Ham Calzones

Wanna know what’s cooking in Laura’s kitchen tonight? (In Minnesota, where we are getting what I HOPE will be the last blizzard of the season–supposed to be up to 9″ of white by morning!) We are making Ham Calzones. (“Calzone” is the Italian word for pants, and these little inside out pizzas are called calzones because they supposedly are shaped like the traditional Italian-style trousers.) I’ve got a beautifully fragrant lump of dough rising in the kitchen now, and in about 15 minutes, I’m going to pull some boys in there to help me assemble the calzones.

I started with a basic pizza dough. You can find Barb’s version here: Barb’s Basic Pepperoni Pizza

Or you can use this:

  • 2 TBSP
  • 1/4 c. sugar
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 2 c. warm water
  • 2 c. flour

Mix the above together until just mixed, and allow to sit for 10-30 minutes, until it is bubbly and frothy.

Turn the mixer on, and start adding flour a cup at a time, allowing each cup to get fully mixed in before adding another. You should use a total of about 5 cups (including the 2 cups you used in the sponge step.) Your dough might take 4 1/2 cups, or it might take 6–stop adding flour when the dough is springy and smooth, and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.

Turn off the mixer and let the dough rise for at least 30 minutes. (But you could let it sit for an hour or so if you wanted to.)

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface, and knead a dusting of flour through until the dough is very elastic.

Cut the dough into blobs about the size of your fist. To make a calzone, stretch or roll out a dough blob into a circle about 6-8″ across. Put a spoonful of pizza sauce (I’m using a jar of Prego, dressed up a little with garlic and basil), a little handful of grated mozzarella cheese, and a few bite-size chunks of ham in the center. Fold the dough over in half, and seal the edges.

Place the assembled calzones on a lightly greased cookie sheet or oiled pizza stone, and bake for 15-20 minutes at 400ºF, until golden brown. Don’t be alarmed if some of the filling oozes out.

Serve hot, with a bowl of pizza sauce on the side for dipping.

Note that if you don’t have ham, you can use other ingredients. Say, some diced red bell peppers and mushroom, sautéed with onions and garlic. Or you could take it in another direction and use a bit of ranch dressing with some sautéed chunks of chicken breast. (Make sure that any meat you put in the calzones is already cooked.) You could turn our famous BBQ Chicken Pizza inside out. Be creative–this is fun food, and is very adaptable to what you have in your fridge.