Calzones provide a fun and tasty alternative to pizza. Home cooks who want to think outside the pizza box can consider the following recipe for “Whole-Wheat Spinach Ricotta Calzones” from “Clean Eating for Busy Families” (Fair Winds) from author Michael Dudash, R.D.
For the dough:
11/2 cups warm water (105 F to 110 F)
1 3/4-ounce envelope quick-acting dry yeast
2 cups unbleached white whole-wheat flour, plus additional for dusting
2 cups unbleached bread flour
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
11/2 teaspoons salt
11/2 teaspoons Italian herb seasoning
Olive oil spray
For the filling:
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 8-ounce package crimini (baby bella) mushrooms, finely chopped
4 cups lightly packed baby spinach, finely chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1/2 cup soft goat cheese
1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup basil leaves, chopped small
1/4 cup drained sun-dried tomatoes in oil, chopped
1 tablespoon flaxseed meal
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
11/3 cups marinara sauce
To make the dough:
Pour the water into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, sprinkle in the yeast, and let it sit for 5 minutes. Add the flours, 3 tablespoons of oil, and salt and seasoning; mix for 10 minutes on medium-low speed until the dough is elastic in consistency. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and place it in a warm area until the dough doubles in size, about 90 minutes. If you don’t have a warm area in your kitchen, heat the oven to 200 F. Turn off the oven and wait 5 minutes before placing the dough in the oven to proof.
Once the dough has risen, punch down. Coat a large sheet pan (or 2 medium sheets) with olive oil spray, shape the dough into 7 equal balls, cover, and let rest for 15 minutes.
To make the filling:
Heat a large frying pan over medium heat and add oil. When the oil begins to shimmer, add mushrooms and sauté for 3 minutes; add spinach and garlic and cook until water releases and evaporates. Remove pan from heat and stir in the goat cheese. Add ricotta, Parmesan cheese, basil, tomatoes, flaxseed meal, salt, and pepper and stir. Transfer to a container and chill.
To assemble a calzone:
Preheat oven to 500 F. Dust the counter, rolling pin, and a dough ball with flour. Flatten the dough into a 5-inch circle, rotating after every few rolls Place 1/3 cup of filling on the front half of the dough, leaving 1/2 inch around the border. Fold the dough over until the edges meet, forming a half-moon. Fold over 1/2 inch. Press the edges with your fingers to seal and score lightly with a fork. Gently, but quickly, transfer the calzone back to the sheet pan. Repeat this process with the remaining dough and filling. Brush the calzones with 1 tablespoon of oil and using the kitchen shears, cut four 1/2-inch slits into the tops of each. Bake on the middle rack until lightly golden on top and bottom, 15 to 18 minutes.
Complement with warm marinara sauce when serving.