Have you ever had homemade calzones before? You will after this! Some links in this post are affiliate links that earn me a commission if you purchase through them.
I may not have a drop of Italian blood in me, but you wouldn’t know it. I’m pretty sure that I’ll be retiring somewhere in a small village in Tuscany, and Italian food is one of my favorite things to cook.
When I asked Little Miss what she wanted me to cook for the first night in our new house, she unhesitatingly replied, “Pizza!” So, of course, I did.
And when I make pizza, I tend to make a lot of dough, but I didn’t feel like making extra pizzas like I usually do and having leftover pizza for the next few days.
No, instead this time, I stuck my dough into the fridge, vowing to make something different with it the next day. When I went to the store to stock up on my requisite fruits and veggies, I saw that they had their homemade mozzarella on sale, which I buy every time it goes on sale and enjoy those little morsels until they’re gone.
As I ordered up my container of bocconcini, I noticed that they also had ricotta on sale. And an idea was born.
I already had spinach and garlic in my cart, as well as tomatoes and fresh basil. I had mozzarella at home from the pizzas I’d made the night before, and I had a little sauce left over from the pizzas, although not a ton.
Instead of making more pizzas, I was going to make homemade calzones.
Calzones are a lot like pizza, but they have are so different at the same time with their oozing cheese and crispy crust. Just like “real” calzones, mine have the sauce on the outside, served as a condiment rather than being baked into the calzone.
It’s a perfect complement, and I love that you can easily customize calzone to anyone’s taste preference. My personal favorite is calzones stuffed with three cheeses, herbs, spinach, and tomatoes.
You could easily sautee mushrooms and add them or toss in some pepperoni. You could be adventurous like Mister Man who loves his with pineapple and Canadian bacon. Your homemade calzones are a blank canvas of goodness.
Feel free to buy some pizza dough from your local store, or simply whip up some of my homemade pizza dough, which is super easy and forgiving. I use the same homemade pasta sauce I use for many Italian dishes, but a jarred marinara works if that’s your preference.
Lastly, I tend to make three large calzones and then cut them to share. If you prefer, it’s easy to make six smaller calzones that are perfect to pair with a salad for a delicious family meal.
Fortunately, these make fantastic leftovers. Just reheat the same way you do leftover pizza and enjoy.
Looking for more fun pizza alternatives? Check out some of my favorites at the bottom of this article.
How to Make Homemade Calzones
Make your pizza dough ahead of time to let it start rising. Once the pizza dough is made, start on your spinach so that it has cooled enough for you to drain when you’re ready to make the filling.
Peel your garlic and chop it. Heat a pan and add the oil.
Once the oil has heated and is starting to shimmer, add the garlic. Once it starts to smell fragrant, add the spinach and stir quickly so that the garlic isn’t all on the bottom of the pan. Your spinach will wilt quickly and significantly. Once it has wilted, remove it from the heat and let it cool.
About twenty minutes before you want to start cooking your calzones, preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
While your spinach cools, prepare the rest of the filling. Wash your tomatoes and cut them in half. Remove the seeds and ribs so that you have just the outside of the tomato remaining.
Chop the remaining tomato relatively finely, and add it to a bowl. Place the ricotta, mozzarella, and Parmesan cheeses into the bowl, along with the pepper.
Chiffonade your basil, and add it to the bowl, as well. With a spatula or fork, stir together the filling ingredients.
Once the spinach cools, place it onto a thick paper towel and squeeze out all the moisture you can. You want as little liquid in the filling as possible. Otherwise, you’re more likely to have the filling spill out while your homemade calzones cook.
Once you’ve gotten the spinach as dry as possible, add the spinach to your filling and stir to distribute.
Cut your dough into three equal pieces, each about the size of a baseball. If you make 6 smaller calzones, make six pieces instead.
Flour your surface well, and carefully roll your dough into about an eight inch circle. Make the circle a little thicker than you would for a pizza to ensure that it doesn’t break and release the filling.
Scoop a third of the filling onto the bottom third of one circle. Drape the top two thirds of the dough over the filling, and carefully tuck the dough into itself starting at one end and finishing on the other so that it is sealed in a roll pattern.
Repeat with the remaining dough and filling. Check your seal one more time to ensure nothing leaks out.
Liberally sprinkle corn meal onto a pizza peel. Gently pick up and place each calzone onto the pizza peel.
Add a tablespoon of water to an egg white and use a fork to whisk it together. Use a pastry brush to brush the egg wash atop your homemade calzones, then place into the 400 degree oven for 20-25 minutes until lightly golden.
Remove from the oven and serve immediately with your tomato sauce as a garnish.
Feel free to enjoy leftovers the next day, but they’re truly best fresh. These can be cooled, then refrigerated in an airtight container and reheated in the oven at 200 degrees for 5-10 minutes.
- Make your pizza dough ahead of time to let it start rising.
- Peel and chop garlic. Heat a pan and add oil, then add the garlic. Once it starts to smell fragrant, add the spinach and stir. Once wilted, remove from heat and let it cool.
- About twenty minutes before you want to start cooking your calzones, preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Wash tomatoes and cut in half. Remove seeds and ribs. Chop remaining tomato relatively finely, and add it to a bowl. Place ricotta, mozzarella, and Parmesan cheeses into bowl along with pepper.
- Chiffonade basil, and add to bowl. Stir together filling ingredients.
- Once the spinach cools, place onto a thick paper towel and squeeze out moisture, then add to filling and stir.
- Cut dough into three equal pieces, each about the size of a baseball. If you are making 6 smaller calzones, make six pieces instead. Flour surface well, and roll dough into about a 10 inch circle.
- Scoop one-third of the filling onto the bottom third of one circle. Drape the top two thirds of the dough over the filling, and tuck the dough into itself to seal.
- Repeat with remaining dough and filling.
- Liberally sprinkle corn meal onto pizza peel. Gently pick up and place each calzone onto the pizza peel. Add a tablespoon of water to egg white and whisk. Brush the egg wash atop calzones, then place into 400 degree oven for 20-25 minutes until lightly golden.
- Remove from oven and serve immediately with tomato sauce.
While this recipe shares a spinach an tomato calzone, feel free to start with the cheese base and add your favorite pizza toppings from pepperoni to sauteed mushrooms and more. These can be cooled, then refrigerated and reheated in the oven at 200 degrees for 5-10 minutes and enjoyed the next day, but they're truly best fresh.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 324 Total Fat: 20g Saturated Fat: 11g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 8g Cholesterol: 63mg Sodium: 944mg Carbohydrates: 14g Fiber: 2g Sugar: 3g Protein: 23g