Homemade Calzones: Classic Italian Pizza Pockets

Homemade Calzones: Classic Italian Pizza Pockets

Posted by Julie on Mar 18th 2019

If you’re looking for an easy weeknight dinner idea the whole family will love, we may have the answer: Calzones! These single-serving pizza pockets are a great way to get creative with ingredients and seasonings, and you can customize them based on the tastes of each family member. In fact, calzones can be a delicious way to use leftover meat and vegetables.

Keep reading to learn more about calzone dough and fillings, and how to assemble these Italian classics. We hope we can inspire you to add calzone to your dinner menu soon.

Calzone vs. Stromboli

Calzones are often confused with stromboli, another well-known Italian dish in which savory fillings are encased in dough. But there are some key differences between the two.

Homemade Calzones: Calzones are formed from a round of dough that’s folded in half and sealed to create a half moon shape. They're filled with ricotta cheese and dipped in marinara sauce.

First, calzones are formed from a round of dough that’s folded in half and sealed to create a half moon shape. Stromboli are rolled from a sheet of dough spread with filling. Bon Appetit compares calzones to tacos and stromboli to burritos; it’s a helpful way to understand one significant difference between the two. Likewise, one calzone is a single serving (even though it may be gigantic), while a stromboli is meant to be sliced and served among many people. The fillings are also somewhat different, but we’ll cover that in the next section.

Finally, calzones hail from Naples and are authentically Italian. Stromboli was born in Italian neighborhoods of south Philadelphia. They are as American as a Philly cheesesteak.

What’s In a Calzone, and What’s Not

Another difference between calzones and other dough-based Italian dishes concerns sauce and cheese. Calzones are often dipped in marinara sauce or pizza sauce, but an authentic calzone recipe doesn’t include sauce in the filling. Similarly, authentic calzones feature ricotta cheese in the filling. On the other hand, stromboli include sauce and mozzarella cheese in the filling.

Homemade Calzones: Authentic calzones use ricotta cheese in the filling.

Apart from that, anything goes where it comes to calzone filling. Use your favorite pizza toppings, add roasted vegetables or handfuls of raw spinach, and stuff them with pre-cooked meat. You can get as creative as you like, just as we’ve encouraged you to do with pizza toppings.

Calzone Dough and Assembly

We’ve got more good news about making calzones: You can use the same pizza dough recipe you’ve relied on for homemade pizza. Yeasted bread dough works well too. We’d encourage you to proof your dough in the refrigerator overnight, just as you would with bagels or pretzels. That extended time will help develop the flavor of your dough and make it more than just a vehicle for the fillings.

Homemade Calzones: Add more filling than you think the calzone can accommodate, so that you’ll need to stretch the dough over the top before sealing and crimping the seam with a fork.

Divide your dough into as many sections as you like, and roll each one into a circle. Then pile the filling on one half of the circle. Add more filling than you think the calzone can accommodate, so that you’ll need to stretch the dough over the top before sealing and crimping the seam with a fork. Before putting your calzones in the oven to bake, use a sharp knife to slit the top so steam can escape. This step will help keep your crimped seam intact too.

On those nights when you're craving homemade pizza, consider using your dough and toppings for calzones instead. They're a fun way to change up your dinner routine while enjoying those delicious Italian flavors!