Friday, February 10, 2012

Calzones...Spinach & Cheese

Last night I made spinach and cheese calzones.  It was my first time making them and for the first time, they turned out pretty good.  I did learn a couple of things along the way....the filling recipe I used was enough to make 4 calzones...well, since it was just my husband and I, I decided to just make 2 really overstuffed calzones.  That was mistake #1 (they were huge and it was just too much filling proportionate to the crust).  Then, it called for 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes -- I didn't measure, I guesstimated...and I guesstimated on the heavy side....that was mistake #2 (they were VERY spicy).  Other than that, I thought they turned out beautifully and if they had the correct amount of filling like they should have, they would have been awesome. They are so huge that we will be eating the leftovers again tonight...and maybe tomorrow too!!!  This recipe called for 1 pound of fresh spinach...which looks like a LOT!  I sauteed it in an 8 quart stock pot (like the kind you use to boil spaghetti in) and I had to wait to add all of it because it was piled much higher than the top of that pot....but I want you to see how much it cooked down in just 5 was unbelievable.  I've cooked with fresh spinach many times before, but I always forget how much it really collapses when it cooks down.  I did not make my own pizza dough for this recipe because I had an extra ball of fresh pizza dough, bought from Publix, left over from dinner a few nights ago when I made pizza.  Check out a few of my photos as well as the recipe for the spinach cheese filling below.  If you decide to make it, don't make the same mistakes I made...if the recipe says it fills 4 calzones, don't try to squeeze it all into only 2...and measure your red pepper flakes unless you like the feeling of your lips on fire!  ;-)

One pound of spinach cooked down to barely cover the bottom of the pan.
Just popped into the oven to begin baking.
Fresh out of the oven.
Isn't it pretty (and pretty stuffed)?
Served with a side of pizza sauce for dipping.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 green spring onions, sliced
  • 1 pound baby spinach, washed and dried
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 15 ounces ricotta
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 cup shredded Italian cheese blend
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

In a large saute pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes until lightly browned; add sliced green onions and sauté another minute or two.  Add the spinach, salt and pepper (to taste), and continue to cook until wilted, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a colander and squeeze out the excess liquid. If necessary, drain the ricotta in a sieve to remove any excess moisture. The calzone filling should be fairly dry, to keep it from leaking out or making the dough mushy. Combine the spinach mixture, cheeses, egg, and red pepper flakes in a large bowl.
For Calzones: Place a pizza stone 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 discs into 10-inch circles, leave the dough slightly thick so that the filling will not ooze out. Spoon a quarter of the filling onto 1 side 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. Serve with marinara sauce or your favorite sauce for dipping.
Pizza Dough:
·        **  Use your favorite pizza crust dough recipe (enough to make 2 large pizzas or 4 small) or purchase pre-made dough
·        **   Eggwash (1 egg beaten with a little water or milk)

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