Making dough from scratch means you need to plan ahead, but it doesn’t take much effort as once it’s put together you just need to wait. Using Aubergine and Parmesan pesto as a filling adds a big hit of rich aubergine and tomato flavour, so there’s no need to make a separate sauce, whilst spreading ricotta on the base melds perfectly and helps by stopping any oil soaking into the dough. The other ingredients are a classic combination, so feel free to experiment as you wish.
500g ‘00’ or strong white flour, plus extra for rolling
3g dried yeast
325 ml room temperature water
12g fine salt
Around 15-20 cherry tomatoes, approx. 150g, we
75g sliced salami or pepperoni (or leave out if you prefer)
1 small bunch basil (approx. 25g)
2 tbsp semolina
Begin making the dough at least 3-4 hours before you want to cook the calzones. You can make it the day before and then leave it in the fridge, which will improve the flavour. Mix the water and yeast together in a jug till the yeast dissolves Place the flour in a large mixing bowl and make a well in the middle. Add about half of the water and the oil into the centre then use one hand to move the liquid in a circular motion, slowly bringing in the flour. When it begins to resemble custard add the remaining liquid and sprinkle the salt over the bowl. Continue to mix until it becomes too thick to bring in any more flour. Now use your hand to push the remaining flour into the wet dough until it has all combined. It will be very sticky at this point but that’s fine. Clean the dough off your fingers then leave for 10 minutes.
Lightly dust a clean work surface with flour then tip the dough onto it. Knead the dough by stretching, lifting and folding it for 5 minutes. Try not to add more flour as eventually it will gain elasticity and be easier to handle. Leave to rest again for ten minutes in the bowl.
Place the dough on the work surface and briefly knead for 30 seconds, then divide into either 4 or 6 evenly sized pieces. Shape into balls then place on to a large, floured baking tray. Cover with a damp cloth or cling film and leave to rise for 3 -4 hours, or until double in size.
When ready to cook the calzones, heat your oven to 220C fan/240C non-fan and place a sturdy baking tray or baking stone inside. Prep the tomatoes and have all your fillings ready.
Lightly dust your work surface with flour and pick up one of the balls of dough. Dust the dough with flour and use your fingers to flatten down. Now use a floured rolling pin to roll out the dough, pushing forwards and backwards then turning the dough about 45 degrees to the left or right and repeating. Add more flour if needed and roll out till it is about 25cm wide if making 4 calzones, or 20 cm if making 6.
Spread one half of the dough with a decent layer or ricotta, leaving a 2cm gap around the edge and season with salt and pepper. Now add a good spoonful of the pesto, followed by the cherry tomatoes, salami and some fresh basil. Fold the dough over and seal shut by damping the edges with water then folding over and pinching together. Slide the calzone onto a baking sheet that has been dusted with semolina and repeat the process till you have used all the dough and fillings.
Bake in the oven for around 10-12 minutes, or until golden brown on top and puffed up and the filling inside hot.