{Baking/Vegetarian} ROASTED BELL PEPPER, MUSHROOM & RICOTTA CALZONES … l♥ved ‘em!

“Do vegetarians eat animal crackers?”
Author Unknown
Happy ‘hump day‘!! Am battling the flu and a flu ridden family but seem to have gotten the better of Wednesday. Wordless Wednesdays prove elusive as always, maybe because I have too much to say. For that matter I never seem to make it to a ‘Meatless Mondays post either; guess that’s fine because my food isn’t ruled by days of the week. That said, I make sure the grub is meatless at least 3 times a week, and these calzones proved to be just the thing. The combination of the filling, the depth the roasted bell peppers provided and the yumminess of the ricotta in here was a winner! This is one recipe I shall make often! {By the way, Tuesdays mean ‘Tuesdays With Dorie‘ for me, even though I haven’t had the courage to join the group!}
Saw them on FoodGawker the other day, and something about them stuck in my mind. The very thought of ricotta and bell peppers had me captivated, and I imagined how good they must have been! A trip down to Nummy Kitchen had me sold as she said “Calzones are such a fun dinner and are easy to personalize for the kids and picky husband. This recipe is from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian: Simple Meatless Recipes for Great Food and starts with his basic pizza crust recipe”. So here I am, having made these delicious calzones as soon as I could.

The basic dough is Mark Bittman’s pizza dough. I loved that I could make it the night before and leave it to rise in the fridge overnight. Seems to make bread and pizza making so much more appealing. No need to worry about it being warm enough to double rise, done or not done etc? Let it slowly rise in the fridge, while you sleep over it, and wake up the next morning to magically well risen dough! I just love the option. Of course, you can do it the normal way of letting it rise n a warm place for a couple of hours too!
As Andrea writes, Mark suggests using ricotta and spinach, but leaves the options wide open, suggesting the use of pizza toppings mixed with the ricotta. She chose to use roasted bell peppers, and why ever not? These roasted beauties tasted absolutely rustic delicious in there. I went a step further and sautéed some sliced mushrooms in EVOO with garlic and red chili flakes, and added those too. They tasted just wonderful, and me thinks next time I might just double the mushrooms in there. The filling had the most beautiful flavours possible!
Do you make your own ricotta? I made the ricotta at home from a David Lebovitz recipe, and you can too. Do make sure you drain the ricotta well, else you just might end up with soggy calzones. Making ricotta at home might sound tedious, but I assure you it’s not. I made it 2 days prior to making the calzones, and let it drain, wrapped in cling-wrap in the fridge for 2 days. I roasted the bell peppers in advance too, and having done the dough the previous night, I was left with just basic mushroom filling to make, and assembly for the next day! Easy and breezy!
I think these will make handsome little bites for a kids birthday party too, and great snack box fillers! My kids had them for an after school snack, and then later for dinner too! I absolutely loved the option of a vegetarian calzone that would win over a non vegetarian option. Pizza toppings as filling? YES PLEASE!!

Roasted Bell Pepper, Mushroom and Ricotta Calzones

1 recipe Mark Bittman’s pizza dough {recipe follows}

Filling
Adapted from Nummy Kitchen
2 cups ricotta cheese {homemade from 1 ltr of whole milk, 1/2 cup yogurt and 200ml low fat cream; recipe here}
4-5 red & yellow bell peppers, roasted and chopped
1 cup shredded mature cheddar {I didn’t have mozzarella, but this worked great}
200gms button mushrooms, finely chopped / sliced
4-6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1/2 tsp red chili flakes
A handful fresh basil leaves
Extra Virgin Olive Oil { I used Borges from here}
Salt and Pepper
I got 6 medium sized calzones from the dough. You can even make 4 large ones.

Method:
Heat the olive oil gently with 1/2 -1 tsp of roasted chili flakes and chopped garlic. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and sauté on high flame till the liquid evaporates. Add the chopped bell peppers with their juices and sauté again until dryish. {Not bone dry, but not drippy either, else they will make the calzone soggy}
Reserve in a large bowl until just warm. Now add the basil, grated cheddar and ricotta to this, stir well to mix. Adjust seasoning if required.
Preheat oven to 180C.
Divide the dough into 6 equal balls, and roll out into circles about 8 inches each, by rolling or patting the dough down.
Divide the filling equally among the six rolled out bits of dough. Fold over and pinch the sides to seal.
Bake for about 30 minutes until nice and risen, and brown. {You could give them an egg wash for a rich colour. I just gave them a brush of olive oil}
Cool for 5-7 minutes, and serve. {Be careful when you serve them to kids, as it might have hot air trapped within as they tend to puff up.}

Mark Bittman’s Pizza Dough
3 cups all-purpose plus more as needed
2 teaspoons instant yeast
2 teaspoons coarse sea salt, plus extra for sprinkling
1 to 1¼ cups water
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon olive oil
Method:
Combine the yeast, flour, and 2 teaspoons salt in the container of a food processor. Turn the machine on and add 1 cup water and the 2 tablespoons of oil through the feed tube.{I did this in a large bowl, using the hand mixer with dough hooks}
Process for about 30 seconds, adding more water, a little at a time, until the mixture forms a ball and is slightly sticky to the touch. If it is dry, add another tablespoon or two of water and process for another 10 seconds. {In the unlikely event that the mixture is too sticky, add flour, a tablespoon at a time.}
Turn the dough onto a floured work surface and knead by hand a few seconds to form a smooth, round dough ball. Grease a bowl with the remaining olive oil, and place the dough, in it. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp cloth and let rise in warm; draft-free area until the dough doubles in size, 1 to 2 hours. You can, cut this rising time short if you are in a hurry, or you can let the dough rise more slowly, in the refrigerator, for up to 6 or 8 hours. {I made the dough at night and let it rise in the fridge overnight… and how it rose!!}
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Comments

  1. Rosa's Yummy Yums says:

    Magnificent calzone! That filling is gorgeous.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  2. Peter M says:

    y reptty Rani, I love when you show your savory side..luv the calzones!

