Are calzones authentic? I know I could just google this and probably find out from a surprisingly-factual wikipedia page, but I’m curious if anyone knows off the top of their head? No? I definitely know pizza is Italian (duh), and there are definitely rules to make correct Italian pizza. Then the Americans came in and started changing those rules, and we ended up with New York-style pizza, Chicago deep dish pizza, thin and crispy pizza, California Pizza Kitchen, and probably asparagus calzones. I guess I should look it up.
So why didn’t I just make asparagus pizza bursting with spring flavor instead of these? Because look at that CALZONE up there! That glowing golden brown with a slight salt and pepper crust? Pizza can do a lot of things, but it can’t have that beautiful top crust that you’re looking at up there. And I think calzones are fun – they’re dip-able and fairly portable. They also reheat really well. And Nathan likes calzones, so me being the nice wife that I am, you get calzones today instead of pizza.
Start out with some asparagus. This neat pile looks nice, but I ended up cutting the spears too thin and didn’t love the texture once it was cooked. Don’t be like me. A nice regular chop to the asparagus will do just fine.
Next up are peas and spinach. We’re going for spring here. Not Texas spring, which is pretty much just summer, but Rocky Mountain spring, where you could actually be harvesting all these things from some little heavenly garden plot. Texas gardening just isn’t the same 🙁
Toss in some olive oil, fresh herbs, salt, pepper, a good squeeze of lemon, and the tiniest pinch of crushed red pepper flakes. It will glisten once you mix it up, which is a good thing.
Next up: the dough, the cheese, and some salami for good measure. I used Monterrey Jack and wished I would have gone with something a little stronger like white cheddar, but you could use a lot of different things here.
Cut your dough into fourths, roll out each piece, and layer on the toppings. A few peas are bound to escape, just nudge them back in.
Brush the tops with egg wash, sprinkle with freshly ground salt and black pepper, and bake until puffy and golden. Authentic or not, these were delicious.
Simple Asparagus Calzones
- 1/2 lb fresh asparagus , trimmed and cut into 1 inch segments
- 1/4 cup fresh or frozen peas (thaw and drain if using frozen)
- 2 handfuls of spinach
- 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
- Juice from half a lemon
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh herbs (I used basil and parsley) or 1 1/2 tsp dried herbs
- A pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
- 24 oz pizza dough , cut into fourths
- 8 thin slices salami
- 1 cup shredded cheese , white cheddar or provolone would be good
- 1 egg
- Freshly ground salt and black pepper
- For serving: white pasta sauce (optional)
Preheat the oven to 475°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium sized bowl, combine the asparagus, peas, spinach, olive oil, lemon juice, herbs, and red pepper flakes. Mix well and set aside.
Lightly flour your work surface. One at a time, roll each piece of dough out to a 6 inch wide circle. Layer the salami, vegetable mix, and cheese on one half of the dough circle. Fold the empty half of the circle over the mound of toppings and fold the edges of the dough together to create a seal. Place on the lined baking sheet and repeat with the other three pieces of dough.
Make an egg wash by whisking 1 teaspoon of cold water with the egg and brush liberally on each calzone. Sprinkle with freshly ground salt and black pepper. Bake for 12-14 minutes, or until the calzones are golden brown and puffy.
Serve as is or with white pasta sauce for dipping.