Easy, Cheesy Calzone Recipe - Delishably - Food and Drink
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Easy, Cheesy Calzone Recipe

Vespa's recipes have appeared in "Midwest Living" and "Taste of Home". She belongs to Cook's Recipe Testers for "Cook's Illustrated".

Easy Calzone Recipe

Easy Calzone Recipe

A Great Alternative to Pizza for the Home Chef

Have you ever longed for a homemade pizza as delicious as those from local pizzerias? Unfortunately, results for home chefs are often inconsistent. Common issues include soggy crust, uncooked middle, dry topping, overly gooey cheese, and other texture issues. Although a pizza stone can improve your results, the main problem boils down to the oven. Pizzeria ovens are specially designed to cook evenly and at high temperatures.

So is the situation hopeless? Far from it! Next time you're in the mood for homemade pizza, why not try a calzone? Basically a pizza turned onto itself, these tasty pockets call for ingredients very similar to those used in pizzas. But unlike pizza, a calzone requires a lower temperature and longer baking time. In short, the home chef can easily turn out crusty calzones they'll be proud to serve to family or guests.

Of course, the final result has a lot to do with the ingredients you choose. So splurge on high quality ingredients: pepperoni sliced at the deli counter instead of pre-packed, high quality sausage and fresh veggies. If you don’t have time to make the dipping sauce, opt for a jar of gourmet spaghetti sauce.

Calzones are so versatile that you can customize them with unique fillings. Experiment with individual-sized calzones and allow children to choose their own ingredients. Try them and we think you'll agree: calzones are a great alternative to pizza for the home chef.

Easy Cheesy Calzones

Tips:

  • Since calzones require a lower cooking temperature and longer cooking time, be sure to leave them in the oven long enough to cook the filling.
  • For crispy (not soggy) calzones, avoid overly moist ingredients.
  • Authentic calzones don't include pizza sauce baked in with the filling.
  • Experiment first with smaller calzones. They're easier to handle and bake.
  • Roll out the dough no less than 1/4 inch thick. Make sure it's evenly thick, too, so the calzone doesn't break and ooze filling.
  • So the calzone doesn't open during baking, be sure to wet edges of the dough and carefully pinch them together. You could also use a fork to seal the calzone.
  • Try brushing calzones with olive oil instead of egg wash for a different flavor.
  • Calzones are best when served piping hot from the oven, but they can still be enjoyed the next day. To reheat, slide into a 400 Fahrenheit oven for 15-20 minutes.
  • Freeze well-wrapped calzones up to 3 months. To reheat: place two inches apart on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown.
  • Baking stones ensure even browning of calzones and crispy crust.

Cook Time

Prep timeCook timeReady inYields

20 min

20 min

40 min

4 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds frozen bread dough, thawed (or dough made in a bread machine)
  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 12 ounces bulk italian sausage, crumbled, cooked and drained
  • 1 large red or yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 1/2 cup Romano or Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 12 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 eggs, divided (one for final egg wash)

Instructions

  1. On a lightly floured surface, divide dough into 2 pieces for two large calzones. (8 pieces for individual calzones.)
  2. Using a rolling pin, roll out two 10-inch circles.
  3. Combine ricotta cheese, egg, parmesan cheese and parsley. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Spread half of each circle with ricotta cheese, italian sausage, veggies and mozzarella cheese.
  5. Brush edges of dough with water. Fold dough over filling and press edges with a fork or fingers to seal.
  6. Carefully place calzones on a greased baking sheet. Beat one egg and one Tablespoon of water until frothy. Brush both calzones with egg wash.
  7. Bake in preheated 400 Fahrenheit oven for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.
dough, ready to roll out

dough, ready to roll out

Pizza/Calzone Crust

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 cups water
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 1/2 cups flour, unbleached
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast

Instructions:

Place ingredients in bread machine pan and process according to manufacturer's instructions.

