I’ll let you all in on a little secret– though I’ve been called a foodie, food obsessed, a cook, and whatever else can be described as an usually great fascination with food, but my absolute favorite food has not changed since second grade. My mom can attest to it– and I’ll happily admit, it’s pizza! I’m picky about it, too. The crust cannot be too thick or too thin, the sauce cannot be too sweet, I must be able to detect the garlic, not too much cheese….I think I just made myself hungry! Anyway, pizza, pizza, and more pizza.
I did not have the pleasure of trying calzones until I was in adult. They can be large or small, and sometimes offer a less-messy option to pizza when you want to go with a lot of toppings. I cannot remember my first calzone, but I remember the best I’ve ever had. Picture me walking the urban streets of North Park around 11pm:
Since it’s been 4 hours since dinner, my stomach doesn’t have any recollection of ever knowing food. Most restaurants are closing, and I’m not in the mood for dessert. I spot this little Italian spot just past a cute little bakery, and there’s a sign that says they have $5 calzones. I decide to take a chance. My pre-recession-sized calzone comes out and it’s large enough to feed me and wagon full of preschoolers (Where do I get this imagery?). Seriously. It’s got spinach, mozzarella, freshly made marinara and a generous amount of kalamata olives. I didn’t even make it through half! It was in a word–amaaahzing (I didn’t say a real word)!
So, in my longing for that delicious little Italian spot, being over 100 miles away, I recreated it myself. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
Premade pizza dough (at least enough for 4 servings)
Marinara or pizza sauce
1 cup shredded mozzarella
2 cups baby spinach
1/4 cup kalamata olives
1 teaspoon minced garlic
extra virgin olive oil
cutting board, or clean counter top dusted with flour
Rolling pin (optional, you can use your hands)
Large baking sheet
InstructionsRemove pizza dough from refrigeration and allow it to rest for about 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a large skillet, heat 2 to 3 teaspoons of olive oil on medium high heat. Add garlic and brown for about 30 seconds. Next, saute spinach, but do not allow it to fully wilt. Cook for only 2 to 3 minutes and remove from heat.
Dust cutting board or counter space with flour to keep dough from sticking. Pull dough apart and roll into even sized balls for each serving. The size is entirely up to you. With either your hands, or a rolling pin, work the balls into a nice flat circle. Make the dough about 1/4″ thick.
Spread a thin layer of sauce over dough, keeping about 1/2″ to 1″ away from the edges. Next, sprinkle mozzarella, spinach, and kalamata olives on one half the circle. Fold shape into half moon, closing the calzone. Neatly pinch along the edges, to close it.
Place on lightly oiled large baking sheet and cook according to pizza dough instructions (Approximately 10 to 12 minutes, usually). I used wheat dough, so I noticed that it did not brown as much as the white dough.
Allow to cool and serve with additional warm marinara for dipping sauce.