Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Classy Calzone

  The Calzone is simply a folded pizza, I suspect that it has been created by italian street vendors for purely portable purposes. Though it may look like a long distant cousin of our classic Cornish Pasty, I can assure you the comparison is only visual. I call this Calzone "Classy" because I feel that in the UK, good authentic italian food is very hard to find, most pizza takeaways and restaurants specialize in grease heavy, bland versions on the classics. I had a very heated conversation with a friend of mine recently who insisted that Donner meat calzone was a wonderful thing to eat, I however feel that most Brits have never tried a good pizza, it's about the quality of ingredients, and in this case less is more. I know that Calzones are often filled with left over vegetables and cheese, but I have decided to filled mine with ingredients that I could only wish my local takeaway would do. By all means fill you Calzone with your chosen ingredients, but please no donner meat!Pizza dough is one of the easiest things to make and I can guarantee this will take less time to cook than ordering your pizza from your local takeaway.

For the dough:
400g of "00" pasta flour
2 tsp of salt
2 tbsp of honey
2 tsp of dried yeast
2 tbsp of olive oil
200ml of lukewarm water
For the Sauce:
2 tbsp of olive oil
3 tbsp of chopped garlic
1/4 tsp of dried chilli flakes
1 1/2 tsp of freshly chopped oregano
1/2 tsp black pepper
100ml of water
400g of cherry tomatoes
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 220 degrees c.
In a large bowl combine the salt and flour, measure the water in a jug and add the yeast and honey and mix until the yeast dissolves. Add the olive oil to the jug when the yeast has started to bubble a little, this should take no more than ten minutes. Add the yeasty water to the flour and knead  using the heel of your hand, pushing out and pulling back, do this for 10 to 15 minutes until the dough can be stretched without tearing. Allow to rise for at least an hour.

For the sauce I always start by putting the oil into the pan without the heat on, add the garlic, chilli and oregano. Turn the hob onto a medium heat and when you can only just smell the garlic add the tomatoes immediately, add the water to help the tomatoes break down and cook for 5-10 minutes until the water has evaporated and the tomatoes are a thick sauce. Finish with the sugar, salt and black pepper.
I stuffed my calzone with superb quality fresh mozzarella, basil, spinach, chestnut mushrooms, Milano salami, chargrilled artichokes,black olives and red onion. I cooked and seasoned the mushrooms first and when they were lightly brown I placed them onto kitchen paper to soak any excess liquids. With the spinach I wilted this in a pan and when it had cooled I squeezed as much liquid as I possibly could. The fresh mozzarella with also need draining on kitchen paper, this is to ensure that during the cooking process the dough will not become soggy but will be lovely and crisp.
Knock back the dough and knead again for another five minutes.
Split the dough into four and on a well flour board roll out until you have roughly a ten inch round, the dough should be lovely and thin. Spoon a little tomato sauce on the dough and spread it out leaving a border of an inch around the edges.

Add your chosen fillings and fold the pizza in half, fold over the edges to ensure there are no gaps in the edges. Place onto a well floured baking tray and dust a little more flour on top of the calzones. Bake for 15-20 minutes of until golden brown.

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