Easy recipe for homemade calzones filled with spinach and cheese

Homemade Calzones

June 24, 2014 by Michelle

I may not have a drop of Italian blood in me, but you wouldn’t know it. I’m pretty sure that I’ll be retiring somewhere in a small village in Tuscany, and Italian food is one of my favorite things to cook.When I asked Little Miss what she wanted me to cook for the first night in our new house, she unhesitatingly replied, “Pizza!” So, of course, I did. And when I make pizza, I tend to make a lot of dough, but I didn’t feel like making extra pizzas like I usually do and having leftover pizza for the next few days.

No, instead this time, I stuck my dough into the fridge, vowing to make something different with it the next day. When I went to the store to stock up on my requisite fruits and veggies, I saw that they had their homemade mozzarella on sale, which I buy every time it goes on sale and enjoy those little morsels until they’re gone. As I ordered up my container of bocconcini, I noticed that they also had ricotta on sale.

And an idea was born. I already had spinach and garlic in my cart, as well as tomatoes and fresh basil. I had mozzarella at home from the pizzas I’d made the night before, and I had a little sauce left over from the pizzas, although not a ton. Instead of making more pizzas, I was going to make calzones.

Easy recipe for homemade calzones filled with spinach and cheese

Calzones are a lot like pizza, but they have are so different at the same time with their oozing cheese and crispy crust. Just like “real” calzones, mine have the sauce on the outside, served as a condiment rather than being baked into the calzone. It’s a perfect complement, and I love that you can easily customize calzone to anyone’s taste preference.

My personal favorite is calzones stuffed with three cheeses, herbs, spinach, and tomatoes. You could easily sautee mushrooms and add them or toss in some pepperoni. You could be adventurous like Mister Man who loves his with pineapple and Canadian bacon. Your calzone is a blank canvas of goodness.

You can easily buy some pizza dough from your local store, or simply whip up some of my homemade pizza dough, which is super easy and forgiving. I use the same traditional pasta sauce I use for many Italian dishes, but a jarred marinara works if that’s your preference.

Lastly, I tend to make two large calzones and then cut them to share. If you prefer, it’s easy to make four smaller calzones that are perfect to pair with a salad for a delicious family meal.

Homemade Calzones

Ingredients:
1 recipe pizza dough
1 c tomato sauce
16 oz ricotta cheese
2 c mozzarella cheese
3/4 c Parmesan cheese
2 eggs, separated
1 t pepper
1/2 t salt
2 T basil, chopped
3 cloves garlic
4 c fresh spinach
2 tomatoes
1 T olive oil

Directions:
Make your pizza dough ahead of time to let it start rising. Once the pizza dough is made, start on your spinach so that it has cooled enough for you to drain when you’re ready to make the filling.

Peel your garlic and chop it. Heat a pan and add the oil. Once the oil has heated and is starting to shimmer, add the garlic. Once it starts to smell fragrant, add the spinach and stir quickly so that the garlic isn’t all on the bottom of the pan. Your spinach will wilt quickly and significantly. Once it has wilted, remove it from the heat and let it cool.

Prepping your spinach for the calzones, and it will be amazing how much it wilts

About twenty minutes before you want to start cooking your calzones, preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

While your spinach is cooling, prepare the rest of the filling. Wash your tomatoes and cut them in half. Remove the seeds and ribs so that you have just the outside of the tomato remaining. Chop the remaining tomato relatively finely, and add it to a bowl. Place the ricotta, mozzarella, and Parmesan cheeses into the bowl, as well as the salt and pepper.

 

Chiffonade your basil, and add it to the bowl, as well. Add one egg, and separate the other egg, adding the yolk but keeping the white to use as an egg wash later. With a spatula or fork, stir together the filling ingredients.

Once the spinach has cooled, place it onto a thick paper towel and squeeze out all the moisture you can. You want as little liquid in the filling as possible to help ensure that it doesn’t spill out when you are cooking. Once you’ve gotten the spinach as dry as possible, add the spinach to your filling and stir to distribute.

Make your filling for the homemade calzones

Cut your dough into two equal pieces, each about the size of a baseball. If you are making 4 smaller calzones, make four pieces instead. Flour your surface well, and carefully roll your dough into about a 10 inch circle, making it a little thicker than you would for a pizza to ensure that it doesn’t break and release the filling.

Roll out your dough for calzones to 10 inch circles

Scoop half the filling onto the bottom third of one circle. Drape the top two thirds of the dough over the filling, and carefully tuck the dough into itself starting at one end and finishing on the other so that it is sealed in a roll pattern. Repeat with the second (and third and fourth, if making smaller calzones).

