Citizens, few cuisines evoke such strong nostalgia for the unmatched Suzerain who ALONE is TFD as Italian-American! Growing up in Brooklyn in NYC, this food was the backbone of my childhood, and few things were as delicious as the mighty Calzone!
A calzone (“stocking” or “trouser” in Italian) is an Italian oven-baked folded pizza that originated in Naples in the 18th century.
A typical calzone is made from salted bread dough, baked in an oven and is stuffed with salami, ham or vegetables, mozzarella, ricotta and Parmesan or pecorino cheese, as well as an egg. Different regional variations on a calzone can often include other ingredients that are normally associated with pizza toppings.
Traditional calzone dough, consisting of flour, yeast, olive oil, water and salt, is kneaded and rolled into medium-sized disks. Each is then filled with cheeses such as ricotta, mozzarella, Parmesan, provolone, and other traditional vegetables or meats.
The dough is then folded in half over the filling and sealed with an egg mixture in a half-moon shape, or is sometimes shaped into a ball by pinching and sealing all the edges at the top. It is then either baked or fried.
In some areas, just before serving, they are topped with marinara or other traditional sauce, or with a mixture of garlic, olive oil and parsley. Similar dishes are scacciata and stromboli.
Sandwich-sized calzones are often sold at Italian lunch counters or by street vendors, because they are easy to eat while standing up or walking. Fried versions of the calzone are typically filled with tomato and mozzarella: these are made in Apulia and are called panzerotti.
The Sicilian cuddiruni or cudduruni pizza is distantly related to the calzone. This is a dish stuffed with onions (or sometimes other vegetables, such as potatoes or broccoli), anchovies, olives, cheese and mortadella; the rolled pizza dough is folded in two over the stuffing and the edges are sealed before the dish is fried.
In the United States, calzones are typically made from pizza dough and stuffed with meats, cheeses and vegetables.
In Italy, as of the 1960s, calzones were popularly believed to be the most efficient type of pizza for home delivery.
This popular credence had some scientific ground as the folded nature of the calzone results in a lower surface-to-volume ratio than a traditional pizza resulting in better heat retention during the journey from the pizzeria to the buyer’s home. This results in a calzone being delivered warmer than pizza, all other things being equal.
Nowadays pizza delivery motorbikes have electrically heated bags to keep pizzas warm during the journey.
For my ultimate calzone recipe, one must start with the ULTIMATE pizza crust – and that is without question the dough created by supreme pizza maven Peter Reinhart. This versatile dough can be used to make pizza, calzones, or stromboli. It gets its great depth of flavor from a long, slow fermentation, preferably overnight in the refrigerator and for up to 3 days.
Next, I love powerful flavors and few things are as potent as my homemade puttanesca sauce made with garlic, hot pepper, anchovy, capers and olives! Mix that with several meats and cheeses plus fresh basil and you have the SUPREME calzone indeed!
Dip that heavenly calzone into marinara sauce and a garlicky herb-laden olive oil and you truly have palatal perfection!
Battle on – the Generalissimo
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