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"Big Game" Calzones

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When I think of Sunday’s big football game, I think of food. Not the game, the players or even the half-time show. For me, it’s all about the food. Last year I made Whole Wheat Pizza Bites that went over like gangbusters the day of the big game. So, this year I decided to do something along the same lines, but this time I turned the whole wheat pizza dough into mini calzones filled with ground beef, onions, mushrooms and cheese. These tasty hand pies can be dipped into warm pizza sauce or marinara or eaten plain – although I think it may be an unwritten rule that all foods related to watching the big game must be dipped.

To get more detailed directions on making the whole wheat pizza dough, please refer back to the post for Whole Wheat Pizza Bites.

Begin this recipe by mixing your dough and setting it aside to rise. Then follow along below to make some Big Game (or any time you’re hungry) Calzones!

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It’s important to make the filling while the dough is rising, so it has time to cool a little before we use it.
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In a large skillet, brown the ground beef with the mushrooms, onion, garlic and Italian seasoning until the beef is cooked and the mushrooms have softened. About 4-5 minutes.

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Drain the beef mixture in a large colander. I recommend putting the colander over a large bowl to catch the drippings; they’re a savory combination of onion, garlic and Italian seasoning and make a great flavor booster for soups or stews. Put the bowl of drippings in the refrigerator to chill and remove once the fat has solidified at the top. Throw the fat away and scoop the drippings into an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months. It’s worth the effort and keeps the calzones from getting soggy.

Set the beef mixture aside to cool.

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When the dough is ready, separate it into 12 pieces. Working with one piece at a time, roll the dough into a 6-inch circle. See the beautiful color of this whole wheat dough? Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat Flour deserves all the credit; it makes fantastic pizza dough thanks to the premium stone-ground whole wheat from which it’s made. Great food always starts with premium quality ingredients.

So they don’t dry out, cover the rest of the dough pieces with a damp kitchen towel until you can get to them.

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Add three tablespoonfuls of the ground beef mixture and about two tablespoons of cheese to the bottom middle of the circle, leaving the edges open so we can easily seal the calzone.

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Fold the top of the circle down over the filling, leaving a little bit of the bottom edge of the dough exposed.

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Roll the bottom edge up over the top and pinch to seal. Use a fork to poke three sets of steam holes into the top of the calzone. Repeat the rolling, filling, sealing and poking process with the remaining dough.

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Transfer the calzones to a cornmeal-dusted baking sheet, and place about an inch apart. Brush with oil and sprinkle with coarse salt. Bake in a 440˚F oven for 9-12 minutes or until golden brown. Serve immediately with warm pizza sauce or marinara.

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The whole wheat pizza crust makes the perfect pocket for the delicious, savory filling and the salt sprinkled on top gives the calzones a little extra crunch and seasoning. Both the dough and filling can be made ahead to save time. Simply make the dough the day before you want to bake it, shake some flour into a plastic bag, place the dough in the bag and then refrigerate it. Remove the chilled dough from the refrigerator about a half hour before you want to divide and roll it, leaving it in the plastic bag to keep it from drying out. The filling can be cooked, cooled and refrigerated in an airtight container the day ahead as well. All that’s left is a little rolling and quick assembly the day of the game – you could even pull a few friends into the kitchen to help speed things along.

Bring on the million dollar commercials and rock star performers; I’m perfectly satisfied hanging out in the kitchen with all of the food – and Big Game Calzones. Enjoy!

Big Game Calzones

Ingredients

Speedy Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

Calzone Filling

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • ¾ cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 8 ounces sliced mushrooms
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 Tablespoons Canola oil
  • Coarse grained salt for sprinkling
  • Hodgson Mill Yellow Cornmeal for dusting baking sheet

Instructions

To prepare the pizza dough:

In a large bowl or bread machine, combine the flours, yeast, brown sugar, egg and water. Mix ingredients together and knead until you have achieved a soft but not sticky dough. Add additional water or flour if needed. After 12 minutes on the dough cycle in a bread machine, turn the machine off. Leave the lid shut and allow the dough to rise for 30 minutes. If preparing by hand, place dough in an oiled bowl, cover with a kitchen towel and place in a warm spot to rise.

To prepare the filling and assemble calzones:

In a large skillet, brown the ground beef with the mushrooms, onion, garlic and Italian seasoning until the beef is cooked and the mushrooms have softened. About 4-5 minutes. Drain the beef mixture and reserve drippings for another use if desired. Set beef mixture aside to cool.

When the dough is ready, separate it into 12 pieces. Working with one piece at a time, roll the dough into a 6-inch circle. Keep the rest of the dough moist by covering it with a kitchen towel until you can get to it. Add three tablespoons of the ground beef mixture and about two tablespoons of cheese to the bottom middle of the circle, leaving the edges open so the calzone can be easily sealed. Fold the top of the circle down over the filling, leaving a little bit of the bottom edge of the dough exposed. Roll the bottom edge up over the top and pinch to seal. Use a fork to poke three sets of steam holes into the top of the calzone. Repeat the rolling, filling, sealing and poking process with the remaining dough. Transfer the calzones to a cornmeal-dusted baking sheet, and place about an inch apart. Brush with oil and sprinkle with coarse salt. Bake in a 440˚F oven for 9-12 minutes or until golden brown. Serve immediately with warm pizza sauce or marinara.

Notes

Dough and filling can be made ahead. Prepare the dough the day before you want to bake with it and refrigerate it in a sealed plastic bag that has had a little flour shaken inside. Set it out about a half hour before you want to roll it, leaving it in the plastic bag to keep it from drying out. The filling can be cooked, cooled and refrigerated in an airtight container the day ahead as well.

Yield: 12 Calzones

Adapted from The Pizza Gourmet, by Shea MacKenzie 


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Author: Holly






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Avatar  Theresa Hilton last yearReply

I made the Super Bowl Calzones on Sunday, of course, and they turned out beautiful and very tasty. I followed the recipe completely and had great results. My husband just loved them. Will definitely make again. Thanks for a great recipe.

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