The first time I made these calzones my oven started on fire.
It’s not like it was the calzone’s fault or anything. We were living in a rental house and the oven was about 30 years old. The heating element in the bottom of the oven chose that exact moment to flame up and melt away after working hard all those years. My attention was brought to the problem when I heard a hissing sound coming from the oven. I peeked inside and froze from the shock of the flames. I started muttering something unintelligible to my husband, sitting in the living room, until I could get my words together and simply yell, “Fire! Fire!”
You should probably take this moment to do a mental run-through of what you would do if something in your house started on fire. At least (unlike me) you’ll have a rough plan. Of course I forgot about the fire extinguisher under the kitchen sink and it took me a while to think to just turn the oven off. It’s not even like the flames were reaching the ceiling; fire is just scary.
During all of this the calzones were still in the oven and I was determined to eat and enjoy them. I left them in the useless oven with the power turned off hoping the residual heat would eventually cook them. The final product was less than ideal, but good enough that I knew I had to make these again.
I love that this isn’t such a “pizza-like” calzone. The flavors are comforting, yet healthy. The crust cooks up crispy while the inside is soft and melty. It’s a good balance. The recipe also makes two giant calzones, so there’s plenty to go around my increasingly hungry family and still have leftovers. I love to serve them with some marinara sauce for dipping.
Take home lessons of the day – have a fire plan and eat a giant calzone. Everyone wins.
20 ounces frozen chopped broccoli, defrosted
1 pound chicken breast, cooked and chopped
4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup pesto
2 pounds whole wheat pizza dough
Coarse kosher salt
Marinara sauce (optional)
Preheat the oven to 450ºF. Coat two baking sheets with cooking spray or olive oil.
Pat the broccoli dry, then combine it with the chicken, mozzarella, and pesto in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out half of the dough into a 12 inch round. Mound half of the filling onto one half of the round, leaving a 1 inch border along the edges. Brush the edges with water. Fold the other half of the round over the filling and press or pinch the edges to seal. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.
Transfer the calzones to the prepared baking sheet. Using a sharp knife, cut 5 slits diagonally across the top of each calzone. Brush oil over the top and sprinkle with coarse kosher salt. Bake until golden, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat marinara sauce in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat until hot, stirring occasionally. Serve alongside calzones.
Adapted from The America's Test Kitchen Family Cookbook