Do I really need to explain why cheese-and-greens-stuffed dough is a good thing? I felt like putting a new spin on my pizza routine while A was out of town, and this recipe from Annie’s Eats seemed just the ticket. I’d made calzones filled with basic pizza toppings before and been underwhelmed, but I think leaving out the tomato sauce and using it as a dip instead might be the key to success, with less mess and risk of sogginess. Rolling out and folding each piece of dough is a little more work than making one big flat crust, but other than that, this is a cinch and makes a great dinner (and handy leftovers that I bet would also freeze well) year-round.
The original recipe made two calzones, but I liked the idea of four single-serving ones better, even if it means more futzing with dough. I also used a full pound of spinach, because that’s how big the bags are at Trader Joe’s; it makes the calzones a bit more filling-centric and, of course, greener, but I like them that way. Other than that, the only tweak I made was to use dried oregano because I had a lot of other fresh herbs on the shopping list already. Plus, I actually enjoy the taste of dried oregano—it’s the quintessential pizza flavor! The first time I made these I also threw in a little fresh basil, just because I had some that needed to be used up, and the second time I tried a little dried basil, which was good too. And while the vegetarian nature of these was part of the appeal for me, A has made it very clear that some pepperoni or sausage would not go amiss as far as he’s concerned, so that may be a future variation.
10-16 ounces frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
8 ounces (1 cup) whole-milk ricotta cheese
4 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 ounce Parmesan cheese, grated
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 large egg yolk
2 cloves garlic, minced
1½ teaspoons minced fresh oregano, or 1 teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
1 pound pizza dough
1 large egg lightly beaten with 2 tablespoons water, for egg wash
Pizza sauce (this one is my current go-to), for serving
- Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.
- In a bowl, combine the spinach, ricotta, mozzarella, Parmesan, olive oil, egg yolk, garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Stir well until evenly combined, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Place the dough on a lightly floured surface and divide it into quarters. Working with one piece of dough at a time, use a rolling pin to flatten the dough into a thin round, about 6 to 8 inches in diameter. Repeat with the other portions of dough.
- Spread a quarter of the spinach filling over half of each dough round, leaving a 1-inch border at the edge. Brush the edge with the egg wash. Fold the other half of the dough over the filling, leaving ½-inch border of the bottom edge uncovered. Press the edges of the dough together and crimp to seal.
- Carefully transfer the sealed calzones to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Using a sharp knife, cut 5 steam vents in the top of the each calzone. Brush the tops with the remaining egg wash.
- Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through. Transfer the calzones to a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes. Serve warm with pizza sauce.
Time: 1 hour
Leftover potential: Good. Calzones are best reheated in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until warmed through.