It’s pizza mayhem out here in farm country.
Yeah, I love the fresh vegetables, local everything, beautiful scenery and quaint community farm markets. But seriously, people, the pizza situation is laughably dire compared to just thirty minutes closer to the city.
One of the reasons I started cooking more seriously when we moved out here was because I just wanted decent food made from the simple, quality ingredients that were at my fingertips. This is a perfect little recipe that I adapted for calzones. The original recipe used arugula, I used baby spinach, but you could substitute any dark leafy green vegetable.
Its crust is crackled and crisped to golden deliciousness and filled with pillow-light savory ricotta, mozzarella and earthy spinach. Add a dash of herbs and a hit of seasoning and it’s ready in minutes, making it completely weeknight friendly for a casual, no-fuss dinner or lunch. It uses quality ingredients, it’s not overcomplicated or overpriced and you can adapt it to your liking.
Spinach Ricotta Calzones
Serves 4. Active time: 25 minutes. Total time: 45 minutes
Note: Calzones are highly adaptable; feel free to vamp this one.
- 3 large garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter, plus 1 tablespoon more for brushing dough
- 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
- 5 oz. baby spinach (8 cups packed)
- 1 cup fresh whole milk ricotta
- 5 oz. whole-milk mozzarella, coarsely grated
- 1/4 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus more for dough
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1 lb. frozen pizza dough, thawed
- Special equipment: an oiled 17- by 12-inch heavy baking sheet
Directions: In a large heavy bottomed sauté pan, over moderately low heat, add garlic, olive oil, butter, red pepper flakes, oregano basil and baby spinach. Cover and cook until wilted, tossing occasionally so you don’t brown the garlic too much (too much brown on garlic makes it -blegh- bitter). Remove from heat to cool.
Preheat oven to 450° F and place rack in lower third of oven. Divide dough into quarters and roll each out (thinner is better) on a lightly floured surface. Squeeze the cooled spinach to remove as much water as possible and roughly chop to bite sized pieces. Combine spinach with all three cheeses and nutmeg.
Taste then season with salt and pepper to taste. Add egg and stir to combine. Place dough onto lightly oiled baking sheet and drop one quarter of the filling onto half of each rolled dough. Fold the unfilled half over the filled half and press to seal. Brush dough with melted butter or olive oil and sprinkle lightly with Parmigiano cut two or three slits in the top of the dough to vent (I find kitchen scissors or a very sharp paring knife works best for this). Repeat with remaining dough and filling. Bake calzones until golden and puffed, which should take about 12-15 minutes.
Cool slightly before serving or slicing.