A Spicy Italian Calzone

Pour yourself a glass of full bodied red wine and serve yourself up some Spicy Italian Calzone.  The picture really speaks for itself.  Your salivating taste buds can’t wait, so get started!

If you have a bread machine to make your calzone dough, go for it.  Use the pizza dough recipe that came with it and follow the bread machine directions.  It will be a “dough” or “manual” cycle.  If you need a bread machine pizza dough recipe, I have included one below.

You can make these ahead of time and pop them into the oven when your company arrives or you can make it right now just for you!

Calzone Filling Ingredients:

½ lb. spicy Italian sausage

½ C. red peppers, chopped small

5 oz. pepperoni or turkey pepperoni, chopped

1/2 C. chopped kale, stemmed removed

1/4 C. mushrooms (optional)

1 1/2 C. pizza sauce, divided

1 ½ C. shredded mozzarella cheese

Filling Directions:
In a skillet, brown the Italian sausage.  When almost done, add red peppers and cook down for about four minutes.  Add the pepperoni, kale and 1 cup of the pizza sauce.  Stir together and cover with a lid for four minutes until kale is tender.  Turn off heat and set aside until ready to assemble calzone.

Calzone Dough:

¾ C. water

2 C. white bread flour

½ t. dry milk

1 T. sugar

½ t. salt

2 t. active dry yeast

If you don’t have a bread machine, your taste buds are still in luck.  Many pizza locations actually sell their pizza dough if you want premade dough.  Another option is to purchase it from a grocery store.  Usually it’s located in the refrigerated section next to the sweet rolls.

Directions for Calzone:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

When your dough is done rising, take it and roll it on a floured work surface in a long, oval shape.  When baking, your calzone is going to puff up so make sure the dough is rolled as flat as possible.  Make sure you cut strips into your dough, along all sides, about 1 inch apart.

Spread remaining pizza sauce over center of dough and using the back of a spoon, work out to the sides, but omit the strips.  Place calzone filling in the center and again, work it out to the sides.  Cover with mozzarella cheese.

Starting from one end, fold up the end strips toward the middle of the calzone.  Working from each side alternatively, crisscross strips of dough over filling, pressing down and sealing with a drop of water.  Brush top with melted butter and bake 35 to 40 minutes until golden brown.

You can serve this alone or with a green side salad of choice.

Delicioso!

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Opera Pizza Dough

Opera Pizza with Fontina and Sherried White Cream Sauce
(toppings include: artichokes, bacon, baby spinach leaves and quickly sauteed green onion)
My sister and I were in the kitchen cooking all day.  We were thirsty and exhausted.  When we sat down to reflect on our day, I jokingly asked her, “What if we lived long ago and we had to wear dresses and cook for every man we knew?”  She answered, “Then we best be hiding a bottle of booze somewhere.”

This pizza dough recipe was a fun adventure.  It turned out so well the first time we made it that I made it again for guests at my Election Night Party last fall.  I call it Opera Pizza because the dough is sophisticated, bold and tasteful.  It could easily be served up at the opera and would land rave reviews from all the critics.  You’ll be singing like they do at the opera when your dough rises and your perfect crust pizza is on it’s way out of the oven all fresh and bubbly.  Let’s roll out the red carpet and get started!

Opera Pizza Dough

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

3/4 C. warm water or room temperature beer 
1 package active dry yeast
1 t. olive oil for greasing sides of mixing bowl 
1 t. sugar 
1 t. salt
2 cups flour
3 T. olive oil
Place warm water (or beer) in mixing bowl and add entire yeast package.  Let dissolve.  This step takes about five minutes.  Don’t be afraid.  Yeast is great stuff.  Your dough will not rise if the liquid it is dissolved in is too hot or too cold.
Grease bowl for dough to rest in after it is mixed up.  To do this, my mother used to take a paper towel, fold in fours and sparingly add olive oil to it.  She would then use the olive oil towel to wipe down the inside of a big glass bowl.  I have done this for years and I think it is the easiest way to do it if you do not have cooking spray, plus the clean up is a snap.
In mixing bowl, add flour, sugar and salt to yeast mixture.  Add olive oil.  With dough hook attachment, mix until dough forms into a ball shape.  If it is too sticky, add very small amounts of flour and work it in with your hands.  Remove dough from mixer on to floured work surface.  Knead dough over itself until smooth.  Carefully place dough in oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Place dough in a warm area to rise.  Rising takes about an hour and it will look like it has doubled in size.  After the dough has risen, punch it down and clear some kitchen space for assembling pizzas.  I have made this pizza the size of a jelly roll pan for large groups (see in pictures here), or personal size pizzas which are fun for parties.  Roll out dough, cover with sauce and toppings as desired.  Place in oven for 16 to 20 minutes for a large pizza and 8 to 10 for a personal size pizza.
In the picture above, I used a white sauce which I found on the internet, but I substituted cheeses and I used sherry instead of white wine.  The flavor was great.  It is good to be on the safe side and try a traditional sauce, but don’t be afraid to mix it up!  Try the following web sites for more sauce recipes: foodnetwork.com, epicurious.com, or allrecipes.com.