Calzone (correctly pronounced in Italian "CAL-TZO-NEH" - making sure that you pronounce the vowel at the end) is a speciality that originated in the Southern part of Italy.  Some speculate it comes from Campania (the region where Napoli - Naples - is), and some others say it's from Puglia (what we call the heel of the Italian Peninsula). Either way, it has always been my favorite alternative to pizza, as it uses after all the same dough, and can be adorned with exactly the same ingredients.
    Because Italy is so full of traditions due to the myriads of different regions and many small and big towns that have their own dialects (or as I like to say their own language) Calzone is called by different names throughout the country, still maintaining one communality as the terms all refer to a stuffed dough that seals in wonderful ingredients such as mozzarella, mushrooms, tomatoes, ham, and whatever you would use to decorate pizza with.
    Some of the most common names for this great dish are: "Calzone" - obviously, "Panzerotto" (pron. PAN-TZE-ROT-TOH - term that is mostly used in the Northern part of Italy), and a traditional evolution very popular in Napoli called "Pizza Fritta" (which is slightly different from the stuffed version, as it is a round of dough that is topped with various ingredients after it has been fried). Like-wise, there are also different ways of making Calzone that vary from region to region: it can be baked in the oven, or deep fried, and stuffed with regional ingredients that are commonly used in one area, but may not be common to another part of the country. Any way you like it, though, if you have tried making the gluten free version, you must be familiar by now with the difficulty and challenges that common GF pizza dough recipes present when one tries to form a GF calzone.
    By sharing my secret GF pizza dough recipe (that you will find here), I am hoping to be able to inspire you to get back in the kitchen to make the best GF calzone you will ever have. I will also share some special tricks along the way (in green), and will be available to answer any of your questions in the comment section below this recipe, or via email. 
... And now, without any further ado, let's get baking!
(Makes 6 Calzoni)
For the filling: 
  • 1 ball of mozzarella cubed
  • 1 cup of tomato sauce (crushed works better than pureed, as is less watery)
  • 3 slices of ham cubed or cut into 1/2 in squares (I use uncured baked ham, as I find it to be much more flavorful)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • EVOO
  • 1 tbs of fresh or dried oregano
  • A few leaves of fresh basil

Let's get rolling...
  • In a deep bowl, mix the cubed mozzarella, ham, tomato salt, pepper, oregano, and chopped basil, and mix (Mixing the tomato sauce  with the other ingredients at this point will allow it to be better absorbed, and will not leak out of the calzone as it fries or bakes)
  • In a smaller bowl mix some EVO, extra salt and oregano, and set aside
  • After the dough has rested for at least 30 minutes, split it into smaller balls that you will keep covered under a damp rag or plastic wrap until you are ready to roll each one out
  • Preheat the oven to 455F with the pizza stone in it (my favorite "stone" is a metal one); if using a large baking sheet, you can line it with parchment paper and put in the oven once you have placed the calzoni onto it
  • Sprinkle some flour on the surface of a wooden board, and with a rolling pin (called "mattarello"  in Italian) flatten the first ball, by making a round as big as you desire, that you will be able to fold over symmetrically
  • Put enough filling in the middle of the dough, and gently fold over by completely sealing the edges all around the half moon (mezza luna)
  • With a food grade brush (I use a silicon one as it is soft enough so it slides easily, and does not poke holes on the dough) spread the EVOO you prepared in the smaller bowl across the entire top surface of the calzone
  • Place the calzone on a baking sheet, or a pizza stone, and bake for 10-12 minutes or until top is hardened and golden brown 
  • Instead of baking the calzone, you can fry it in grape seed oil or any other high-heat resistant oil in a medium-sized pot. (Make sure the pot is deep enough for the calzone to float as it cooks and expands). Take it out of the oil when it feels harder to the touch of a wooden spoon and is golden brown all around. Rest it on a paper towel to remove the excess oil. (I find that baking the calzone in the oven makes for a more stress-free cooking experience, but I must admit that on specific occasions I do long for the taste of the fried version instead.)
As far as the filling is concerned, some of my favorite fillings range from combinations such as: 
  • Ham, mushrooms, mozzarella, and tomato sauce
  • Ricotta and broccoli rabe
  • Feta cheese and Kalamata olives
I am curious and very excited to see what combinations you will all come up with! 👀

Buon Appetito!
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