Sunday, September 4, 2011

calzones

     The other day, the hubs mentioned his great fondness for calzones. I've known the guy for 33 years and did not know this tidbit of info... HOW is that possible? Anyway, I decided to make him some.
     A calzone is sort of a wrong-side-out, folded pizza without all the sauce. Your favorite fillings can be folded inside the crust.
     Red sauce can then be poured over the calzone and eaten with a fork, or if you make a small hand-held version similar to a meat pie, it can be dipped.
      I began by taking my favorite pizza dough and placing it in a well-oiled bowl. I let it rise for a bit. While that was going on, I made the filling.
     I happened to have Italian sausage, sweet cubanella peppers and a vidalia onion on hand. The whole process took mere minutes. The result? Crusty, delicious calzones and a happy husband!
Ingredients
2 refrigerated pizza crusts
1 T. olive oil, for cooking, plus more to rub on dough
1 pound sweet or hot Italian sausage, sliced into pieces
a pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
1 large onion, chopped
4 small cubanella peppers or 1 large red or yellow bell pepper, chopped
4 cloves garlic minced
salt and pepper to taste
2 T. concentrated tomato sauce from a tube
1/4 c. dry red wine
1/4 to 1/2 c. prepared red sauce
1 T. fresh rosemary, chopped
8 oz. fresh mozzarella balls (boccini or pearls)

Directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Chop veggies and slice the sausage links into rounds. Begin browning the meat in a wide, flat-bottomed pan on medium heat.
Add the vegetables and stir. If you like a little heat, throw in a pinch of red pepper flakes. Season with black pepper and a tiny bit of salt. When meat is cooked through add the tomato paste. Let it brown a little, then splash in the red wine and red sauce. Toss in the fresh herbs, if you have them. If not, add a teaspoon of dried herbs.
Simmer to reduce sauciness. When it has tightened up quite a bit and most of liquid is gone, remove from heat and let it cool. Prepare the dough by cutting into two or three pieces, depending on desired size of calzone. Stretch dough, fill with sausage and peppers. Evenly distribute fresh mozzarella balls among the calzones. Crimp edges to seal. Make a couple of tiny slits in the top of each one to vent. Bake in 400 degree oven for 10 minutes. Remove and serve with sauce.
      A calzone is a great way to use up cooked stuff you're tired of eating... veggies, cooked meat, cheeses. Wrapping anything in pizza crust and surrounding it with gooey, melted cheese has to taste good, doesn't it?

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