Monday, July 02, 2007

In the 'Zone

Our Hero loves pizza. Deeply. So deeply I often wonder if I should be jealous. No matter how recently he's ordered a slice or three for a meal, he's ready for more. A friend of his with whom he traveled talks of great detours in walking trips in order to procure a droopy wedge of the stuff.

Our Hero's favorite pizzas are pretty standard stuff, generally from the pizzaria around the corner (any corner): floppy crust, the barest schmear of marinara, greasy cheese, sausage and/or pepperoni. That's it. Oh, and the bigger, the better.

And here's where we part ways . . . Though I can enjoy a neighborhood slice, my favorite pizzas are usually homemade and healthier: white with lots of veggies and a bit of flavorful cheese.

(Note that one of my past recipes is called "Our Hero's Favorite Pizza" - let me qualify that as Our Hero's Favorite Homemade Pizza.)

. . . so it was with love in my heart that I decided to make "supreme" calzone for dinner. I had a couple of fresh italian chicken sausages, 1/2 a red bell pepper, and mushrooms in my fridge - all pleading to be used - calzone was calling. This was my first official try at a calzone (though there was one "rustic Greek calzone" accidental pizza fold-over my brother may remember), and it was as easy as I expected. I have been toying with a new pizza dough recipe, adapted from Mark Bittman's version. I have also (gasp) been taking to making it in the Cuisinart. I refuse to apologize. It's so fast!

Calzone Supreme

1 pkg. rapid-rise yeast
2 t. salt
3 cups white whole-wheat flour
2 T. olive oil
1-1 1/4 cup water

In a food processor: Combine yeast, salt, and flour in the bowl of the processor. Turn the machine on. Slowly pour in the oil and 1 cup of the water. Allow to mix a bit, adding additional water little by little if needed until the dough forms a ball. Process for 30 more seconds. Remove from machine and shape into a ball. Place in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise 1-2 hours, until doubled in bulk.

By hand: Combine yeast, salt, and flour in a bowl. Stir in oil and enough water for dough to form a ball. Knead for 5-10 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Place in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise 1-2 hours, until doubled in bulk.

1 cup thick marinara or pizza sauce
2 links fresh italian hot chicken sausage, removed from casing
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
10 oz. baby bella mushrooms, sliced
1 cup part-skim mozzerella cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Heat a skillet over medium-high. Add sausage, breaking up into small pieces until fully cooked. Place in a bowl and set aside. Add mushrooms to any accumulated fat from the sausage (it should be a modest amount), stir, cover, and cook 2-3 minutes, until juices begin to release. Add peppers, remove cover and cook until all juices have evaporated, 5 minutes or so. Season with salt and pepper. It's important to cook away the moisture so that the calzone do not get soggy. When veggies have cooked, remove to a plate.

Divide the risen dough into four equal pieces. Flatten and stretch each piece into a circle 7-8 inches in diameter. You may need to let the dough rest a bit between stretches.

Spread 2-3 T. marinara on 1/2 of each dough circle, leaving 3/4-inch border. Sprinkle with 1/4 of the sausage and a good 1/4-cup of the veggies. Sprinkle with 2-3 T. of cheese You want the calzone full, but still able to close. Wet the edge with a bit of water and fold the dough over the filling. Pinch the two sides together with your fingers, and crimp the edges with a fork. Cut three steam vents in the top of the turnover.

Place on an oiled baking sheet and bake 20-30 minutes, until golden. Let cool a bit before serving.


kickpleat said...

wow, that looks great! i've never made a calzone but it looks lovely and super delicious.

Nora B. said...

I love calzone and yours looks great. Your man has his pizza, and mine has his meat pie(s). I think it's an Aussie guy thing. I try not to come in between him & his meat pies ;-)

Nora B. said...

p/s: How many grams/oz is one pkg of yeast? thanks!

wellunderstood said...

kickpleat - it was delicious! i always think it's fun to have your very own self-contained serving of something, like a turnover or ramekin.

nora - i concur, it could be dangerous getting between our hero and a hot slice. and per your question, a package of yeast is 1/4 oz or 7 grams.

Pat said...

Ohhhhhh I love pizza and Calazones!!! YUM!!! Actually off to town to have pizza today. Could probably give Hero a run for his money on eating pizza. Love it!

Kristen said...

My hubby loves pizza too. I'll have to give calzone's a try. I bet they would be a hit!

eatme_delicious said...

mmm that looks really good. i've never really thought about making a calzone before but they always intrigue me when i see them on menus so i really should. i'm saving this recipe. :)

wellunderstood said...

thanks for your comments! i think these are so tasty and fun, you should give them a spin!