The calzone, Italy’s pocket-sized pizza, is a delightful delicacy that many adore. It’s essentially a pizza folded over itself, crammed with delicious fillings, and baked to perfection. While it might seem daunting to make this at home, fear not! This guide is here to walk you through each step, ensuring you end up with a calzone that rivals even those found in Italy.
How To Make The Perfect Calzone
Let’s dive into the art and science behind creating the perfect calzone.
History of the Calzone
Calzones have a rich history intertwined with Italy’s culinary traditions.
- Origin tales: Believed to have originated in Naples in the 18th century, the calzone was a solution for busy workers. Its name, translating to “trouser leg” or “folded pizza,” aptly describes its appearance.
- Evolution over the ages: Over time, regional variations have sprung up, with each area having its own signature filling and preparation method.
Dough Selection and Preparation
The dough forms the foundation.
- Homemade vs store-bought: However much time you save by purchasing dough already made, nothing compares the flavor and texture of dough you make yourself. When you use fresh ingredients, you get a crust that is both fluffy and crisp.
- Kneading techniques: Kneading the dough in the right way helps produce gluten, which makes the dough more malleable and soft. Use the heel of your hand to apply pressure while folding and pushing for approximately ten minutes.
- Resting and rising tips: Give your dough some time to rest in a warm place while keeping it covered with a damp towel. This allows it to rise, which results in a lighter texture.
Choosing the Right Fillings
Choose ingredients that complement each other.
- Traditional fillings: Staples include mozzarella, ham, salami, ricotta, and spinach. They offer a taste that’s authentically Italian.
- Innovative filling ideas: Why not experiment? Think BBQ chicken, feta, sun-dried tomatoes, or even a dessert calzone with Nutella and strawberries.
The right sauce enhances the filling’s flavor.
- Classic tomato base: A traditional option is to use a tomato sauce that has some bite to it and is seasoned with herbs, garlic, and olive oil.
- White sauce wonders: A delicious option could be a sauce made with ricotta or bechamel, which is creamy and smooth.
Mastering the Folding Technique
The fold is crucial for preventing leaks.
- Dough thickness: Roll out the dough to a uniform thickness, keeping in mind that you don’t want it to be too thin so that it doesn’t break.
- Sealing methods: After the fillings have been added, fold over the dough and press the sides together. For both aesthetic and practical reasons, you might choose to use a fork.
Baking the Perfect Calzone
Baking is the final, crucial step.
- Oven temperature and timing: Preheat your oven to 475°F (245°C). Bake for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.
- Spotting readiness signs: Look for a golden crust and listen for a soft sizzle. These indicate your calzone is ready.
Serving and Pairing Suggestions
Serve it up in style.
- Accompaniments and dips: The flavor is enhanced when complemented with marinara sauce or a dip made with olive oil infused with garlic.
- Wine and beverage matches: The tastes are enhanced by the addition of a light red wine or a Prosecco with a bit of fizz.
Storing and Reheating
For those rare times when there are leftovers:
- Keeping it fresh: Refrigerate for up to three days if kept in an airtight container for the entire duration.
- Best reheating methods: Use an oven or toaster oven to retain the crust’s crispiness. Avoid microwaving, as it can make the dough soggy.
What’s the difference between a pizza and a calzone?
A calzone is essentially a folded pizza. While pizzas are flat and open, calzones encase their toppings inside a folded crust.
Can I use whole wheat dough?
Absolutely! Whole wheat dough offers a nuttier taste and added nutrition. Just adjust the baking time, as it might differ slightly.
Is there a vegan version of calzone?
Yes! Use vegan cheese and meat alternatives. The possibilities are vast.
How can I prevent my calzone from getting soggy at the base?
Ensure your fillings aren’t too wet. Also, preheating the oven and baking stone or tray can help.
Do calzones originate from Italy?
Yes, they hail from Naples, Italy, and have become popular worldwide.
Can I freeze a calzone?
Certainly. Once cooled, wrap them in foil and place them in freezer bags. They can be stored for up to three months.
Crafting the perfect calzone is a blend of art and science. With the right ingredients, techniques, and a sprinkle of love, you can create a masterpiece that’s both delicious and memorable. So roll up those sleeves and embark on a culinary journey to Italy, all from the comfort of your kitchen.