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This is a hearty dinner that makes use of a lot of vegetables from the garden. If your spinach has already bolted, as mine did about 2 weeks ago during a heat wave, you can substitute steamed and drained or sauteed turnip or beet greens, or any other cooked greens. And if your peppers and tomatoes are hard, green, and 2 inches in diameter, anxiously awaiting the next 90° day, a trip to the produce stand or supermarket may be in order.
The dough can be made early in the day and left to rise in the refrigerator. It freezes well if you feel like making a double batch and popping some in a heavy-duty plastic bag. You can also use the dough for tasty loaves or a pizza base. - RR
3 cups warm water
2 tablespoons active dry yeast
2 teaspoons malt extract or sugar
1/3 cup extra-virgin or garlic-flavored olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
2 cups white whole wheat flour or King Arthur Stone-Ground Whole Wheat Flour
7 cups (approximately) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs such as basil and oregano (optional)
pinch of salt
Spinach and Ricotta Cheese Filling
A large handful of fresh spinach per calzone, or two 10-oz. boxes of frozen spinach that have been thawed and drained
16 oz. container ricotta cheese
salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons freshly chopped herbs from your garden, such as basil and oregano
2 cups grated mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 8-oz. package mushrooms, sliced
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1/2 red pepper, chopped
10 peeled plum tomatoes, or one 24-oz. can plum tomatoes
1 cup fresh tomato sauce, or one 8-oz. can tomato sauce salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil or oregano, or a mixture of the two
Spinach and Ricotta Cheese Filling: If you’re using fresh spinach, it needs to be stemmed, rinsed and steamed. Drain it well. Mix the spinach with the ricotta cheese and season to taste with the salt, pepper and fresh herbs. (The mozzarella cheese should be sprinkled on top of the filling as you stuff the calzones, and not mixed into it.) Yield: Filling for eight calzones.
Fresh-From-The-Garden Sauce: Saute the onions in the olive oil. Add the garlic and the mushrooms and saute for 5 minutes. Add the chopped peppers and saute for another 5 minutes.
Add all of the tomatoes and the sauce. Break up the tomatoes with a masher or the back of a spoon as the sauce is cooking. Season to taste with the salt and pepper. Simmer for 10 minutes and add the fresh herbs right at the end. Yield: Eight servings.
Place the water in a large bowl and add the yeast and the malt. Add a cup of the all-purpose flour and stir with a whisk to break up any lumps. Let this sit for about 10 minutes, until it gets bubbly. During the summertime, this sponge will get going quickly.
Add the oil, the salt and the white whole wheat flour. Stir well and start to add the all-purpose flour, a cup at a time, stirring well after each addition. When the dough has started to pull away from the sides of the bowl, turn it out onto a floured counter. Knead the dough, adding more flour as necessary, so that the dough isn’t sticky. When the dough has formed a smooth ball, place it in a large oiled container to rise. (Last fall, I’d generated several batches of yeast dough with nary a thought as to where they were going to rise. A few years ago, we’d purchased several very large children’s sand pails to serve salads at a clambake. These turned out to be perfect. [Very much like our Baker's Catalogue dough rising buckets, which are made with a food-grade plastic, if that is of concern - ed.] The dough doesn’t stick, releases easily, and it’s easy to see when the dough has doubled in size. Now you know where my dough rises!) Cover the dough with a damp towel or plastic wrap and place it in a warm spot to rise. These days, almost everywhere is warm. If it’s so hot that your dough rises dramatically in 45 minutes, you can punch it down and give it a second rising to develop flavor, or punch it down and refrigerate it until you’re ready to use it. If you do refrigerate it, let the dough come to room temperature before you try to form it, otherwise it will tear.
Assuming that none of the above has happened, punch the dough down when it has doubled in size. This normally takes 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Turn it out of the rising container and onto a floured counter. Divide it into eight equal pieces. Roll each into an oval that is 1/4” thick, 10” wide and 14” long.
To make the calzone, place a generous 1/2 cup of filling on one side of the rolled-out dough. Top with 1/4 cup shredded cheese. Maintain a 1/2” border around the outside edge for sealing.
Beat together all of the ingredients for the egg wash. The addition of a pinch of salt helps to break down the egg white.
Using a pastry brush or your fingers, dab some of the egg wash around the edges of the dough. Fold the empty side over the filled side and press the edges of dough together. The better the seal, the less cheese will ooze out during baking.
Place each filled calzone on a greased baking sheet. Brush the tops with egg wash and cut a few steam vents in the top of each. Let the calzones rest for about 20 minutes while you preheat the oven to 450°F.
Bake the calzones for 10 minutes, then turn the heat down to 400°F. Bake for an additional 20 minutes. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving. Yield: Eight calzones.
Nutrition information per serving (1 calzone, 593g): 914 cal, 32g fat, 38g protein, 113g complex carbohydrates, 1g sugar, 13g dietary fiber, 56mg cholesterol, 1715mg sodium, 1334mg potassium, 10mg iron, 733mg calcium, 637mg phosphorus.
This recipe reprinted from The Baking Sheet Newsletter, Vol. IV, No. 6, July-August 1993 issue.