Thursday, January 10, 2013

Ham and Ricotta Calzones

My mom told me about this new store downtown in my hometown that sells imported flavored olive oils and balsamic vinegars. While I was visiting for Christmas I just had to check it out. It was so fun because I got to taste all the different flavors (yes, I tasted ALL of the them). The owner also had a variety of different salts. One was a ghost pepper infused salt; I tried one little speck and it burned my tongue for about a half an hour. In case you didn't know, ghost peppers are the hottest commercially available peppers and are 100 times hotter than jalapenos! It was a fun experience though.

It took a lot of self control (and realization that I am still a poor postdoc) to not purchase up all the oils, vinegars and salts. I settled on a garlic infused olive oil that would be perfect for so many dishes and a small amount of garlic salt and Hawaiian red salt. The garlic salt is quite delectable and the red salt is huge crystals and red (duh!) that I thought would be great for garnishing.

When Scott was visiting for New Years, he suggested we make calzones so I thawed out some pizza dough and we opened up the garlic infused olive oil. It really enhanced the dish when brushed on top; next time I may brush the inside of the dough as well!

I just had to show you this picture of how Scott cut his calzone into bite-sized pieces and topped them with pizza sauce. Me? I just picked it up and shoved it into my face. ;)

Ham and Ricotta Calzones
Ingredients (per calzone):
1/5 batch pizza dough
2 slices deli ham
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
olive oil (I used garlic infused) for baking
dried parsley, oregano, shredded parmesan etc (garlic powder if using regular olive oil) for baking
cornmeal for baking
pizza sauce, for serving

If pizza dough is frozen, let thaw in fridge over the course of the day. Preheat oven with a baking sheet or pizza stone inside to 500 F. Remove dough to clean work surface and cover with towel and let rest at room temperature as the oven preheats, about 10-15 minutes.

Stretch the dough out into an 8 X 11 inch-ish rectangle. If desired, brush the topside of the dough with olive oil. Spread the ricotta cheese over half the dough, leaving a 1/4 inch edge. Top with deli ham slices and shredded mozzarella. Fold the un-garnished half over the half with the topping, pressing down to seal. Brush the top of the calzone with olive oil and sprinkle with seasonings.

Place on preheated baking sheet or pizza stone sprinkled with cornmeal. Bake for 8-10 minutes until puffy and golden. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes.

Serve with heated pizza sauce for dipping.

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