Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Broccoli Ricotta Calzone

    Doesn't this look good? I could stare at this forever - or at least 10 minutes - and then I would go crazy if I didn't eat one.  Good thing it's so easy.
     I made this calzone a few years ago as a way to use up some leftover broccoli. Now my husband requests it all the time. It is his favorite homemade calzone - even if it is vegetarian.
     I always cook by feel, and just throw the ingredients together, without measuring anything - but I tried to be a little better today, for you guys. (In my head I hear you say "Awww." You don't have to say it out loud - I hear you anyway.) I still just eyeballed the measurements, with a spoon instead of getting actual measuring cups. (I don't like to dirty more dishes than I have to, so unless I'm baking there's usually not exact measurements going on.) It's a good thing that the measurements aren't really that vital. They are more like guidelines.  Like all my recipes, please feel free to make them your own. If you like more cheese, add more cheese. If you want spinach instead of broccoli, go for it. Make the kind of food you want to eat, that's what matters. :)
     This is a dish that comes together really quick, if you already have pizza dough on hand. It's an easy "30 minute meal" as Rachael Ray would say.  I use 1/4 of Mama's Pizza Dough to make one Calzone - it will feed two adults (or one very hungry husband).

Here's how I do it:
   I take one cup of cooked broccoli and chop it up.

I chopped up about 1 Tbsp of chives from my garden - any green onion would work.

I grate one clove of garlic, so that it turns into a paste . . .

like this.

I mix those ingredients in a bowl with about 1/2 cup of ricotta cheese. Then I add about 1/2 cup of grated mozzarella.

Then I grated some Pecorino Romano Cheese, and added about 1/4 cup to the bowl with the other ingredients.  I saved about 1 Tbsp to sprinkle on top of the calzone before it went in the oven.

Last but not least, I added a dash of salt (maybe an 1/8 tsp) and 1/2 tsp of dry basil - crushed in my hand first.

Then I rolled out the dough. Or rather, I tried to roll out the dough and decided I would just stretch it instead.

I just hold the dough up by one end and let gravity stretch it down. I turn the dough (like a steering wheel) and stretch another part. I rotate the whole thing until I have the dough stretched out as thin as I want it.

Then I place it on a pizza peel. (This one is my dads. I'm borrowing it. I, unfortunately, do not own one of these vital kitchen utensils. I wish I did, but I always find other ways to use the money - like on food and bills. Oh well. At least my dad is nice enough to let me use his when I need too.)
My dough was still pretty dry from the flour I sprinkled on my counter to roll it out on, so I didn't need to add any cornmeal to my pizza peel. You just want to make sure that you can slide your dough around on the peel. You don't want to head to the hot oven with it, and have it make a mess on the floor. . . on the oven door . . . and everywhere. Then you'll be mad and you will be on your way to cleaning up a mess and dealing with the smoke filled kitchen and the smoke alarm going off, instead of peacefully waiting for your scrumptious calzone to be done baking. Which scenario sounds better? Make sure your dough slides easily!
    I drizzle a little olive oil on the dough, and spread it around. (I always use Extra Virgin Olive Oil, but use what you have.)

Then I dump my broccoli and cheese mixture onto the dough. It needs to be in the front/center of the dough, and spread out from side to side.

Then I pull the back of the dough over the filling,

and press the edges together.

To make sure that the filling doesn't escape, I fold the bottom edge up over the to edge, in small sections.

I press down firmly on each fold.

When it's all sealed, it looks like this.

I rub the top with a little more olive oil (so the top gets nice and brown).

I sprinkle on the reserved Romano cheese (about a Tbsp) and cut some vent holes/slits in the top.

It goes onto a hot pizza stone, on the bottom rack, of a 450F preheated oven. (Incidentally, this is my dad's pizza stone too. I had a tragic mis-hap with mine about 2 weeks ago and it broke. I'm still heart broken. . . I don't want to talk about it.)

After 20 minutes, it's brown and oozing out the vents a little. Who doesn't love melted cheese?

Then just cut and eat along side you favorite marinara sauce. (I immediately consumed my portion as soon as the camera said "click" on this shot. I couldn't wait. It's so good!)

Here's the recipe:

Broccoli Ricotta Calzone

1/4 of Mama's Pizza Dough (enough dough to make 1 small pizza)
1 cup cooked broccoli, chopped
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1 Tbsp chives
1 clove of garlic, finely grated to a paste
1/2 cup of grated mozzarella
1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese, plus more for top
1/2 tsp dry basil
salt (to taste)
freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
olive oil

Preheat oven to 450F with a pizza stone on the bottom rack. (You can assemble the calzone on a baking sheet instead of cooking it on the pizza stone, but the crust won't be as crisp.) Roll or stretch out the pizza dough into a circle (12-16 inches across, however big you want to make it.) Place the dough onto a pizza peel (or baking sheet if you're not using the pizza stone) and rub the top side with olive oil. Combine broccoli, ricotta, chives, garlic, mozzarella, Romano, basil, salt and pepper. Dump the broccoli mixture in the center, towards the front of the dough. Make sure you spead the filling from side to side, so that there will be filling in every bite. Fold the back of the dough over the top of the filling, and press the edges together. (Look @ pictures above.) In small sections, pull the bottom edge over the top egde and press down. (Look @ pictures above.) Repeat until all the edges are sealed. Rub the top of the calzone with a little more olive oil and sprinkle with some Romano cheese. Cut 3 vent holes/slits on top and transfer the calzone to the hot pizza stone in the oven. Bake @ 450F for 20 minutes, until goden brown and bubbly. Serve with marinara sauce for dipping.

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