An Italian American who loves to share food and travel adventures
Get In The (Cal)Zone – Ricotta & Spinach Appetizers
August 21, 2017
On this day of the total Eclipse of the Sun it was hard to choose which blog to post. Since we live in the “path of totality” I was trying to think of ways to equate this cooking experience with today’s event. Should we start with a song? “Total Eclipse of the Heart” by Bonnie Tyler.
This food post really has nothing to do with the eclipse other than the food started out in a circle like the sun and ended up eclipsed in half-ish. Once they were eaten they are totally eclipsed. Okay, so I need you to work with me a little, I’m doing my best to make a correlation here. Maybe my challenge is that I started the morning drinking a bloody Mary at a neighbor’s eclipse party, so keep that in mind.
Actually, a neighbor ordered these calzones for a gathering she was having, so a perfect excuse to get my hands doughy and mess up the kitchen. Hubby says every time I work with flour he needs to call in the hazmat team to clean up. Somehow the flour flies everywhere – beyond the counters and floors. I can’t figure it out – but then, as I said, it may have had something to do with the bloody Mary’s. Hubby’s bloody Mary mix can be found here in case you want to try it.
I used a homemade pizza dough to make the calzone pocket.
Ricotta Filling1 cup homemade ricotta cheese, or whole-milk or part-skim store bought
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
Spinach Filling2-3 cups fresh spinach (or 1 cup frozen spinach, drained and squeezed completely dry)
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 clove garlic minced
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Marinara or pizza sauce
CrustCombine yeast, warm water, sugar, and olive oil in a small bowl and let sit for about 5 minutes. The yeast should be bubbly (which means it is active and ready to use).
Mix flour and salt in a large bowl or food processor.
Stream in the yeast mixture until incorporated.
Pulse for a few minutes. Dough will be soft and sticky.
Place the dough in a large bowl greased with olive oil. Cover and let it rise until it's doubled (about 1- 2 hours).
Deflate the dough, and turn it out onto a clean floured counter. Gently knead and then roll out about one-fourth of the dough at a time. Roll out thin.
Cut the dough into small disks that will become the home for the ricotta/spinach mixture.
Ricotta fillingCombine all of the cheese filling ingredients until well mixed.
Spinach fillingSauté spinach in olive oil with onions and garlic until all vegetables are softened. Ingredients should equal about 1 cup after cooking.
Mix the ricotta and spinach fillings together before spreading on the calzone dough.
Spread half of each disk of dough with a teaspoon of filling.
Fold the unfilled half of the dough over the filling, crimping and pressing the edges together to seal. It should resemble a half moon.
Brush top with a thin layer of pizza or marinara sauce, and a sprinkle of shredded mozzarella cheese.
Let the calzone rest, uncovered, for about 10-15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 450°F. Bake the calzone for about 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.
Serve with your favorite dipping sauce.
If you work your dough on parchment, all you have to do is lift the parchment onto a baking sheet. This makes it easier to transfer these small pieces.
To make sandwich size calzones, cut the dough in fourths and fill with 1/4 of the filling. Cooking times will be longer (approximately 30 minutes).