  3. The Urban Baker says:

    I am just discovering mushrooms ( I know, I know). This looks like something not only I would eat, but my kids would eat as well! Yum!

  4. whisk-kid says:

    Gorgeous!! I definitely need to make these in the future. I wish my roommate wasn't being so adamant about cooking dinner tonight :P

  5. Amanda says:

    Love love love! I want some, those look soooo good!

  6. take in paris says:

    I am sure I will love calzones as much as I love pizza. Wonderful recipe to share, thanks!

    Sawadee from Bangkok,
    Kris

  7. Nalini Hebbar says:

    Flu is fine-you get to stay in bed…it's the after that is so extracting…hope you are all well…BTW got the out-of-this-world Mainland China book…thanks a ton…will be starting the sauces soon…sounds fun!
    The dough recipe just right…stored it away like a pack rat!…:)

  8. Ellie (Almost Bourdain) says:

    What a lovely calzone recipe! Your photos and styling are stunning!

  9. MeetaK says:

    simply divine – more impressed because i love the fact you make your own ricotta – i buy mine LOL! so i can appreciate the effort you put into this! love it!

  10. Priya's Feast says:

    Wow..i jus luv ur recipes and ur efforts …calzones luks amazing…I really admire ur skills and efforts..luv to visit ur site(for ur pics) million times..

  11. Cherine says:

    Wonderful calzones!! Love the filling!

  12. My little cousin is going to culinary arts school to become a baker. After she graduates she wants to open up her own cupcake shop.. any quick tips i should pass along to her?? thanks!

  13. Sarah, Maison Cupcake says:

    Oh fantastic, I always forget that calzone exist but they are great. I keep meaning to make my own pizza dough and now I have two suggestions what to do with it. I guess they're like a giant Cornish pasty really?!

  14. notyet100 says:

    nothing can be better thn this,..

  15. Barbara says:

    Your calzones look fabulous, Deeba. How you made them when you don't feel well is beyond me. Cause this is an involved recipe.
    My family would love them…
    Feel better!

  16. Oh yumm!! Totally agree on the part of not having to worry about the dough doubling in an hour or two:-). I had trouble getting yeast which froths in 10 mins, but am loving baking with yeast all the same!!

  17. Komal-Nishka says:

    Deee, L O V E D it :) Made 'em without ricotta but came out brilliant.. I also added some schezwan sauce and olives..

    Yummy.. thanks as always for sharing and more veggie stuff pls :) xoxo

  18. Prerna@IndianSimmer says:

    I've recently started making paneer at home and its so easy. But still need to try making yogurt and ricotta. Will give David's recipe a try. Love the calzone recipe as well and where do you get these gorgeous props from? I SO drool over them everytime I see your photographs.
    BTW just wanted to ask if you also do photography for business?

  19. meeso says:

    These look tasty and wonderful :)

  20. Junglefrog says:

    What a beautiful little calzone! I hope everyone starts to feel well again soon!

  21. Barbara | VinoLuciStyle says:

    You have made a simple calzone look as scrumptious and beautiful as one of your cakes. Well, almost!

  22. Nancy says:

    I recently came across your blog and an enthralled!! Calzones are a wonderul weeknight dinner – the key of course is to prep just about everything ahead of time so all you have to do is assemble and bake! Fresh ricotta makes all the difference, doesn't it??

  23. I'm sorry to hear you're sick. Yet you still managed to make this amazing treat. It looks sensational. feel better soon!

  24. spandana says:

    i tired making the pizza dough recipe yesterday night thinking i will make calzones today. I kept the dough in the refirgirator yesterday night hoping it will rise as you said. But today morning it did not rise at all. Iused “un-expired” yeast and the followed the procedure. Any ideas of why it did not rise. And can I still procced to to calzones with this dough or am I doomed.

  25. tried this last night! superb! it’s so SIMPLE and impressed my entire family…i made the ricotta too – i didn’t use it in the calzones [saving it for ravioli today] but i did use the whey from the ricotta to knead my calzone dough – and i can’t tell describe how incredible the bread tasted…my calzones were made with pesto and veggies [the usual suspects!]i’m so pleased with the ricotta too – will definitely try the mascarpone and quark from your blog too…
    normally i don’t even these cheeses because in bangalore you only get imported ones and i always try to buy local…
    so Deeba, thank you for this lovely recipe

  26. keep up this good work. Excellent post

  27. neena says:

    hi deeba,lovely blog and great pics;however could u please share the sources where u pick up yeast ,foodcolors.would really appreciate it.

  28. interesting blog.

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