Mini Calzones Stuffed with Pepperoni, Pesto and Ricotta

Mario Batali thinks everyone should learn to make pizza dough, but he understands the convenience of buying it from your local pizza place. You can stuff calzones with any combination of seasoned ricotta, pepperoni and pesto--or all three, as he does here.

  • Active:
  • Total Time:
  • Servings: 16 mini calzones
KEY: Frying, Cocktail Party, Game Day, Italian, Appetizers/starters, Make Ahead, Snack

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Ingredients

dough
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 envelope active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
filling
  • 1 cup fresh ricotta cheese
  • 4 to 6 ounces thinly sliced pepperoni
  • 1/4 cup prepared basil pesto
  • 1 large egg lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon of water
  • Olive oil, for frying

How to make this recipe

  1. make the dough In a large bowl, stir the wine, water, honey and yeast until the yeast is dissolved. Let stand until foamy, 5 minutes. Stir in the salt and the 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add 1 cup of the flour and stir until a loose batter forms. Stir in the remaining 2 cups of flour until almost completely incorporated. Turn the dough out onto a work surface with any remaining flour and knead until the flour is incorporated and the dough is smooth and silky, 7 minutes. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled large bowl and brush all over with olive oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 1 hour and 30 minutes.
  2. make the dough Scrape the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and cut into 16 equal pieces. Roll the pieces into balls and transfer to a baking sheet. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let stand for 15 minutes.
  3. fill the calzones Working with 1 ball of dough at a time, roll it out on a lightly floured work surface to a 4-inch round, a scant 1/8 inch thick. Spoon 1 tablespoon of the ricotta on one half of the round, then top with 2 to 4 pepperoni slices and a heaping 1/2 teaspoon of the pesto. Fold the dough over to form a half moon and press the edge to seal tightly. Crimp the edge with a fork or pinch at intervals to make pleats. Transfer the calzone to a baking sheet and brush with the egg wash. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling to make the remaining calzones.
  4. fill the calzones Preheat the oven to 325°. In a large saucepan, heat 1 1/2 inches of oil to 350°. Fry 4 calzones at a time, turning once, until browned and crisp, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain the calzones on paper towels and keep warm in the oven while you fry the rest. Serve hot.

Make Ahead

The stuffed calzones can be prepared through Step 3 and frozen for up to 1 month. Let the calzones return to room temperature before frying.

Suggested Pairing

Fried foods like these calzones go well with a refreshing sparkling wine.

Contributed By Photo © Michael Turek Published April 2013

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