Thursday, October 23, 2014

{real} Italian Calzones with Slow Cooker Marinara Sauce

I love looking back and seeing how my cooking has evolved over the years. For calzones I used to thaw out some Rhodes dough rolls then open a can of Spaghetti sauce, spoon it on, add some cheese, fold it over and pop it in the oven. They were good, but they weren't great. These are more than great. The perfect golden crust with a creamy cheesy filling, dipped in the most delicious marinara sauce (which I learned is the legit Italian way to do a calzone, no sauce on the inside). It will make 'em drool down their chinny chin chin (any One Direction fans out there...anyone?)

Dough: (makes 3-4, can double)
2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1 teaspoon olive oil 1 egg (to brush on top)
1 ½ C ricotta
3-4 C shredded
mozzarella cheese
Optional: olives, pepperoni, mushrooms, Canadian bacon, pineapple, ham, peppers, etc.
Marinara sauce (for dipping)
To Make Dough: In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Add the oil, sugar and salt; mix in 1 cup of the flour until smooth. Gradually stir in the rest of the flour, until dough is smooth and workable. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface for about 5 minutes, or until it is elastic. Lay dough in a bowl containing 1 teaspoon olive oil, then flip the dough, cover and let rise for 40 minutes, or until almost doubled. Preheat oven to 375. When dough is ready, punch it down and separate it into 3-4 equal parts. Roll parts out into thin circles on a lightly floured surface. Mix filling ingredients then spoon onto dough, fold over, securing edges by folding in and pressing with a fork. Brush the top of each calzone with egg and place on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Bake for 30 min. Serve with marinara sauce for dipping. 

Slow Cooker Marinara Sauce:
1 28oz cans crushed tomatoes
1 6oz can tomato paste
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 Tbs minced garlic
1 bay leaf
1/2 C water
2 Tbs chopped basil (or 1 Tbs dried)
2 Tbs chopped oregano (or 1 Tbs dried)
2 Tbs chopped parsley (or 1 Tbs dried)
2 tsp brown sugar
1 Tbs balsamic vinegar
½ tsp salt
 ¼ tsp pepper
 Add all ingredients to the crock pot and simmer on low for 3-4 hrs. Remove bay leaf and serve.

Source: Calzones-, Marinara sauce-adapted from


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