Ricotta Calzones

Traveled across an ocean, admittedly of corn, to arrive in Iowa City last night for the Examined Life Conference to which I brought my usual song and dance, and this time, one more song and dance. I have a travel buddy, the infamous Linda Drozdowicz, medical school classmate, aka, the only person you can call at Mayo Clinic for a ukulele consult. She dazzled our hotel hosts with a moonlight serenade last night after the open session and reading.Image

Left KP (and Izzy) with his favorite food—these:Image

Ricotta Calzones

Adapted from Baking Illustrated

For the dough
4 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting work surface
1 envelope instant yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon warm water (about 110° F (43°C)

For the filling
15-ounce container whole-milk ricotta cheese
8 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded (2 cups)
1 1/2 ounces finely grated Parmesan cheese (about 3/4 cup)
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano leaves
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
8 ounces hot or sweet Italian sausage
12 ounces broccoli rabe
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon water
1/8 teaspoon salt
Extra-virgin olive oil for brushing on the shaped calzones
Kosher salt for sprinkling the calzones

Directions
Make the dough
1. In the bowl of a standing mixer, whisk the flour, yeast, and salt to combine. Attach the bowl and dough hook to the mixer; with the mixer running at medium-low speed, add the olive oil, then gradually add the water, continuing to mix until the mixture comes together and a smooth, elastic dough forms, about 10 minutes.

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

Make the filling
1. While the dough rises, combine the cheeses, egg yolk, oregano, salt, and black pepper in a medium bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until needed.

2. Remove the casing from 8 ounces of hot or sweet Italian sausage. Wash and dry 12 ounces broccoli rabe and trim the stalks to about 1 inch below leaves; cut the broccoli rabe crosswise into 1-inch pieces. Cook the sausage in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over high heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon and breaking the sausage into 1/2-inch pieces, until no longer pink, about 4 minutes; stir in 1 tablespoon pressed or minced garlic and 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 10 seconds.

3. Stir in the broccoli rabe, 1 tablespoon water, and 1/8 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring constantly, until the broccoli rabe is crisp-tender and the water has evaporated, about 4 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a large paper towel-lined plate and cool to room temperature; once cooled, pat it with paper towels to absorb excess moisture and set aside until needed.

4. Adjust the oven rack to the lowest position, set a pizza stone on the oven rack, and heat the oven to 500 °F (260°C) for at least 30 minutes. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray the parchment lightly with nonstick cooking spray. Turn the risen dough out onto an unfloured work surface. Divide the dough in half, and then cut each half into thirds. Gently reshape each piece of dough into a ball. Transfer to the baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap lightly sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Let the 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 the other pieces covered, roll the dough into a 9-inch round. Set the dough round onto a parchment square and cover it with another parchment square; roll out another dough ball, set second dough round on top of first, and cover with a parchment square. Repeat to form a stack of 3 dough rounds, covering the top round with a parchment square. Form a second stack of 3 with the remaining dough balls and parchment squares.

Assemble the Calzone
1. Remove the top parchment square from the first stack of dough rounds and place the rounds with parchment beneath on the work surface; if the dough rounds have shrunk, gently and evenly roll them out again to 9-inch rounds. Divide the sausage mixture, evenly into 6 portions on the plate; place -1 portion of the sausage mixture on top of a portion of the cheese filling in the center of the bottom half of each dough round leaving a 1-inch border uncovered.Image

2. Fold the top half of the dough over the filling-covered bottom half leaving 1/2-inch border uncovered. With your fingertips, lightly press around the silhouette of the filling and out to the edge to lightly seal the dough shut.Image

3. Beginning at one end of the seam, place your index finger diagonally across the edge and gently pull the bottom layer of the dough over the tip of your index finger; press into the dough to seal. Repeat the process until the calzone is fully sealed. With a very sharp paring knife or razor blade, cut 5 slits, about 1 1/2 inches long, diagonally across the top of the calzone, making sure to cut through only the top layer of dough and not completely through the calzone.

4. With a pastry brush, brush the tops and sides of the calzones with olive oil and lightly sprinkle with kosher salt. Trim the excess parchment paper; slide the calzones on the parchment onto a pizza peel or rimless baking sheet, then slide the calzones with parchment onto the hot pizza stone, spacing them evenly apart. Bake until the calzones are golden brown, about 11 minutes; use a pizza peel or rimless baking sheet to remove the calzones with the parchment to a wire rack. Remove the calzones from the parchment, cool 5 minutes, and serve. While the first batch of calzones bakes, form the second batch and bake them after removing the first batch from the oven.Image

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Fantastic, 5 stars. Definitely better, in my opinion, when served with tomato sauce, both inside and for dipping.

2 thoughts on “Ricotta Calzones

  1. An Examined Life conference, ukeleles, calzones – how much goodness can you pack into one blog post? 🙂 I hope the conference was marvelous! I’m about to Google it to learn more.

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