I prefer calzone to pizza because of its greater dough-to-filling ratio. I’m a sucker for any kind of dough (the edible kind, mind you), essentially anything that can be called a crust.
Calzone is to Italians what empanadas are to Filipinos. A type of turnover, calzone originated in Naples and is a half-moon shaped stuffed pizza. Usually made as an individual serving and eaten out of hand like a pizza, the calzone’s fillings can range from various meats, seafood, vegetables, and cheeses, although mozzarella is most commonly used. Calzones can also be deep-fried, and made into dessert, although most chefs tell me this isn’t traditional. (And to that I say, why not?!)
I got to watch the Peninsula’s Italian specialty chef demonstrate how to make one of his homeland’s specialties. This is Chef Michele (me-KEL-leh) Mingozzi’s personal recipe and the one that is used at the hotel.
It begins with regular pizza dough that utilizes two types of wheat ”“ all purpose flour and semolina flour, which Chef Michele says absorbs humidity better and makes a slightly crispier calzone. (I like mine soggy). Semolina is available at Santis or you can use yellow corn meal. You can also choose to use just all purpose flour. As with making any kind of bread, the amount of water and flour used will depend on humidity. The following measurements are simply a guide.
The recipe here includes three classic filling combinations. The one illustrated is the mozzarella-ham-mushroom filling. I especially liked his addition of the egg yolk. While baking, the yolk cooks and sets slightly, oozing its golden glory when the calzone is cut open. Ambrosial.
Feel free to use other fillings you like but make sure to half-cook your fillings (if they are raw). Also, make sure your filling is not too liquidy and that the calzone is not overstuffed. Doing so will increase the chances of the calzone bursting open while baking. A stimulating visual yes, but not too much fun to clean up afterwards.