(Giant) Spinach Calzone

We have a pizzeria in my home town of Homewood called Aurelio’s that serves the absolute best spinach calabrese ever! The dough tastes almost like a pastry it’s so tender. I do not believe that it is possible to duplicate it at home however, this attempt was delicious even so. I think I had the filling right but I will continue to try different methods with the dough to see if I can get it closer to the real thing. My mom has made several really awesome spinach calzones over the years, but she never uses a recipe so it’s almost as impossible to duplicate hers as it is Aurelio’s. She did give me the tip to marinate the spinach rather than saute it which turned out perfect.

Early in the day:
8 oz. fresh baby spinach
3 T extra-virgin olive oil
pinch of crushed red pepper
1 t garlic powder (granulated garlic is what I have- is that the same thing as powder?)
salt and pepper
Toss all this together and let it sit on the counter. It will wilt as the day goes on.

For the dough:
3 1/4 cups unbleached flour or King Arthur Pizza Flour
1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup hot water
2 t instant yeast
1 1/2 t salt
4 T EVOO or vegetable oil

Stir together the flour, salt and instant yeast. Combine the hot water and the milk and add that along with the oil to the flour. Mix with the dough hook for about 5 or 6 minutes until you have a nice smooth dough. It should be tacky but not stick to the bowl. Put into an oiled bowl and let rise until big and puffy. The amount of time will depend on the temperature in your kitchen.  Don’t over-work the dough and handle it gently throughout the entire process.

For the calzone:
8 oz. scamorza cheese (I used Chellino brand) or mozzarella, shredded
6 T marinara sauce

Preheat the oven (hopefully you have a pizza stone in there) to 400ยบ. Roll out the dough on a well-floured surface into a large oval; you want it to be about 1/4″ thickness; alternatively you could divide the dough in half and roll out two calzones, which would probably be easier to manage- I wish I had thought of it before right this second…. Spread the marinara, spinach and cheese over half the dough (if you are doing 2 calzones, use half the ingredients for each calzone) and fold it over in a half-moon shape. Don’t be tempted to overfill the calzone- the beauty of it lies in the subtlety of the flavors. Roll the edges over once or twice and press down tightly; brush the surface lightly with some olive oil. Transfer the calzone (easier said than done for the big-boy size) to a piece of parchment and slide the parchment onto the stone (or bake it on a rimmed baking sheet). Bake for 30 minutes (possibly less for 2 smaller size).  Enjoy- it’s SO good!

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