Fresh homemade calzones

How to Make Calzones: An Alternative to Pizza

What’s your favorite food?
For lots of people, kids especially, the natural response is instantaneous and emphatic: pizza! You can hardly go wrong with pizza. Toasty crust, cheese, some tomato sauce, your favorite toppings. Everyone’s happy, right?

The dreaded pizza conflict and how to have it your way
For all of pizza’s perfection, there is a potential conflict over toppings. Some people like mushrooms and others can’t stand them. Or someone’s against onions, and you can’t imagine pizza without. Or maybe you love anchovies and no one else in your family does. Not that we can’t compromise when it comes to pizza, but there is a solution you may not have explored thoroughly: calzones! Once you’ve made your pizza dough you’re on the doorstep of a calzone breakthrough. All you have to do is divide the dough into smaller rounds and proceed as you would for pizza.

If you like the sound of family harmony, proceed as follows
Divide the dough into 4 balls of dough instead of the 2 balls that make 2 pizzas. Use your own recipe or try our Rustic Pizza Crust Recipe. Feel free to take liberties in terms of splitting up the dough into portions. Maybe you want to make 6 smaller calzones–it’s up to you. Shape and stretch your dough into the familiar flat, round shape on parchment. It’s more manageable if each calzone has its own piece of parchment. After I shaped these, I used kitchen scissors to cut away some of the extra parchment.

How to pull it together
Layer your calzone fillings on half of each round dough portion, leaving a ridge at the edges where you will seal them. Consider including some of the following: sauteed onions or peppers, pepperoni, ham or sopresata, broccoli or spinach (blanched and squeezed as dry as possible), cheese of almost any kind, pesto sauce or tomato sauce. The possibilities are as endless for calzones as they are for pizza. Once you have the toppings you like, fold the un-topped portion of the dough over the toppings and pinch the edges together. Poke 3 holes in the top of the calzone and finish assembling the others. Slide these onto your pizza stone in your preheated 500F oven. I had to cook these in 2 batches since I just have room for 2 at a time on one smallish circular stone.

Calzones cook in a very similar manner to pizza–about 10-12 minutes, rotating halfway through cooking. Look for some dark spots and good sizzling, and you’re set. You can serve them just like this, which is what I did, or you can make a marinara-style sauce to spoon over at the table.

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