Thursday, July 7, 2016

American-Style Broccoli Calzone

A great calzone, with a satisfyingly crisp and chewy crust, with plenty of flavorful fillings, is a treat worth the quest. The trouble is, most calzones I've found turn out with a soggy filling and have a crust more akin to bad bread than pizza dough. Not so with this recipe. Even better, this one gets you eating your vegetables in a way that is so tasty you won't mind. The cheese inside doesn't hurt, either.

This recipe does require some work and time, but not as much as you might think. While I braise fresh broccoli, you could substitute frozen, if you want to skip cooking the broccoli. It won't be as flavorful, but it might say you a little time and effort. Just make sure to thaw, drain and chop it, first. In this case, add the garlic, oregano and red pepper flakes along with the cheese.

My wife and kids like cheddar cheese, and so that's what I used, making this very American. For a more authentic Italian-style, use 1 1/2 cups of mozzarella and a 1/2 cup of feta, instead, replacing the cottage cheese with ricotta cheese.

The cooked broccoli makes a great side dish unto itself, if you're so inclined.

Equipment needed
Chef's knife
kitchen shears (optional)
measuring cups and spoons
mixing bowl
parchment paper
baking sheet

2 Tbl light cooking oil (vegetable or canola)
1 head of broccoli, trimmed and cut into 1-inch florets (about 1 pound)
3 Tbl water
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper as needed
1 cup cottage cheese
2 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
1 large whole egg, plus 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten with 2 Tbl water
1 pound pizza dough
Cooking spray

Heat cooking oil in a skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add broccoli and a pinch of salt. Cook, without stirring, until the broccoli begins to brown, about 2 minutes. Add the water, cover, and cook until broccoli is bright green, but still crisp, about 2 minutes more. Uncover and cook until the water has evaporated and the broccoli is crisp-tender, stirring occasionally, about 2 more minutes.

Push the broccoli to the sides of the pan to clear a space in the center. Add the garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds, and stir into the broccoli. Season with salt and pepper to taste and transfer to a serving plate, to cool a bit.

Place an oven rack in the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 450 degrees. Cut two pieces of parchment paper into 9-inch squares. These will be used to make rolling and moving the calzones, easier.

In a large bowl, stir the broccoli mixture, cottage cheese, and cheddar cheese together.

Divide the dough in half. Working with one half of the dough at a time, transfer the dough to a piece of parchment and roll into a 9-inch round. Spread the broccoli-cheese mixture evenly over one half of the dough, leaving a 1-inch border. Fold the other half over the filling, leaving a 1/2-inch border of the bottom half uncovered. Brush edge with egg wash. Press the edges of the dough together, pressing out any air. Fold the bottom dough edge over the top, and press and crimp to make a pretty seal. Using a sharp knife, cut 5 steam vents, about 1 1/2-inch long across the top layer of dough, starting at the folded edge and cutting toward the crimped edge. Brush the tops with more of the egg wash. Using the parchment paper, transfer the calzone, along with the paper, onto a rimmed baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining dough half.

Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes or so, rotating the baking sheet halfway through baking. Transfer the calzones to a wire rack to cool for about 5 minutes, before cutting each in half, for serving.

Makes 4 servings.


Angenette Pickett Call said...

Curious why you went with the cottage cheese instead of ricotta...

John Newman said...

To be honest, I used cottage cheese because I had it on hand, and it's less expensive that ricotta. I figured out that you can make a passable faux ricotta by running your cottage cheese through a blender with a touch of salt. Not as good as the original, but it still works in many cases.