I ate my first calzone when I was in grade school at the local pizza chain in my hometown. There was something intriguing and a bit exotic about the new offering on the menu even though it was the same crust wrapped around the same toppings. I went through a calzone phase, but eventually I was back to my standard slice of plain cheese. Maybe if I were more into vegetables and other additions, I would have stuck with the calzone.
Pizza is a mainstay of my diet, and I couldn’t remember the last time I had a calzone. Instead of rolling a batch of dough into a flat pie, I folded it around a chunky, satisfying filling to make a spinach tomato calzone. My go-to homemade tomato sauce was enhanced with onions, spinach and a combination of cheeses—ricotta, mozzarella and Parmesan. While my loyalty is to pizza, I will try a calzone again for a change of pace.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 small white onion, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 ounces baby spinach
1-28 ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Flour for dusting work surface
1 pound homemade or store-bought pizza dough
Cornmeal for pizza stone
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F with a pizza stone on the lower rack.
For the tomato sauce, heat the olive oil in large skillet over medium high heat. Sauté the onions for 2-3 minutes and then add the garlic and spinach. Continue cooking for 2-3 minutes until the onion has softened and the spinach has wilted. Add the tomatoes, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Simmer until the sauce has thickened and almost all the liquid has evaporated, about 20-30 minutes. As the sauce is cooking, break up the tomatoes using the back of a wooden spoon or a potato masher.
Combine the tomato sauce with the ricotta, mozzarella and Parmesan.
On a lightly floured work surface, divide the pizza dough into 4 pieces and roll each into an 8-inch diameter circle about an 1/8-inch thick. Spread the tomato sauce on half the dough leaving a 3/4-inch border. Fold the dough over the filling and crimp the edges together. Cut 3 small slashes in the top of each calzone.
Remove the pizza stone from the oven and sprinkle with cornmeal. Transfer the calzones to the pizza stone. Bake for 20 minutes until the calzones are light brown. Cool for 5 minutes before serving.