Vegetarian Italian Calzones are stuffed pizzas (crescent shaped), normally served as such, but I like to serve them with a spicy pizza sauce I prepare. They are actually like pizza turnovers, filled with vegetables like chopped bell peppers, mushrooms, onions, green chillies or jalapenos, olives, mozzarella cheese and if you want, any meat you prefer. Once baked, they are served hot, smothered in marinara or pizza sauce (the way my family likes it).
It is a great party dish as you can bake the calzones ahead of time and serve them with hot sauce just before eating. If you have leftover pizza dough, you can try another of Italy’s gift to the world!!
At our home, calzones are always served the day after we have had pizza; so I always make plenty of pizza dough to satisfy our cravings for pizza as well as calzones!!!
Homemade Vegetarian Italian Calzones
Serves 4 to 6
For the calzone:
1 ¼ cup warm water (not hot)
2 ¼ tsp active dry yeast
2 tsp sugar
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
3 to 4 cups all purpose flour or maida
1 medium bell pepper or capsicum, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
8 to 10 button mushrooms, washed well, and chopped
2 green chilliles, chopped
½ cup olives, sliced
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
For the pizza sauce:
6 tomatoes, cut into quarters
2 onions, peeled and cut into big chunks
2 green chillies or jalapenos, slit
2 cloves garlic, chopped
½ cup tomato puree or paste
½ tsp dried oregano leaves
½ tsp Italian seasoning
Salt to taste
For the calzone dough:
In a large bowl, sprinkle the yeast along with the sugar. Add the warm water and mix gently.
Cover and let it proof for about 5 minutes. If the yeast is active and good, it will bubble and froth.
Now add the oil, salt and 3 or more cups of flour. Mix well to form a soft dough and knead for about 2 to 3 minutes. Place the dough in a greased or oiled bowl, roll it to coat with the oil. Cover the bowl and place in a warm place to rise till doubled, about 2 hours.
To make the sauce:
In a pressure cooker, place the tomatoes, onions and green chillies and give one whistle.
Remove and blend it to a smooth paste with the garlic.
Pour this into a deep pan, add the tomato puree or paste, salt, oregano and Italian seasoning, mix well and bring to boil.
Once it comes to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes.
To bake the calzone:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit or 200 degrees Centigrade.
Take 2 inch balls of the dough and roll into a medium thin circle. On one half of the circle, layer the bellpepper, onions, mushrooms, green chillies, olives and cheese.
Divide the fillings among the calzones.
Fold the other half of the dough over the filling and seal the edges.
Place the uncooked calzones onto greased baking sheets and bake in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes till they are well baked and light golden brown.
You can brush the top of the calzones with any Olive oil before baking; these give a brown crust to the calzone.
Serve these warm calzones with the hot prepared sauce.
You can serve them with a sprinkling of grated Parmesan cheese for a more authentic Italian touch.
You can also use other vegetables in calzones like spinach, broccoli, zucchini, any squash or any other vegetable you prefer.