Friday, July 19, 2013

Weekend Cooking: Mini Calzones Stuffed with Pepperoni, Pesto and Ricotta

 Back in April, Food and Wine featured a section on a Mario Batali Bootcamp, where Jimmy Fallon tried his hand at cooking with the big guy.  I love Batali but I can't spend too much time with him because his recipes are pretty decadent.  But a little pasta and dough is good for the soul now and again.  The one recipe in this section that made my eyes light up was the Mini Calzones.  I planned to make them a couple of times, but time got away from me, and that is one thing you need to make calzones...time.  I waited for a day when I stayed home to clean house, and just tended my dough as needed.


1/4 cup dry white wine
3/4 cup warm water
1 TBL honey
1 envelope active dry yeast
1 tsp kosher salt
1 TBL olive oil, plus more for brushing
3 cups all-purpose flour


1 cup fresh ricotta cheese
4 to 6 ounces thinly sliced pepperoni
1/4 cup prepared basil pesto
1 large egg lightly beaten with 1 tsp water
Olive oil for frying

1.  Make the dough:  In a large bowl, stir the wine, water, honey and yeast until the yeast is dissolved.  Let stand until foamy, 5 minutes.  Stir in the salt and the 1 TBL olive oil.  Add 1 cup flour and stir until a loose batter forms.  Stir in remaining 2 cups of flour until almost completely incorporated and the dough is smooth and silky, 7 minutes.  Transfer dough to a lightly oiled large bowl and brush all over with olive oil.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 1 hour and 30 minutes.

2.  Scrape the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and cut into 16 equal pieces.  Roll the pieces into balls and transfer to a baking sheet.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let stand for 15 minutes.

3.  Fill the calzones:  Working with 1 ball of dough at a time, roll it out on a lightly floured work surface to a 4-inch round, a scant 1/8 inch thick.  Spoon 1 TBL of ricotta on one half of the round, then top with 2 to 4 pepperoni slices and a heaping 1/2 tsp of the pesto.  Fold the dough over to form a half moon and press the edge to seal tightly.  Crimp the edge with a fork and pinch at intervals to make pleats.  Transfer the calzone to a baking sheet and brush with egg wash.  Repeat with the remaining dough and filling to make the remaining calzones.

4.  Preheat over to 325 degrees.  In a large saucepan, heat 1 1/2 inches of oil to 350 degrees.  Fry 4 calzones at a time, turning once, until browned and crispy, 3 to 4 minutes.  Drain the calzones on paper towels and keep warm in over while you fry the rest.  Serve hot.

You can make these ahead of time through Step 3 and freeze for up to 1 month.  Let the calzones return to room temperature before frying.

A few comments:  I didn't have any pepperoni, so I sliced up some salami instead, and it worked fine.  I also used Canola Oil for frying instead of Olive Oil.  I just like the taste better.  As we were eating these, we agreed they would be extra awesome if we had some marinara to dip them in!

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rhapsodyinbooks said...

This looks great except for the pepperoni! I would leave that out! :--)

bermudaonion said...

I'm coming to eat at your house!

bermudaonion said...

Oh, and you can put Jill's pepperoni in mine!

caite said...

marinara..yes...need marinara.
but they still look so, so good!

Darlene said...

Yum! I'd be dipping these babies in ranch dressing!

JoAnn said...

Sounds like a lot of work, but definitely worth the effort!

Beth F said...

That dough is so interesting! I need to try that. I hate frying -- I think I'd bake these (yeah, I know, not the same)

Julie P. said...

Yum! Finally a condiment free recipe!

Col (Col Reads) said...

Freezing them is a great idea. If I'm going to do that much work, I'd like to get at least 2 meals out of them!

Cecelia said...

Oh, those do look good. I love finger foods, and I've recently taught myself to fry things (it's easier than I suspected!). I don't remember seeing this recipe, but I do remember that Jimmy Fallon article. I'm going to go back and check out some of the other Batali offerings...

Thanks for sharing!

Laurie C said...

I just made pesto yesterday. I LOVE pesto! These sound delicious.

Heather Webb said...

These sound so completely scrumptious. They remind me a bit of an empanada with the frying. yum!

(Diane) bookchickdi said...

Mini calzones look wonderful, but they do seem labor intensive.