Friday, June 4, 2010

Green beans for dinner or Pizza? Nope, Sausage Calzones?

     A friend just asked me if I ever tire of pizza. In short, I told him  "No, I love it." As a 20-something I ate pizza every night on every shift at the pizza place I worked and never tired of it. Later, I went to work for only 3 weeks at a cannery in Oregon picking the stems out of green beans on a conveyor belt. Honestly, I couldn't eat green beans again for 20 years (even if disguised). 
I had just bought a couple of pizza books online from Amazon and started reading some pizza recipes. One of them sounded like a Cornish Pasty made in pizza form. I love peasant food and started out to make that tonight along with potatoes and green peas on a pizza crust. I wasn't sure whether to seal it up or leave it open face. As I started to make it I had pulled out one of my Margherita doughs made from 00 Caputo flour. I make a batch, subdivide them into 6 doughballs and refrigerate them. Near dinner time I will pull one out to rise and warm up for  couple of hours. Part way through the conceptual stage I decide not to go Cornish, but Calzone instead. Frozen peas back into
the freezer, potatoes in the microwave become breakfast for tomorrow and hot Italian sausage from Nugget goes into the frying pan. Out of green peppers, so I substituted jalapenos after clearing the seeds and veins, add some white onion and simmer along with garlic pepper and garlic salt. Pour in some milk and reduce on a low heat until it thickens with a little corn starch. With some gourmet Volpi pepperoni I scooped up the sausage and gravy slurry and place it onto the rolled out Caputo dough, seal it with water after folding it over and crimp. I baked it at 450º for roughly 12-15 minutes basting after about 8 minutes with olive oil and let it do it's thing on the pizza stone. I had made a little Italian style salad with a fresh cut up tomato and some mozzarella di bufala, salt & pepper and a basil leaf plus a sprinkle of Parmesan. It looked healthy and colorful enough. The calzones were ready to come out of the oven. I slid them out on the pizza peel and placed them next to the salad. I had created what looked to me like a very Italian complete meal! If it hadn't been on my plates I think I wouldn't have recognized it as my cooking.  I immediately took pictures just to document this meal. The dough was light and crispy, flaky and perfect for this meal. Each bite turned into a Wow sensation. The hot Italian sausage left it's mark on the back of my throat. That's when this stuff gets exciting! I will be doing this often in the future and it's sure to become a regular on our home menu.

Here is my recipe if you want to give it a try:
Make a thin dough from this recipe and roll it out flat. Cut it with a pan lid to get the round shape as if you were making a pizza.

1 tsp active dry yeast
1 1/2 tsp EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
1lb 14oz 00 Caputo flour (6 Cups)
3 Tbsp Kosher salt (yes, T. not tsp.)

Mix yeast with 2 cups cold water and mix then let stand 5 minutes.
Add flour slowly while mixing with a dough hook on low speed about 5 min.
Cover bowl with damp towel and let rise 20 min. Add salt and mix about 5-7 min.
Cut dough into about 5-6 sections, form into balls, wrap in plastic wrap and chill in fridge.
When ready to use, take as many as you might need (Figure 1 dough ball makes 2 medium calzones.)
out of fridge and let rise on counter for 2 hours prior to rolling out.

1/2 lb NY style Italian bulk sausage, fried and drained and about 10-20 slices of pepperoni;
add a sprinkle of garlic salt & garlic pepper
Cut up 1/2 of a small white onion &
cut up 1/4 green pepper without seeds and add to pan and simmer.
Pour in 1/2 Cup of milk and simmer a couple of more minutes.
Add Tbsp cornstarch to 1 oz milk, mix and add to milk & sausage in pan stir until it thickens.
Turn off fire under pan.

Roll dough thin and cut into 8 to 10"circles. Add your cooked ingredients, add cheese if desired and seal edges with wet fork.
Bake for approx. 8 min. at 450º in preheated oven preferably on a preheated pizza stone .
Baste with oil or butter or egg whites then return to oven another 3-5 min. Remove when golden brown and let stand a couple of minutes. Take pictures and go ooohhhh and ahhhh. Then eat them all by yourself, why not? You did all the work. Yummmm.

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