Garlicky Dipping Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound Roma tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon each dried oregano and basil (or use fresh herbs)

Instructions:

  1. Pour 1/2 cup of water into a medium skillet. Slice tomatoes in half and place cut side up in the skillet.
  2. Allow tomatoes to simmer for a couple of minutes, until skins loosen.
  3. Remove skins from tomatoes and transfer to a blender. Blend for just a few seconds for a chunky tomato sauce.
  4. Pour olive oil into medium skillet on medium-low heat. Sauté onion and garlic until softened, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add processed tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, salt and spices to sauteed veggies. Simmer on low for about 10 minutes.
  6. Serve warm tomato sauce with calzones.
Italian Sausage Calzone with Garlicky Tomato Sauce

Italian Sausage Calzone with Garlicky Tomato Sauce

Variations:

This basic recipe is just a starting point. Experiment with other delicious fillings:

  • ham and provolone cheese
  • spinach, roasted red pepper and ricotta
  • pepperoni, mushroom and mozzarella
  • grilled eggplant, red pepper, pinenut and goat cheese
  • sauteed zucchini, black olive, baby portabella and leek
  • barbecued chicken, bell pepper and red onion

Comments

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on July 07, 2013:

FlourishAnyway, tomato sauce from homemade ingredients sounds irresistible! We love the predictability of calzones for the home cook. I think I'm going to make one this week, too! Enjoy and thank you for your support.

FlourishAnyway from USA on July 07, 2013:

This looks terrific. Especially with all the tomatoes and fresh basil from our garden for a homemade dipping sauce ... and then bake it on a pizza stone, I can almost taste it now. Gonna add this to my dinner list for this week.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on April 22, 2013:

Moonlake, hope you can make the calzones for your son sometime. Thank you for the vote!

moonlake from America on April 22, 2013:

This recipe sounds so good. Our youngest son loves calzones. Voted up.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on February 12, 2013:

Au fait, frozen bread is a delicious and quick option--it will make the calzone experience even easier. They really are a yummy treat. Enjoy and thanks for the stars!

C E Clark from North Texas on February 11, 2013:

This looks yummy! Your instructions are very good so that anyone should be able to follow them. I have been curious about calzones for a long time and have never actually attempted to make them, but you make it look easy. I think I like the frozen bread version best as it should speed things up a bit. Gave you another 5 stars!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on January 24, 2013:

WiccanSage, there's nothing like pizza in Brooklyn. The thing I like about these calzones is that they turn out so well in a home oven, even if it's not a very hot one. Enjoy!

Mackenzie Sage Wright on January 24, 2013:

OMG this takes me back to growing up in Brooklyn... with all those little pizzarias that were absolutely to die for. Where I live now, they'll just dump ketchup and mozzarella on anything and they'll pass it off as Italian food. I have got to try this.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on December 13, 2012:

Suzzycue, we thankfully don't eat all these yummy things daily! Enjoy the calzones. They really are delicious and less finicky than pizza for the home chef. Thank you for your kind words. I really appreciate it!

Susan Britton from Ontario, Canada on December 13, 2012:

Awesome. If I keep reading your recipes I will soon be 3oo pounds. Great stuff. I will try these for sure.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on December 11, 2012:

Peggy W, I hope you try it soon. They really are delicious and less finicky than pizza. Thanks so much for the votes and share!

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on December 11, 2012:

I have never made a Calzone and after reading this will have to give it a try. Your photos are wonderful and your instructions good and easy to follow. Up, useful and will share.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on November 07, 2012:

Rajan Jolly, they really are delicious and fun and easy to make. Thank you for taking the time to come by.

Rajan Singh Jolly from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on November 07, 2012:

Vespawoolf, the calzone looks so delicious. Nice explanatory pictures to go with the recipe. Thanks for sharing. Voted up, useful and interesting.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on September 12, 2012:

KoffeeKlatchGals, calzones are one of my favorites as well. Thank you for the votes!

Susan Hazelton from Sunny Florida on September 12, 2012:

I love calzones. Thanks to you I can now make them at home. Up, useful and interesting.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on August 31, 2012:

Dolores Monet, calzones are perfect for cold weather! Yes, sometimes it's hard to get the ratios right: how much dough to cheese and other fillings. I hope you enjoy the recipe and thank you for coming by.

