
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Drain the ricotta in a sieve to remove excess moisture. In a saute pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes until lightly browned. Add the spinach, salt and pepper, and continue to cook until wilted, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a colander and squeeze out the excess liquid. Calzone filling should be fairly dry, because it may leak out or make the dough mushy. Combine spinach, cheeses including ricotta, egg, and pepper in a large bowl.

1 egg beaten
Cornmeal, for dusting

Place a pizza stone on middle rack in the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F. If you don't have a stone, simply grease a baking pan. Roll or spread the dough rounds into 10-inch circles, leave the dough slightly thick so that the filling will not escape. Spoon a generous amount of the filling onto 1/2 of the dough round
and brush the outer edge with egg wash to help form a seal. Fold dough over to enclose the filling and form a large turnover. Roll up the edges with your fingers to close tightly and prevent leaking. Cut a few slashes in the top to allow steam to escape during baking and brush with egg wash. Repeat with remaining rounds. Sprinkle a pizza peel (or prepared baking pan) with cornmeal and carefully transfer the calzones. Bake directly on pizza stone for 25 to 30 minutes until golden brown. Let the calzones rest 10 minutes before cutting to allow the cheese to set.


  1. I have a new pizza stone I'm still playing with, "5-minute 'artisan' dough" in the fridge, and spinach in the garden. I'm going to make these and I'm going to call them Spinach & Ricotta Pasties, eh!

  2. That was the first thing I thought when they came out of the oven! I even said to David, "these look like pasties". I have thought about doing a pasty post, but I have only made them once since leaving the U.P.
    There are so many "Yoopers" living in Fairbanks, I keep saying we need to have a pasty party and invite all the Yoopers in Fairbanks.

    If you get a chance to make your own ricotta, I highly recommend it, makes all the difference.

  3. Mouthwatering Calzones! Perfect for a Sunday Bruch or pinic!
    Thanks for sharing your recipe!

    "Join our growing food community and submit your heirloom recipe for all the world to share"


  4. My hubby is a vegetarian. I always struggle to find him some new recipes. I always make pizza, a calzone is so much better. I'm going to make this one for him tonight. Thanks!


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