Perhaps making a recipe that needs a 400 degree oven wasn’t the smartest idea on a day when the temperature outside felt only slightly cooler. But you know what it’s like, once you’ve started a dinner plan it can be hard to switch gears. We’ve made pizza many times and it’s a great meal to make with kids. It’s so easy for them to help out and you know they’re going to want to eat it. But tonight we made calzones, or pizza sandwiches as I told Esme. We made spinach mushroom calzones but you could use anything you’d put on pizza – peppers, sausage, olives, whatever you like.
I made the sauce in the afternoon and if you were more organized you could also prep your vegetables in advance, too.
Simple Pizza Sauce
1 onion finely chopped
2 garlic cloves minced
1 28 ounce can of plum tomatoes
good splash of red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
a big pinch of dried or fresh oregano
salt and pepper to taste
Sautee the onion and garlic. Drain the tomatoes and either mush them with your hands or break them up with the back of a wooden spoon. Add tomotoes to the onion mixture. Add the rest of the ingredients and allow to simmer for about 30 minutes until it cooks down and becomes thick. I gave mine a quick whiz in the food processor but you don’t have to – they’re going inside calzones anyway!
1 bag of wholewheat pizza dough from the grocery store (I understand it’s really easy to make pizza dough but my grocery store, the fabulous Fiesta Farms, makes a good one and nothing is easier than that!)
splash of olive oil
2 cups of mushrooms diced
2 cups of spinach chopped
pinch of dried or fresh thyme
1 cup of tomato sauce
1 cup or so shredded mozzarella
1 small handful of corn meal
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
Sautee the mushrooms in a splash of olive oil. When they begin to soften, add the spinach and thyme. Allow the spinach to really wilt. Take off heat.
Separate the dough into four pieces. Sprinkle corn meal on your counter rather than flour, it stops the dough from sticking and gives a nice crunch to your crust.
Esme tore herself away from the t.v. (okay, Dora was over anyway) to come and help me put the calzones together. Place a spoon full of sauce, then a spoon full of vegetables, then a small handful of cheese on one side of your circle of dough.
Leave a small border at the edges so that you can seal the calzones. Once they’re filled, gently pull the empty side over and crimp the calzones closed. Really pinch the edges or they’ll leak! Place them on a cookie sheet and put in a hot oven. They take 20 to 30 minutes to cook – start checking at 20 minues. The crust should be toasty brown and not at all doughy. Mine weren’t pretty in the end but they were super tasty.
Esme loved them but they do get really hot inside. I wish I’d waited a bit longer to call her to the table as she had to wait quite awhile before she could take a real bite. Which gave her lots of time to pick and pluck at the crust until it looked like a big mess on her plate. Oh, well….