February 15, 2011

Ricotta Calzones with Simple Tomato Sauce

This Cook's Illustrated.com recipe takes some time but is well worth the effort. Never having made a calzone before, I was a bit apprehensive but the recipe was simple enough to follow. The simple tomato sauce was a perfect accompaniment and took only a few steps. This one is definitely a keeper. The recipe below yields 6 hearty portions. Enjoy!

1. I substituted ground red pepper instead of red pepper flakes which was not a wise decision as it provided too much heat. If you only have ground red pepper, I'd suggest using about half as much.
2. If you really love tomato sauce, you may want to consider doubling the recipe as the amount this recipe yields was a lighter portion size.
3. Avoid the temptation to eat the filling before assembling the calzones. It's that good!

4 cups bread flour plus additional for dusting work surface
2 ¼ tsp instant yeast
1 ½ Tbs table salt
2 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
1 ½ cups water plus
1 Tbs, 105 degrees

3 medium cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbs olive oil ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
15 oz whole-milk ricotta
2 cups shredded fresh mozzarella
¾ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 large egg yolk
1 Tbs minced fresh oregano leaves or 1 tsp dried oregano
¼ tsp table salt
1/8 tsp ground black pepper Extra-virgin olive oil for brushing shaped calzones
Kosher salt for sprinkling

Tomato Sauce
28 oz diced tomatoes, not packed in puree or sauce
2 medium cloves garlic, peeled and chopped coarse
3 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tbs coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves, or 2 tsps dried
¼ tsp granulated sugar
1 ½ tsp table salt

1. In bowl of standing mixer, whisk flour, yeast, and salt to combine.


2. Attach bowl and dough hook to mixer; with mixer running at medium-low speed, add olive oil, then gradually add water.
3. Continue to mix until mixture comes together and smooth, elastic dough forms, about 10 minutes.


4. Lightly spray large bowl with nonstick cooking spray.
5. Form dough into ball, transfer it to bowl, cover bowl with plastic wrap lightly sprayed with nonstick cooking spray, and let rise in warm spot until doubled in size, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

1. While dough rises, stir together garlic, olive oil, and red pepper flakes in 8-inch skillet over medium heat until garlic is fragrant and sizzling, about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes.

2. Transfer to small bowl and cool until warm, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.
3. In medium bowl, stir together cheeses, egg yolk, oregano, salt, black pepper, and cooled -garlic-pepper oil until combined; cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.


4. Adjust oven rack to lowest position, set pizza stone on oven rack, and heat oven to 500 degrees.
5. Line baking sheet with parchment paper and spray parchment lightly with nonstick cooking spray.
6. Turn risen dough out onto unfloured work surface.
7. Divide dough in half, then cut each half into thirds.
8. Gently reshape each piece of dough into ball.

9. Transfer to baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap lightly sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.
10. Let dough rest at least 15 minutes but no more than 30 minutes.

Tomato Sauce
1. Place garlic in small bowl and stir in 1 tsp water.
2. Heat oil and garlic in 10-inch sauté pan over medium heat until fragrant but not brown, about 2 minutes.
3. Stir in tomatoes; simmer until thickened slightly, about 10 minutes.
4. Stir in basil, sugar, and salt, and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute.

1. Cut eight 9-inch squares of parchment paper.
2. Working with one piece of dough at a time and keeping other pieces covered, with fingertips, press dough ball into 5-inch circle.
3. With floured rolling pin, roll outward from center in all directions until dough forms 9-inch circle. If dough sticks, dust flour under it.

4. Set round onto parchment square and cover with another parchment square; roll out another dough ball, set dough round on top of first, and cover with parchment square. Repeat to form stack of 3 rounds, covering top round with parchment square. Form second stack of 3 with remaining dough balls and parchment squares.


5. Remove top parchment square from first stack of dough rounds and place rounds with parchment beneath on work surface; if dough rounds have shrunk, gently and evenly roll out again to 9-inch rounds.
6. Place scant 1/2 cup cheese filling in center of bottom half of dough round.
7. Using small spatula, spread/press filling in even layer across bottom half of dough round, leaving 1-inch border uncovered.


8. Fold top half of dough over cheese-covered bottom half, leaving 1/2-inch border of bottom layer uncovered.


9. With fingertips, lightly press around silhouette of cheese filling and out to edge to lightly seal dough.
10. Begining at one end of seam, place index finger diagonally across edge and gently pull bottom layer of dough over tip of index finger; press into dough to seal. Repeat until calzone is fully sealed.


11. With very sharp paring knife or razor blade, cut 5 slits, about 11/2 inches long, diagonally across top of calzone, making sure to cut through only top layer of dough and not completely through calzone.


12. With pastry brush, brush tops and sides of calzones with olive oil and lightly sprinkle with salt.
13. Trim excess parchment paper; slide calzones with parchment onto hot pizza stone, evenly spacing them apart.
14. Bake until golden brown, about 11 minutes then remove with parchment to wire rack.
15. Remove parchment, cool 5 minutes.
16. While first batch bakes, form second batch and bake after removing first batch.
17. Serve with generous portion of tomato sauce placed on top of calzone.


  1. This looks delicious! Have you tried adding other ingredients in the filling as well? You are an amazing chef!

  2. This looks amazing! Delicious dinner - great flavors, yum! :)

  3. Are you cooking it at 500? I didn't see where you change the oven setting after the dough rises.