That handsome Italian kneading dough in that picture is my Grandpa.
And just in case you were worried he wasn’t Italian enough just by looking at him, his name was Al DiNunzio.
I was flipping through the cookbook yesterday, trying to figure out where to start this journey, and when I saw that face smiling back at me, I knew what to make.
We eat this deliciousness at Christmas and MamaG is normally the one to make it, so this was my first time doing it alone. Hopefully, I haven’t brought shame to my family.
- 1.5 lbs ricotta cheese
- 2 tbsp chopped parsley
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup blue cheese
- 1/4 cup Romano cheese
- 1.5 cups flour
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup of milk
1/2 cup butter – cold
I decided to go whole-hog on this bad boy and made everything from scratch, including the ricotta cheese, which is way easier than I expected.
Just get a gallon of milk on the stove and slowly bring it up to 200 degrees, add lemon juice (2/3 cup) and let rest for 10 minutes. The curd will separate from the whey during that time, and then you strain it…that’s it.
I like to think that my Grandpa would make his own ricotta, like me, wearing a Donald Duck sweatshirt and listening to a Jimmy Buffett album.
Ok, time for the dough.
It’s important to sift your flour so it looks like a mound of fine Columbian powder.
The finer the flour, the easier it’ll be to incorporate your butter.
The dough is a bit like a biscuit dough so you’ll be cutting some cold butter cubes into the flour.
Drop your cubes into the flour and get your hands in there like Grandpa Al.
Work the butter into the flour until it becomes “pebbly” and don’t worry about a few larger chunks here and there.
From here you add your milk and egg mixture and mix until you get a nice firm dough.
I made two different mixtures since I was making a gluten-free version and wanted to test a new mixture.
Once your dough is firm (I keep giggling at that, but only Lester is here to hear it) wrap it up and toss it in the fridge until you’re ready to roll.
In a bowl, mix the ricotta cheese with the eggs, parsley, Romano and blue cheese.
Salt and pepper to taste (just a little, lots of salt in the cheese).
Combine and put aside while you roll out the dough.
I skipped a bit of the “rolling out” since it’s gluten-free, it gets a little difficult and honestly, I’m just glad it turned out this well.
When your dough is ready, place your ricotta mixture on half of the dough. You want enough room so you can fold it over and crimp it shut.
And speaking of crimping…
Check out the crimp on that bad boy.
Once you’re pleased with the look of your calzone, all that’s left before the oven is to poke some holes for the steam and cover it in an egg wash.
Pop the calzone into a 400-degree oven (I did mine at 375 cause, like me, it runs hot) and let bake for 30-35 minutes. You’re looking for a nice golden brown crust, so give it a little extra time if you think you need it.
In the end, if all goes well (which was not totally the case for me) it’ll turn out looking something like this.
Mine split at the top a bit because of the GF crust, the other dough I’d made was a bit better but…I forgot to get a picture of it before I started eating it.
I’ve been eating this calzone every Christmas for as long as I can remember, the sad part is that I don’t really remember my Grandpa making it.
While this wasn’t as good as the real thing, seeing his picture and thinking about all the times I helped my mom make this was a great way to kick this off.
I hope you enjoy something I’ve been enjoying for years.
I’m an acting/improvising optimizing son of a gun.
I’ve been living and working and performing in Chicago since 2005. I love to eat, travel, talk and make people laugh. So for me this blog stuff is pretty neat.
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