If you have ever been to an Italian restaurant or a pizzeria, noticed calzones on the menu, and wondered what they were, then look no further. A calzone is a dish often made from folded pizza dough with mozzarella and ricotta cheese, plus any additional ingredients desired. There are traditional and modern variations, as well as regional variations and preferences. But even if you’ve had this delicious dish before, you may have wondered where it came from, or how it was made. Here are your answers.
The calzone originated in Naples, Italy. In Naples, calzones were known as calzoni, an Italian term that translates roughly to “trouser.” One story goes that calzones were invented one night when a baker was making a pizza and realized that he did not have anything to cut it with, so he simply folded it in half to create the envelope-like calzone that we know today. Whether this is the true story of how calzones were created is unknown. However, it is known that calzones were mainly marketed as pizzas that could be eaten on the go. At the time, personal pizzas were usually eaten where they were purchased, with a knife and fork. Because calzones are folded, the traditional pizza toppings become fillings and the resulting pastry is easy to eat while traveling.
How They’re Made
Calzones are typically a half moon shaped pastry (like a pizza folded in half) made from pizza dough and filled with various ingredients. The dough is usually simple and made from flour and yeast with water, olive oil, and salt added. The most popular calzone fillings are similar to pizza toppings, though many different variations exist. Traditionally calzones may include cheese, of which mozzarella and ricotta are most popular, though parmesan is also sometimes used, small vegetables such as mushrooms or unions, and meats, such as salami, ham, or pepperoni. Recipes may also include an egg mixed into the filling to help keep it together when the final creation is baked. Calzones are baked in an oven like a pizza, and served hot.
As with many foods, the ingredients that go into calzones can vary widely by region. In Puglia calzones are fried instead of baked. In Sicily the dough is filled with onions and potatoes, and instead of sealing the calzone with a simple press, it is sealed with braided dough. In the United States, the most popular calzones are usually made nearly the same as pizza, with similar ingredients, such as mozzarella and pepperoni, and baking techniques. However calzones recipes in the United States are also known for suggesting more non-traditional ingredients. These recipes include those such as chicken fajita calzones, or ones with cheddar and beef. No matter how they were invented or how they are prepared, calzones today remain a delicious alternative to pizza.
If you’re interested in trying this dish yourself, visit Italian Garden in San Marcos, TX.