ricotta calzones

I love pizza, but you know what I love even more? Pizza, folded over onto itself, with extra creamy filling. Also known as calzones. They're like a more portable version of those world-famous italian pies: a little pocket of dough, sealed well so you have the luxury of using all sorts of gourmet ingredients that you might not normally think to put on a pizza. People stuff all kinds of ingredients into these things: broccoli, spinach, pumpkin with cinnamon…you name it. My favorite variety is made with rich, soft ricotta cheese and pepperoni.

La Romanella Ricotta Calzones

For the dough:
6 cups all-purpose flour
2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
4 tbsp La Romanella olive oil
2 tsp salt
2 tbsp white sugar
2 cups lukewarm water

Filling and sauce:
4 cups La Romanella ricotta cheese
2 1/4 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/4 cup La Romanella parmesan cheese
1 pkg (12 oz) La Romanella pepperoni slices, diced
1 Tbsp dried basil
1 Tbsp dried oregano
1 Tbsp dried parsley
½ tsp onion powder
½ tsp dried thyme
2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 1/2 garlic clove , minced
2 tablespoons La Romanella olive oil
1 jar La Romanella marinara sauce, heated
salt and pepper, to taste

pizza dough ingredients

Combine all dry dough ingredients in a large bowl (I do this with my Kitchenaid).

calzone pizza dough

Add oil and water. Knead for 10 minutes (again, I enlist the help of my Kitchenaid and a dough hook).

ricotta calzone filling

Combine ricotta, mozzarella, garlic, seasonings and pepperoni. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.

calzones

Divide dough into 8 equal portions (it's easy to do this exactly if you have a kitchen scale to weight each one out), roll them into balls and roll each ball into a 9-10 inch circle on a floured surface.

ricotta calzones

Top one side of each dough circle with approximately 2/3 cup of ricotta mixture.

ricotta calzone recipe

Fold the empty side of the calzone dough over the filling and press the dough together to seal. Fold the sealed dough over itself slightly and pinch to close tightly.

ricotta calzones

Transfer calzones to greased baking sheets. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle parmesan cheese on top.

ricotta calzones

Bake at 450 degrees F for 10-15 minutes, until brown. Serve with marinara sauce on the side.

I make the batch extra large because these freeze REALLY well. Simply let them cool completely, then store them in a freezer bag. To reheat, defrost and heat in the oven at 350 degrees for about 5-10 minutes.

We buy all of our Italian food ingredients at Smart & Final (you can see photos of me shopping over on Google+), because their La Romanella store brand pepperoni, sauces and cheeses are inexpensive and really good. Plus, when you purchase La Romanella items from Smart & Final, you can go to www.smartandfinal.com/LaRomanella2012 and enter the code on the receipt to enter to win amazing prizes like a weekend trip to a luxurious Italian inspired resort in Las Vegas or one of eight $100 SmartCash cards.

This project has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for #collectivebias #CBias. All opinions are my own.