I think I’ve decided that spinach and ricotta is one of my absolute favourite flavour combinations, at least as far as somewhat-healthy choices are concerned. I mean, let’s be honest – my favourite flavour to combine with cheese is more cheese…but that’s not always good for the waistline, or the heart.
When speaking of spinach and ricotta, though, I have to say that nothing will ever top the Spinach, Ricotta and Parmesan Gnocchi I made this past year – absolutely TO DIE FOR. Absolutely! Top five dishes I’ve made all year…
Actually, I think I’ve discovered a great love for spinach in general this past year. Growing up, I was under the impression that spinach was disgusting, in the same way that pop culture taught me algebra was hard and adulthood was when everything in life would be figured out. It turns out that spinach is an extremely versatile, absolutely non-disgusting vegetable that immediately jumps up the nourishment factor to anything it’s added to – oh, I also learned that for me, algebra is a cake-walk. As for the whole “figured everything out” part…I’m beginning to think that adulthood starts later than I thought…like at 35…or 40? Any thoughts?
You’re not here to answer life questions though – you’re really here for the food, aren’t you?
This calzone uses the same pizza crust proportions that I’ve posted in the past, though using instant yeast instead of the traditional, slower stuff. I’m starting to get quite good at working with pizza dough, and my new French rolling pin really helps. If you don’t have one, I highly recommend it. It is so much more versatile than a uniform rolling pin, allowing you to apply more pressure to specific areas of the dough. The filling is enough for all six calzones the dough provides for. If you want some variety though, half the filling recipe and use a combination of tomato sauce, meats, and cheeses to fill the other three calzones. That’s what I did on my second go-around with these bad boys, which is why you’ll see red replacing green for one of my calzones in the pictures.
Spinach and Ricotta Calzones
For the dough:
- 1 1/4 cups type 00 flour, divided
- 3/4 tsp. sea salt
- 1 packet instant yeast
- 1/2 cup warm water
For the toppings:
- 6 oz. spinach, roughly torn
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 medium onion, diced
- olive oil
- 3/4 cup ricotta
- 3/4 cup – 1 cup Italian shredded cheese
- 2-3 pinches sea salt
- 1 pinch ground pepper
- Mix 1/2 cup flour with salt and yeast. Add extra warm water and stir until combined. Add rest of flour and kneed for about 6-8 minutes until soft. Divide dough into six pieces and place in a bowl covered with a dish cloth. The dough should have ample time to rise, doubling in size, while the filling is prepared (10-15 minutes).
- In a large pan over medium heat, add a lug or two of olive oil, then sauté the onions until they start to turn translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté for another 2-3 minutes.
- While this is happening, wash the spinach and shake off the excess water (but don’t pat dry). Add the spinach to the pan, then cover and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- In a fine sieve, drain out the excess liquid from the spinach mixture, squeezing it out by pressing against the spinach with a spoon.
- Mix the spinach mixture with the ricotta, the Italian cheese mixture, and the salt and pepper.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out each piece of dough into circles roughly six inches in diameter.
- On one side of each piece of dough, portion out 1/6th of the filling, leaving about a 1/2-inch border of dough around the edge.
- Brush the edges of the dough with water, and fold the dough over to make a sort of pocket. With your fingers or a fork, crimp the two layers of dough together to create a seal around the half-edge.
- Brush with olive oil, then cut a few air small slits in the top of the calzones.
- Place on an oiled baking sheet and bake for 18-20 minutes in an oven pre-heated to 400° Fahrenheit.
Makes 6 calzones, serves 2-3