"The people who give you their food give you their heart" - Cesar Chavez

Friday, October 23, 2009

Pesto Chicken Calzone

Whenever I go for a late night pizza break in the city I notice people folding their slices over onto itself like a sandwich and so it can be eaten in half the bites....basically making a calzone. I have been a little nervous to make these because I wasn't so sure they would bake evenly, or would the dough be too soft? Surprisingly, I found that I enjoy making calzones very much! Unlike a pizza where you commit to a topping scheme, with calzones you can make a creative selection of varieties and have them all on the same pan! I didn't really have a plan for this calzone, I just took all the ingredients I thought were tasty out of the refrigerator and when it was time to go, I just went with a simple and tasty combination that is always a hit with pizza. These take about half the over-all cooking time of a regular pizza and because they are all sealed, they are surprisingly easy to transport. Foil wrapped lunch anyone? Traditionally, calzones are made with an egg yolk inside that should be a little runny and they are served with marinara sauce. I opted out of the egg yolk ingredient for my first calzone experience and these puppies are packed with so many flavors, I didn't even need the marinara on top. Also, the thin crust calzone gives a lovely airy pocket and cooks much more evenly. I can't wait to make more calzones!

Pesto Chicken Calzone
(Makes one large calzone)

Whole wheat refrigerated pizza dough
3 tablespoons pesto sauce
Freshly grated parmesan
1 small chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
1 large slice of a tomato
8 fresh spinach leaves
Garlic powder
Olive oil

1. Place a baking sheet in the oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Over medium-high heat, saute the chicken with garlic powder and pepper just until fully cooked. Remove from heat and set aside.
3. Roll out a golf ball size piece of the dough in flour until it is thin and about the size of your face.
4. Take baking sheet out of oven, sprinkle some flour on it and carefully place the rolled out dough on it. Poke the dough all over with a fork for breathing holes.
5. Spread the pesto sauce on it, leaving a 2 inch border all around. Put the parmesan cheese on it, followed by the chicken pieces, and the large slice of tomato and lastly the spinach leaves. You want to place all the ingredients on one half of the dough so you can easily fold the other half over itself. Fold over the other half and seal tight around the edges, folding over to form a slight crust. Brush with a bit of olive oil and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until the dough turns a darker brown.

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