How to make a homemade calzones

Liberally sprinkle corn meal onto a pizza peel. Gently pick up and place each calzone onto the pizza peel. Add a tablespoon of water to the egg white you have reserved and use a fork to whisk it together. Brush the egg wash atop both calzones, then place into the 400 degree oven for 20-25 minutes until lightly golden.

Beautiful homemade calzone with tomato sauce garnish

Remove from the oven and serve immediately with your tomato sauce as a garnish. These can be cooled, then refrigerated and reheated in the oven at 200 degrees for 5-10 minutes and enjoyed the next day, but they’re truly best fresh.

Homemade Calzones

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Yield: 2 large calzones or 4 smaller ones

Homemade Calzones

An easy to follow recipe for spinach and cheese calzones. Use store bought pizza dough and sauce or make your own with the recipes in the notes. This will make 2 large calzones or 4 smaller calzones.

Ingredients

  • 1 recipe pizza dough
  • 1 c tomato sauce
  • 16 oz ricotta cheese
  • 2 c mozzarella cheese
  • 3/4 c Parmesan cheese
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 1 t pepper
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 2 T basil, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 4 c fresh spinach
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 T olive oil

Instructions

  1. Make your pizza dough ahead of time to let it start rising. Once the pizza dough is made, start on your spinach so that it has cooled enough for you to drain when you're ready to make the filling.
  2. Peel your garlic and chop it. Heat a pan and add the oil. Once the oil has heated and is starting to shimmer, add the garlic. Once it starts to smell fragrant, add the spinach and stir quickly so that the garlic isn't all on the bottom of the pan. Your spinach will wilt quickly and significantly. Once it has wilted, remove it from the heat and let it cool.
  3. About twenty minutes before you want to start cooking your calzones, preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  4. While your spinach is cooling, prepare the rest of the filling. Wash your tomatoes and cut them in half. Remove the seeds and ribs so that you have just the outside of the tomato remaining. Chop the remaining tomato relatively finely, and add it to a bowl. Place the ricotta, mozzarella, and Parmesan cheeses into the bowl, as well as the salt and pepper.
  5. Chiffonade your basil, and add it to the bowl, as well. Add one egg, and separate the other egg, adding the yolk but keeping the white to use as an egg wash later. With a spatula or fork, stir together the filling ingredients.
  6. Once the spinach has cooled, place it onto a thick paper towel and squeeze out all the moisture you can. You want as little liquid in the filling as possible to help ensure that it doesn't spill out when you are cooking. Once you've gotten the spinach as dry as possible, add the spinach to your filling and stir to distribute.
  7. Cut your dough into two equal pieces, each about the size of a baseball. If you are making 4 smaller calzones, make four pieces instead. Flour your surface well, and carefully roll your dough into about a 10 inch circle, making it a little thicker than you would for a pizza to ensure that it doesn't break and release the filling.
  8. Scoop half the filling onto the bottom third of one circle. Drape the top two thirds of the dough over the filling, and carefully tuck the dough into itself starting at one end and finishing on the other so that it is sealed in a roll pattern. Repeat with the second (and third and fourth, if making smaller calzones).
  9. Liberally sprinkle corn meal onto a pizza peel. Gently pick up and place each calzone onto the pizza peel. Add a tablespoon of water to the egg white you have reserved and use a fork to whisk it together. Brush the egg wash atop both calzones, then place into the 400 degree oven for 20-25 minutes until lightly golden.
  10. Remove from the oven and serve immediately with your tomato sauce as a garnish.

Notes

These can be cooled, then refrigerated and reheated in the oven at 200 degrees for 5-10 minutes and enjoyed the next day, but they're truly best fresh. You can find a pizza dough recipe here: http://www.honestandtruly.com/2009/06/tasty-tuesday-71/ and the sauce recipe here: http://www.honestandtruly.com/2009/11/tasty-tuesday-53/

http://www.honestandtruly.com/homemade-calzones/

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    Comments

  • Chrystal @ YUM eating


    These look amazing. I recently had a calzone that was called “Garden Vegetable Calzone” at a local eatery. It had brussle sprouts , cauliflower and just a whole lot of vegetables I would of never thought to put inside a calzone. It was so yummmmm! Stopping by from Tickle my Tastebuds, but I would love for you to link up on my party, The Yuck Stops Here if you like. : http://yumeating.com/yuck-stops-13-stoptheyuck/

    • Michelle


      Yes yes yes! That’s it exactly. Calzones are a blank canvas and open to so many ideas. I actually had Brussels sprouts in my fridge and almost put them in my calzone, but ultimately decided against it because my son was going to share them with me. They would be SO good. With a little bacon.

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