Dolores Monet from East Coast, United States on August 31, 2012:

I love these things but mine always wind up too big. Looking forward to making some soon when the weather cools off. Calzones are a great cool weather food.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on August 29, 2012:

MamaKim8, they really are ideal for a home cook whose oven doesn't get hot enough for a pizza. I'm glad you enjoyed the tips! Thanks so much for the vote and pin.

Sasha Kim on August 29, 2012:

Oh this sounds so yummy ^_^ This must be the recipe you were talking about in your answer to the question about your favorite meal to cook you family. I love your tips for calzones! Voted and pinned

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on July 03, 2012:

MargaritaEden, I'm so glad you plan on trying calzones. They're easy to make and almost foolproof. I've been making them for years and this is my go-to recipe. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on July 03, 2012:

IndieJoe, you'll definitely try this one! It'll be on the menu next dinner party. You'll have to think of what to request for dessert! As always, thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment.

MargaritaEden from Oregon on July 03, 2012:

This looks sooo delicious! I have heard of these before, but never actually tried making it, my family loves anything with cheese and bread, I will try it. Thank you, great recipe!

IndieJoe on July 03, 2012:

Seriously - who can resist a calzone? Especially when it's both easy and cheesy. Can't wait to try this one. Thanks for the amazing hub.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on July 03, 2012:

Redberry Sky, calzones are easy and quick to make! And as long as the fillings arent' too moist, you can stuff the calzone with as many as you want. I hope you have the chance to try them. They really are ideal for the home cook. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment.

Redberry Sky on July 03, 2012:

I love making my own pizza (so fussy about the toppings - I want *lots*!) but it's never occurred to me to try making calzone instead. I think I'll try this with a nice veggie and cheese filling - you make it sound really easy and quite scrumptious!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on July 02, 2012:

Alocsin, there are so many delicious variations of this basic recipe. Thanks again for reading and commenting.

Aurelio Locsin from Orange County, CA on July 02, 2012:

This recipe sound delicious, though I'd be tempted to add some meats to the interior. Voting this Up and Useful.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on July 02, 2012:

I hope you and Lover Man enjoy the calzones. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment!

b. Malin on July 02, 2012:

Loved the Step, by Step Pictures, and Instructions. I may try this one on Lover Man. It looks and Sounds so Delicious!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on June 30, 2012:

Bizbsacramento, thanks for taking the time to read and comment. Enjoy the calzones!

BIZBSACRAMENTO from Sacramento on June 30, 2012:

ONE BIG WORD - YUMMY!!! I love everything. I hope to do this some time. Thank you for sharing this delicious hub.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on June 29, 2012:

Beingwell, thanks so much for your vote and share. Enjoy the calzones!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on June 29, 2012:

Randomcreative, it is such a versatile recipe and I like that it turns out so well even in a home oven. Enjoy!

beingwell from Bangkok on June 29, 2012:

Voted up and shared! I LOVE the photos. Made me hungry, actually...

Rose Clearfield from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on June 29, 2012:

I love calzones! Thanks for the fabulous recipe. These look delicious, and I love how you can customize them in so many different ways.

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on June 29, 2012:

LetitiaFT, ratatouille would make a delicious calzone. Thanks for another filling to add to the list. : ) It's always nice to hear from you!

LetitiaFT from Paris via California on June 29, 2012:

I've got some ratatouille, good cheese pie dough in the fridge, I think you've just inspired dinner (again)!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on June 28, 2012:

Swetankraj, enjoy the calzones and thanks for commenting!

Swetank Raj from India on June 28, 2012:

Delicious! and lovely. bookmarked for this weekend!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on June 28, 2012:

Paul Edmondson, thanks so much for taking the time to read and comment! Enjoy the calzones.

Paul Edmondson from Burlingame, CA on June 28, 2012:

My mouth is totally watering. This looks delicious!

Vespa Woolf (author) from Peru, South America on June 28, 2012:

Dexter Yarbrough, thank you for your kind words!

Dexter Yarbrough from United States on June 28, 2012:

Wow. The recipe looks great. But I really love how you laid out the instructions and photos! Excellent!