It’s been 23 months since my first homemade calzone.
Is that odd? I don’t mean is it odd to keep track of food anniversaries like that. I mean, is it odd that I never had a homemade calzone before then? In fact, if my memory doesn’t fail me (like it has been since I started grad school) that was my second calzone. Ever! Now that’s gotta be odd.
Keeping track of food anniversaries is important. Not odd.
OK, let’s take traveling for instance—is it not true that when you visit a new place it’s 5% about the scenery, 5% about the people, and 90% about the FOOD? And when you return back home, don’t you reminisce about the food the most? Perhaps years later even? If the answer is no, sumpin’s up. For real.
So then yeah, it’s completely normal that my food life thoughts have trumped my science/lab life thoughts. Well, it’s more complicated than that, but that’s beside the point today.
My point is, I remember the calzone! And it stuck!
Two years ago, when Barry and I were engaged, he took me to meet some of his relatives back east and his aunt made a calzone assembly line. Here’s the dough, fill it with whatever you like, close it up, pop it in the oven, and there you are—a hot golden crust filled with savory goodies of your choice and oozing with cheesy goodness.
Since that trip, Barry and I have made a variation of those calzones 64 times.
See? Food memory.
I completely made that part up but honestly, we’ve eaten enough of ‘em so it could be true! Also, I have been known to accurately pinpoint years, ages, and current times to the minute, with no prior knowledge, and completely out of thin air. So that’s impressive.
Seriously. It happened 3 or 4 times at least.
To the calzone! It’s definitely not claiming to be an authentic Italian calzone. I mean, it’s got Thai hot chili peppers and extra sharp cheddar cheese in it.
But it’s down-right authentically yummy. Add sautéed ground beef to that mix, sliced black olives, and tangy yet sweet tomato paste, and you’ve got a really flavorful dinner on your table in no time. Most definitely.
We’ll make one large calzone, cut it up into thirds (or even halves if we’re both all hungry like that), and we’ll have one piece leftover for someone’s lunch the next day.
Slight caveat—don’t reheat the calzone in the microwave because microwaves turn bread into rocks. Despite knowing this and because we don’t have a toaster oven at work, I still ended up zapping my calzone in the microwave there. And obviously I spent most of lunchtime knocking on my calzone.
Oh but I still ate it.
So if I ate it even after it turned to petrified crust, you know it had to have been one seriously tasty calzone. But for the record, from now on Barry will be the one taking calzone leftovers to work whenever we make them. They’ve got a toaster oven there. Fancy pants.
Cheddar and Beef Calzone
- 2/3 lbs ground beef
- 1/2 large onion or 1 small onion, grated with food processor or box grater
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 1 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
- 1/2 tsp pepper or to taste
- 11 oz. thin crust pizza dough
- 1 small can of tomato paste 6 oz.
- 2 oz. sliced black olives or a handful
- 7 thai chili peppers (optional) sliced
- 1 cup extra sharp cheddar cheese shredded
- Preheat oven to 400ºF (204ºC).
- Combine beef with onion, paprika, garlic powder, turmeric powder, salt and pepper.
- In a pan, cook beef mixture on high heat and break up the beef to small pieces. Mix around to sauté for about 8 min or cooked through. Liquid will have evaporated and at that point beef should sauté in its own fat for a couple minutes to give a nice sauté. Next, remove from heat and prepare rest of calzone.
- Grease a large cookie sheet with some ghee or use parchment paper on top of a cookie sheet.
- Place pizza dough onto sheet and top one whole half of dough with tomato paste. The other half will be folded over to close the calzone.
- Add the beef on top of the tomato paste.
- Add the olives.
- Add the chili peppers.
- Top with the cheese.
- Fold other half of dough over to to meet the ends and use your fingers to bind the ends and fold over.
- Make a few slices in the dough (or poke holes) to let air out while cooking.
- Pop into the oven for 20 min. Cut and enjoy!