Monday, March 12, 2012
Meatless Mondays: Weeknight Calzones
You don't have to order delivery or settle for frozen to have great food on a weeknight. With a small amount of forethought and a bit of preparation, you can make weeknight dinners that are as good as delivery, arrive on the table quicker, and are better for your health.
These calzones require a bit of advanced planning, because they use frozen pizza dough. I suggest preparing a few batches of our favorite pizza dough, freezing them in individual rounds (each recipe yields two dough rounds, or two pizzas), so you can thaw them for weeknight use. With the dough already prepared, these take about 30 minutes to get on the table.
Calzones are great because they are so easily and endlessly customizable. Each one can have totally different fillings, making it a great choice for people with different preferences. They're also a great way to use up leftovers, when you have a quarter of a bell pepper, a handful of mushrooms, two bites of spinach, and no idea what to do with it. Here I propose a veggie version of the hearty handpie, but meats are certainly a common filling option as well. Feel free to experiment!
I used parsley from our windowsill garden in these. It tastes much stronger than the parsley from the store (which usually tastes like almost nothing...), so a little went a long way.
As I have made them, these are vegetarian (cheese being decidedly un-vegan). There is a moderate amount of cheese in the filling; if you like very cheesy things, add some extra mozzarella on top of the veggies before sealing up the calzone.
These are easy to customize, and each individual calzone can have different fillings. Use any vegetables or meats you like.
Yield: 4 individual sized calzones
1/2 recipe whole wheat pizza dough (or one pizza's worth of dough of your choice)
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup shredded asiago or parmesan cheese
a tablespoon or two of chopped fresh herbs (parsley, basil, oregano, etc.)
Veggies of choice for filling, or:
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 cup sliced spinach leaves
Pizza sauce, to serve
1. Thaw the pizza dough if frozen. (You can do this in the microwave, at 50% power, in 30 second increments until the dough is about room temperature.)
2. Place a pizza stone on a rack at the center of the oven. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
3. Combine ricotta, mozzarella, asiago or parmesan cheeses and fresh herbs in a bowl and stir to combine.
4. Divide dough into 4 portions. Working with one portion at a time, roll out the dough into a roughly circular shape. (If your dough is sticking too much, lightly flour your work surface. I usually don't find this necessary.)
5. Spread 1/4 of the cheese mixture onto one half of the dough round (leaving a border, as pictured), and add desired toppings (but make sure you don't add so many you can't close the calzone!). Fold the un-topped half of the dough over the toppings and pinch the edges together tightly.
6. Poke some holes in the top of the calzone with a fork (so steam can escape).
7. Place the calzones on the pizza stone (or use a baking sheet) and bake for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown.
8. Remove from oven, let cool slightly, and serve with pizza sauce.
Don't forget to check out the Meatless Mondays page for more great vegetarian and vegan meal ideas!