Italian food is one of America’s favorites with pizza and pasta topping the list. Pizza places are everywhere today from wood-fired to coal heated. Calzones are similar to pizza however, the dough is folded over the center ingredients, and baked in a hot oven for an ooey gooey filling that is irresistible.
Calzones are not as popular today as they used to be when I was young. I remember some of the local Italian eateries in Anaheim having some of the most amazing baked calzones – pepperoni, sausage and chicken alfredo – just to name a few varieties.
I like a mixture of both meat and veggies in mine, like in this recipe for Meatball & Peppers Calzone. The combination of flavors is similar to spaghetti & meatballs, but a little more veggie focused with the sauteed red and yellow peppers encrusted in a warm baked dough.
Calzones are fun to serve for an easy weeknight meal, or on the weekends when a few friends pop over for a casual meal. Also, calzones can be sliced in thirds and served as an appetizer for a start of a great party.
1 cup mini peppers or 1 large bell pepper, sliced
1 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
16 ounces pizza dough, fresh or frozen (defrosted)
8 ping pong ball sized meatballs, purchased from deli or homemade
1 cup tomato puree
1 cup shredded mozzarella or smoked mozzarella
1/2 cup grated parmesan
salt & pepper
(Makes 2 large Calzones)
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a saute pan over medium heat, add 2 teaspoons olive oil, peppers, onions and garlic. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper and saute for 4 minutes, or until translucent. Remove from heat.
2. Divide dough into 2 rounds and place first round on a lightly dusted surface. Roll dough out into a thin round, about 1/4 inch thick. Place dough on a lightly dusted peel (if baking on a pizza stone) or sheet pan.
3. If using store bought meatballs, toss with 1/2 cup tomato puree, reserving the rest for the calzones. Place 1/2 peppers mixture on top of one side of dough, followed by half the meatballs. If the meatballs are larger than ping pong ball size, cut in half.
4. Top with half the mozzarella and parmesan cheeses. Spoon 1/4 cup tomato puree on top of filling.
5. Fold dough over to form a half-moon shape and seal by pressing edges together. Rub with 1 teaspoon of olive oil. Slide calzone into oven either on pizza stone or sheet pan. Bake for 20 minutes, or until top is golden brown.
6. Remove from oven and let rest 5 minutes before slicing. Serve with any additional tomato puree. Enjoy!