Calzone with Sutures

Since I’m not allowed to stitch any visceral organs yet, and rightfully so only three weeks into my general surgery rotation, I have been continually getting the privilege to “close”—which sounds like I might be a reserve star pitcher, but really, it’s the grunt work OR job for medical students—stitching closed the incision. I take certain pride in my skin stitching—it is, I believe, an important art and quite possibly the one that will in the long run get the most attention. So, the other night, when I was making dinner, I discovered a perfect opportunity to exercise my suturing skills—on a calzone. Image

Calzone with Sutures

Ingredients for the Basic Pizza Dough

(this will make enough dough for three rather large Calzones)

1 cup sourdough starter

1 1/4 cups water, at room temperature

2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

2 cups (22 oz.) bread flour, plus more for dusting (used all-purpose)

2 cups whole-wheat flour

1 1/2 tsp. salt

olive oil or non-stick cooking spray for greasing the bowl

For the Extras
3 cups pizza sauce, I use marinara

4 ounces mozzarella, shredded

8 ounces sliced pepperoni

3 tablespoons grated Parmesan

I like to put in chicken or a cut up bell pepper too


  1. Measure the warm water and oil into a bowel and add the sourdough starter.
  2. Add flour and salt to the liquid ingredients. Knead until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Form the dough into a ball, put it in a deep oiled bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Press the dough to deflate it.
  3. Shape into smooth round ball and cover with a damp cloth. Let dough relax for at least 10 minutes (no more than 30 minutes)
  4. Brush rolled out dough round with oil. Spread 1 cup tomato sauce even over dough round, leaving ½ inch border. Sprinkle one half with 1 cup mozzarella, and cover with pepperoni, or whatever your toppings of choice might be. Fold in half and get scrubbed in. Image Image 
  5. Find a needle driver and pick ups.Image
  6. Closing a calzone has long been a tricky practice fraught with error. In my previous iterations of this effort, I have tried a folding pleat technique. Prep your calzone with conscious sedation (talking gently to it will work if you don’t have versed and fentanyl) and instead of betadyne, rub the belly or exposed area with olive oil in a circular fashion (always move from clean to dirty).
  7. Now, I tried several different types of silk, but braided Ethicon 2-0 nonabsorbable had the best tension and well-withstood the oven temperatures. I also experimented with three different suture patterns, subcuticular stitch, interrupted horizontal mattress stitch, and, the best—continuous running stitch. Image ImageImage ImageImage
  1. When your stitches are in, slide the calzone on a peel (covered with corn meal) onto pizza stone (which should have been heated for at least 30 minutes at 500 degrees) and bake for 8 to 12 minutes. Remove pizza from oven and sprinkle with Parmesan or more mozzarella.
  2. Repeat with the two other rounds. Enjoy!

Just remember—remove the sutures to eat the calzone. Or before you bring it to a party. Unless it is a party full of surgeons. Then they are all going to want you in their OR.




11 thoughts on “Calzone with Sutures

  1. I am speechless! 🙂 Your creativity truly has no limits! I can envision these being a hit at Halloween parties next month, a hot new trend in the world of entertaining and catering 😉

    1. Haha! Just remember to only use sterile sutures! I enjoyed these calzones more for the reaction they drew when surgery residents opened up the workroom fridge than I did in making them and eating them. They are worth a ton of laughs!

  2. This is new to me. I have never heard of Perma Hand Silk and never know the dough would be sutured and not pinched. Thank you for teaching me something new. You are talented!!!

    1. Thanks, Liz. My friend had a great idea about using sutures in things around Halloween time– I think she’s onto something!

  3. Rach…you inherited this bit of whimsy way back from my Grandmother Nora, who apparently liked food art display at Free Methodist Church pot lucks…very worldly then…fun now. xoxo

  4. Nora apparently showed up to camp meeting with a green molded salad decorated with little cauliflower sheep….since the visiting pastor was preaching on the ‘lost lamb’…
    This apparently was received as a flagrant bit of ‘casuality’…very unacceptable for a then..1929…pastor’s wife.

    1. 2 cups! The ounces are transcribed from The Village Baker recipe. possibly they use more densely packed or heavier flour too. I don’t have a scale, so I know it is two cups

      1. Probably a typo. A cup of bread flour is about 4.25 ounces so I don’t see them being able to get twice that into a cup. And there wouldn’t be enough water.


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