The first time I ever bit into a calzone, I’m pretty sure fireworks went off over my head. And I may or may not have stood up from the table and danced a jig. But only a short jig, because I needed to sit my rear back down immediately and scarf down the rest of that calzone.
I mean, I would have never thought there could be a better foodstuff than pizza, but here it was, a version of pizza that was folded in half, sealed, baked to perfection, and somehow even cheesier than its predecessor. Life got just a little bit better after I discovered calzones.
I love to make calzones at home too, although looks-wise, my homemade version leaves a little to be desired. Whoever can make six calzones in exactly the same perfectly-half-mooned shape–and with precise, scalloped rolled edges, no less–wins a trophy, in my book. A big one.
Me, well … my calzones aren’t the prettiest in town (hey, they’re rustic!), but they taste pretty good, if I do say so myself.
When Kiersten asked me to create a Mediterranean calzone recipe for Oh My Veggies, I was all over it. I may have danced another jig, in fact. That’s me–a jig dancer. Day and night.
These calzones do take a bit of time to assemble, but when you start with pre-packaged pizza dough (we love Trader Joe’s version), the process is much easier. I like to use my own homemade pizza sauce (I just freeze it in portions and pull some out whenever I need it) and roast my own red peppers when I can. But store-bought jars of either work in a pinch, too!
I adore these Mediterranean calzones. Tangy artichoke hearts, smoky roasted red peppers, and bold kalamata olives mingle with a cheese-melty feta-ricotta mix. And then just a smidge of pizza sauce for added tomato-y zip. I like to add the veggies first, so that the sauce and the cheesy goodness melt into the toppings while baking. One big happy Mediterranean melt-fest.
Hold on one sec. I’ve got to go get my jig-dancing shoes.
2 cups ricotta cheese (whole milk or low-fat works)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup roughly chopped canned artichoke hearts in water, drained
1/2 cup chopped roasted red peppers
1/3 cup halved kalamata olives
1/2 cup pizza sauce (plus more for serving, if desired)
Preheat oven to 450º F. Lightly oil two large rimmed baking sheets and set aside.
Cut each ball of pizza dough into equal thirds. Let the dough rest for a few minutes while you prepare your fillings.
In a medium bowl, mix together the ricotta, mozzarella, and feta cheeses until combined. Make sure the rest of your ingredients are ready (if you still have some chopping to do, now is the time!)
It’s time to assemble the calzones! Place a ball of dough onto a lightly floured board or pastry mat and sprinkle the top with a pinch or two of additional flour. Use your fingers to first stretch the dough, and then roll with a rolling pin until you have an 8-inch circle. If the dough shrinks back after rolling, let it rest for 5 minutes and try again.
Now fill your ‘zone! Sprinkle a few artichoke pieces, roasted red peppers, and olives on the bottom half of your dough circle, leaving about a 1-inch border between the fillings and the edge. Remember, your fillings need to go into six calzones, so plan accordingly! Now plop about 1/3 cup of the ricotta filling on top of the veggies, and then spoon a line of pizza sauce along the top of the ricotta (it works out to about 1 1/2 tablespoons of sauce per calzone).
Now it’s time to seal this bad boy! Dip your fingers in a bowl of water and wet the edges of the bottom half of the calzone. Fold the top half over the fillings to form a sideways half moon shape and press the edges firmly with your fingers to seal. At this point, you can roll the edges to help form a better seal, or I like to press the tines of a fork into the edges.
Carefully transfer the calzone to a baking sheet and repeat steps to assemble the remaining calzones.
Once the calzones are lined up on the baking sheets (I can fit 3 calzones per sheet), use a sharp knife to slice a 2-inch slit into the tops of each one. This allows the steam to escape the calzone and helps prevent seeping.
Bake until the dough is golden brown, about 10-12 minutes. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes before serving and serve with additional pizza sauce (if using).