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Calzones with Ricotta, Red Peppers, Spinach, and Goat Cheese
We discovered a few tricks when crafting our ricotta calzone recipe that gave us an exemplary ricotta calzone with a
crisp crust and a rich, creamy, flavorful filling.
We chose bread flour to give the crust chew and olive oil to add flavor and make the dough easy to handle; we
then mixed the dough for 10 minutes to fully develop the gluten. A combination of ricotta, mozzarella,
and Parmesan in just the right proportions, blended with a single egg yolk, gave us the best filling for our ricotta
In addition to standard kitchen tools, to make this recipe you will need a standing mixer or food processor,
parchment paper, and a baking stone. The stone must heat for an additional 30 minutes once the oven has come up
to temperature; if your oven heats slowly, begin heating it about an hour into the dough's first rise.
Leftover calzones must be refrigerated; to reheat, heat the oven with the baking stone just as you did when making the recipe,
then set the calzones on the hot stone for about 10 minutes. A simple tomato sauce is a nice accompaniment to the calzones.
4 cups bread flour (22 ounces), plus additional for dusting work surface
2 1/4teaspoons instant yeast (1 envelope)
1 1/2teaspoons table salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2cups water , plus 1 tablespoon (12 1/2 ounces), 105 degrees
10 ounces whole-milk ricotta
8 ounces shredded fresh mozzarella (2 cups)
1 1/2ounces grated Parmesan cheese (about 3/4 cup)
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano leaves
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium red bell peppers , cut into 1/2 inch by 2-inch strips
3 medium cloves garlic , pressed through garlic press or minced (about 1 tablespoon)
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 pound spinach , washed, dried, and stems trimmed (about 4 cups)
8 ounces goat cheese , crumbled
Extra-virgin olive oil for brushing shaped calzones
Kosher salt for sprinkling
1. FOR THE DOUGH (See below for food processor procedure): In bowl of standing mixer, whisk flour, yeast, and salt to combine. Attach bowl and dough hook to mixer; with mixer running at medium-low speed, add olive oil, then gradually add water; continue to mix until mixture comes together and smooth, elastic dough forms, about 10 minutes. Lightly spray large bowl with nonstick cooking spray; 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.
2. FOR THE FILLING: Combine ricotta, mozzarella, Parmesan, egg yolk, oregano, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and black pepper in medium bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.
3. Heat 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil in 10-inch nonstick skillet over high heat until oil begins to smoke. Stir in red bell peppers and 1/8 teaspoon salt; cook until slightly softened and spotty brown, about 5 minutes, stirring only 2 or 3 times. Clear center of pan; add 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 tablespoon minced or pressed garlic, and red pepper flakes to clearing and mash with back of spoon until fragrant, about 10 seconds, then stir into red peppers. Immediately stir in spinach and 1/8 teaspoon salt off heat; continue to stir until spinach is wilted, about 1 minute. Transfer mixture to paper towel-lined plate and cool to room temperature; once cooled, pat with paper towels to absorb excess moisture and set aside until needed.
4. Adjust oven rack to lowest position, set baking stone on oven rack, and heat oven to 500 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper and spray parchment lightly with nonstick cooking spray. Turn risen dough out onto lightly floured work surface. Divide dough in half, then cut each half into thirds. Gently reshape each piece of dough into ball. Transfer to baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap lightly sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Let dough rest at least 15 minutes but no more than 30 minutes.
5. Cut eight 9-inch squares of parchment paper. Working with one piece of dough at a time and keeping other pieces covered, roll dough into 9-inch round. 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.
6. 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 round. Place scant 1/2 cup cheese filling in center of bottom half of dough round. Using small spatula, spread/press filling in even layer across bottom half of dough round, leaving 1-inch border uncovered. Spread 1/6 of pepper mixture over the cheese and then sprinkle with 1 ounce goat cheese. Fold top half of dough over filling, leaving 1/2 inch border of bottom layer uncovered. With fingertips, lightly press around silhouette of cheese filling and out to edge to lightly seal dough. Face seam of calzone toward you. Beginning at left end of seam, place left index finger diagonally across edge and with right thumb and index finger gently pull bottom single layer of dough gently over tip of resting index finger and gently press into dough (double thickness) to seal. Remove index finger from fold and rest in new imprint. Repeat process, working to your right, until calzone is fully sealed. With very sharp paring knife or razor blade, cut 5 slits, about 1 1/2 inches long, diagonally across top of calzone, making sure to cut through only top layer of dough and not completely through calzone. With pastry brush, brush top and sides of calzone with extra-virgin olive oil and lightly sprinkle with kosher salt.
7. Using scissors, trim excess parchment paper; slide calzones on parchment onto pizza peel or rimless baking sheet, then slide calzones with parchment onto hot baking stone, spacing them evenly apart. Bake until golden brown, about 11 minutes; use pizza peel or rimless baking sheet to remove calzones with parchment to wire rack. Cool 5 minutes, remove parchment, and serve. While first batch bakes, form second batch, and bake after removing first batch.
FOOD PROCESSOR METHOD
8. Made in a food processor, the calzone dough bakes up with slightly less chew than we like, but it offers an alternative method for making the dough if you do not own a standing mixer. The quantity of dough is too large to be made in any food processor that does not have at least an 11-cup bowl.
9. In food processor, pulse flour, yeast, and salt to combine, about five 1-second pulses. While pulsing, add olive oil through feed tube, then gradually add water; continue pulsing until dough forms ball, then process until smooth and elastic, about 30 seconds. Turn dough out onto lightly floured work surface and knead by hand a few turns to form smooth, round ball. Lightly spray large plastic container or bowl with nonstick cooking spray; transfer dough to container, cover container with plastic wrap lightly sprayed with nonstick cooking spray, and let rise in warm spot until double in size, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
10. Continue with recipe from step 2.
Step-by-Step Making Calzones
1. With fingertips, press dough ball into 5-inch circle. With floured rolling pin, roll outward from center in all directions until dough forms 9-inch circle. If dough sticks, dust flour under it.
2. Place scant 1/2 cup cheese filling in center of bottom half of dough round. Using small spatula, spread/press filling in even layer across bottom half of dough round, leaving 1-inch border uncovered.
3. Fold top half of dough over cheese-covered bottom half, leaving 1/2-inch border of bottom layer uncovered.
4. With fingertips, lightly press around silhouette of cheese filling and out to edge to lightly seal dough.
5. 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.
6. 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.