To Build a Better Calzone

I had my first calzone when I was in my late teens.  So big.  So crusty.  So cheesy.  Where had this wonderful thing been all my life?

It’s been true love ever since but those around me have never shared my lust for the gooey mess that is a good calzone.

The 3 lb tub of ricotta was on sale about a month ago so I grabbed it, forgetting that no one but me really likes the stuff.  My excitement at the price just swept all those thoughts away.

Sy and Mal are not picky eaters. They will literally eat whatever you put in front of them and probably go for seconds even if they didn’t truly like it. It’s food.

That said, they really don’t like ricotta.

It’s a texture thing. Too wet.

So there goes the idea of stuffed shells, too much work anyway.  I didn’t want pasta and sauce for dinner, too much heartburn.  I wanted a calzone but no one but me in the house is happy to eat one.

I don’t due multiple meals for different taste buds. No one will starve if you refuse to make chicken fingers for every meal. Really.  That said, is there really any point in making a meal only one person will enjoy?  Seems like a waste of time and food.

Hence, the not-recipe for calzone haters that blends nicely with the ingredients necessary for a calzone:

I cooked off a pound of pasta, al dente, since I was going to bake it in sauce and didn’t want it to get soggy.

Mozzarella was also on sale recently (as the four pounds in cheese cave section of the fridge can attest) so I shredded 1/4 of a pound, set it aside and cubed the rest.

Once the pasta was cooked I added a couple of pints of sauce from the 100 pounds I processed and canned over the summer.  I threw in some of the mozzarella cubes and poured 2/3 of the pasta into a baking dish.  Sy added slivers of ricotta like pats of butter for flavor and then the rest of the sauced pasta went on top.  Bake for a 1/2 hour or so.  Add the shredded mozzarella and bake till melted.

For the calzone I made up a batch of pizza doughI use the Neapolitan pizza recipe from How to Bake by Nick Malgieri but any pizza crust will probably work. 

Into the rest of the ricotta I added the cubed mozzarella and some shredded Romano (maybe a 1/2 c).  Spread out the dough on a piece of parchment paper (or a cookie sheet) glob in the filling, fold over and pinch to seal the edges.

I baked it on a pizza stone at 450°till it looked done.  I got a bit distracted playing Harvest Moon: Animal Parade so at first I was pissed that I’d overcooked it.  Once I tasted it I realized it was actually perfect.  Turns out I’ve been under-cooking my calzones all these years.  Don’t be afraid to cook it!  Then again, we like a bit of burn on our crusts in this part of the country.

I let it rest on the pizza stone in the oven till it wasn’t lava hot inside.  The crust did get a bit soggy so maybe next time I’ll try draining the ricotta overnight (strainer in the fridge method) to see if that helps.

The boys were happy with their cheesy pasta bake and I got to have a calzone without feeling like I’m imposing my food fetishes on an unappreciative audience.

The last beautiful bite.
The last beautiful bite.

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