Winter time can be a long season to get through. The long nights and cold weather makes me want to stay bundled up under a blanket. However, the cold weather also makes me crave the absolutely delicious hot comfort foods I love. There is a lack of seasonal produce around this time, meaning to cook seasonally frozen and canned vegetables need to be used. A warm, comforting dish that can use both these vegetable forms in flavorful combination are calzones.
Calzones are a wonderful comfort food for an easy homemade meal hit. A Neapolitan staple, calzones are popular because they can be eaten using one hand or while standing. The pockets are a great recipe for hosting gatherings with friends and go well with both wine or beer. In this version, the calzones are stuffed with Mediterranean flavors and baked to golden perfection. The vegetables are canned or frozen, making this a nice seasonal dish as well. Served with marinara sauce for dipping, this is a great home cooked classic.
Mediterranean Stuffed Calzones
Make 4 large calzones
- 1 medium onion, smalled chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tbsp olive oil, plus more for brushing
- 1 1/4 cups ricotta
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
- 10-oz frozen chopped spinach
- 1 can artichoke hearts, quartered and roughly chopped
- 1/3 cup pitted kalamala olives, sliced
- 3/4 tsp dried oregano
- 2 cups shredded mozarella cheese
- 2 16-oz pizza dough, pre-made or homemade
- salt and pepper to taste
- marinara sauce for dipping, store bought or homemade
Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, saute for 3 minutes stirring often until onion is soft but not brown. Defrost the spinach in a microwave on high for 3 minutes. Transfer the spinach from the box or bowl on to a kitchen towel or triple lined paper towel. Wrap the spinach up and wring out the excess water. In a large mixing bowl, add the spinach, ricotta, Parmesan cheese, onions, artichokes, olives, and oregano. Salt and pepper to taste. Thoroughly combine the ingredients.
Pre-heat an oven to 425°F. Grease two baking sheets with olive oil. If you are working with pre-made dough, it may be extra sticky so it would be best to use non-stick baking sheets as well. Divide each dough into two parts, for 4 parts total. Working one at a time, stretch the dough onto the baking sheet. Start holding the dough and stretch circularly. Then place onto the baking sheet and continue to stretch out the dough. Add 1/2 cup of the mozzarella cheese onto one half of the dough. Add 1/4 of the filling mixture on top of the cheese. It is important to add the mozzarella cheese onto the bottom, so that it does not block the holes that will be poked on top of the dough. Brush the edges of the dough with water if necessary to create a seal after folding. Fold over the top half of the dough onto the filling, and pinch the bottom edge over the top edge to seal it. Brush the calzone with olive oil. Using kitchen scissors, snip a few holes on top of the calzone to let the filing vent as it bakes. Continue making the rest of the calzones, adding two calzones to each baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes, rotating halfway through, until calzones are golden brown. Let cool for 5 minutes. Serve with marinara sauce for dipping.
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