Bread · Cooking · Main Dish · Pizza

Calzones + Basic Tomato Sauce

This week I posted a recipe for the Master Bread recipe from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. The recipe makes enough dough for at least 4 loaves of bread, or in my case, about a weeks worth of dinner. So what do you do with all the dough leftover in your fridge? Monday was Cinnamon Sugar Bread and today is one of the easiest dinner ideas and one I utilize every week. Calzones, a stuffed hand-pie version of pizza, originated in Campania and ironically, the name translates to trousers in Italian. Do my Calzones look like trousers? That I’m not sure, but they are sure are yummy and easy to whip up. They are traditionally filled with cheese and other pizza-worthy fillings and dipped in a tomato sauce on the side. I never quite figured out the difference between marinara, pizza sauce, or tomato sauce- I use this basic recipe for everything Italian, including pasta. It’s full flavor is accented by caramelized onions and garlic and when we are done dipping our Calzones, my husband eats the rest of the sauce with a spoon. It’s that good. I prepare the sauce earlier in the day so I’m not rushing when it comes to Calzone time. Served with a simple green salad, this is a great summer night dish.

Calzones

This recipe makes two huge Calzones, or 4 small kid-sized, perfect for an after school snack

Ingredients:

1 lb hunk of Master dough

1/2 cup cottage or ricotta cheese

1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded or cut into small chunks (or “yellow” cheese found in Israel. It doesn’t have the same flavor as mozzarella, but is more widely available. I think it is fairly interchangeable in recipes)

2 tablespoons-1/4 cup parmesan cheese (optional)

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp basil

1 tsp garlic powder

Sea salt+pepper

Any kind of filling you might enjoy- zucchini, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, etc. Just chop it up and the world is your oyster! (Optional)

1 egg, whisked

Directions:

Mix together cheeses and spices (and chopped fillings, if using) and refrigerate covered to allow the flavors to meld. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (176 C). Remove a 1 lb hunk of dough, or roughly cantaloupe sized from the fridge. Divide into two or four balls, depending on how many Calzones you want to end up with. On a floured counter, roll out the dough into large disks, roughly 1/8 of an inch thick. The thinner the dough is rolled, the crispier the finished pie will be. If the dough seems to be difficult to roll out, let it rest on the counter covered with plastic for about 5 minutes. When you return, it will be significantly easier to handle. On half of the circle place half of the cheese mixture (or 1/4 depending on your number of Calzones, you get the picture). Brush egg wash on the edges of the circle, and fold the other half over the filling, making a half-moon hand pie. Pinch the edges together to form a seal. Allow to rise, loosely covered with plastic, for about 20 minutes. Go set the table or eat some chocolate or something. Brush the top with egg wash. Cut a few small slits in the top to allow the steam to escape (sometimes I forget this step and my Calzones explode. They are no less delicious, just a bit messy for my taste). Bake for 20-40 minutes. They will be golden browned and puffed up when done. If you’re not sure, take a spatula and lift up the pie. If the bottom is lightly browned, you’re golden 🙂

Basic Tomato Sauce

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large yellow onion, diced

3-4 cloves of garlic, minced

1 28 oz can, or 800 gram can of crushed tomatoes

1 6 oz can, or 100 gram container of tomato paste

1 tablespoon Oregano

1 tablespoon Basil

Sea salt+pepper

1/4 tsp cinnamon (optional)

Directions:

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the diced onions. Allow to cook for 2 minutes before adding the minced garlic. If it seems like it’s starting to get too hot, lower your heat to medium-low. You really don’t want your garlic to burn. It’s gross and annoying and then you’d have to start over, cause no one likes burnt garlic. Not even me, and I’m a weirdo. Cook the garlic and onions until they are soft and starting to brown. The more caramelized they get, the stronger the flavor will come out in the sauce. Add the crushed tomatoes with their juices, tomato paste, spices, and salt and pepper to taste. Allow to simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally so no burned bits stick to the bottom. This will be a very chunky sauce. After 30 minutes the tomatoes will be sufficiently broken down, and the spices have melded. Taste periodically, and if you feel like it needs a little more something, add it. I do a lot of tweaking throughout this time, often adding a serious amount of additional spices. When you are satisfied, take off the heat and allow to cool for about 10 minutes. You can either keep the sauce chunky or blend it up; I prefer the latter. Blend using an immersion blender in the sauce pan or by pouring the cooled sauce into a blender/food processor. Be careful, as hot liquids expand in the blender, so you might need to do this in batches, depending on the size of your unit. This sauce freezes beautifully in an airtight container.

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