When I visit my Chief Culinary Consultant we often grab a “take and bake” pizza from Safeway that is absolutely delicious. It’s a supreme pizza that includes Italian sausage, pepperoni, peppers, onions, and black olives. There may be even more on there that I can’t remember, but it’s by far the best pre-made pizza I have ever had (which is surprising because I usually don’t like olives at all, but I enjoy the whole of this pizza). I remembered that I had pizza dough in the freezer from awhile back, but I wasn’t feeling an actual pizza (shocking, I know); I wanted something different. It then occurred to me that I still hadn’t made calzones, so that solved my dilemma, calzones it was!
For the longest time I wondered about the difference between calzones and stromboli, and finally I learned the answer: while calzones are pockets of pizza dough filled with meat, cheese and vegetables, stromboli are made with Italian bread dough and can contain the same types of ingredients but are rolled into an oblong loaf and sliced to serve (much like a pepperoni bread).
The base of this recipe is my favorite homemade pizza dough – it creates a crisp crust with a warm and chewy interior. In my world, that’s the perfect texture combination for an awesome pizza crust. Not paper thin, and not too doughy. While I’ve stuffed these full of meats, vegetables and cheese, you can fill yours with whatever your favorite pizza toppings are – the possibilities are endless. Also, use the quantities below as a loose guideline – adjust to your personal preferences. What do you like piled high on your pizza? I have always been a fan of pepperoni or sausage and mushrooms, but the Safeway pizza seems to have converted me into a “supreme” fan!
I chose not to put my pizza sauce in the calzones to keep the crust from getting soggy (although I don’t think this would be an issue) and instead served it on the side for dipping. You could really do it either way, whichever you prefer. If you put it in the calzone, I would recommend spreading it on the dough before adding the toppings.
Now for some bad news. There was a casualty. After almost two years of perfect pizza-creating bliss, my stone cracked. I have heard of this happening to other people, and always knocked on wood that mine was still in tact. No more. Very sad 🙁
Thin and Crispy Crust more your cup of tea? Check out this recipe.
1 batch pizza dough
4 links Italian sausage, casing removed, browned and crumbled
20 slices pepperoni
1 large green pepper, diced
1 medium yellow onion, diced
½ of a 6 oz. can of black olives, drained and sliced
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Red pepper flakes, to taste (optional)
Olive oil, for brushing
For the Pizza Sauce:
15 oz. can tomato sauce
2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon seasoned salt
¼ teaspoon sugar
1. Adjust an oven rack to the lowest position. Preheat the oven to 500°F. If using a baking stone, preheat it in the oven.
2. Divide the pizza dough into four equal pieces and work with one at a time.
3. Roll or press the dough into an 8-inch circle. Sprinkle the dough with dried oregano and on half of the circle top with ¼ of the ingredients: Italian sausage, green pepper, onion, mushrooms, and olives, leaving a ½-inch border. Top with about ¼ cup of shredded mozzarella and sprinkle with red pepper flakes, if desired.
4. Fold the other half of the circle over the ingredients and press to seal. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough.
5. Brush the tops of the calzones with olive oil. Transfer them to your baking stone or whatever vehicle you are using for baking. Bake for about 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown.
6. For the Pizza Sauce: Combine all ingredients. Serve the calzones with Pizza Sauce.