What is a calzone?
A calzone (pronounced “kalt-soh-neh”) is a crescent-shaped pizza in which the filling is enclosed in the double-folded base. Calzone means “pants” or “trouser leg” and is originally the take-away variant of the round pizza: because the filling cannot fall off, the dish is easier to transport and can be eaten without cutlery.
Just like regular pizza, the calzone comes from eighteenth-century Naples. A filled pizza, pizza ripieno, is what the Italians call a calzone. In Italy, small calzones are sold on the street for lunch and eaten as street food. The filling usually consists of mozzarella and/or ricotta with ham or salami, but can be varied to your heart’s content.
Did you know...
Panzerotti, a deep-fried version of the calzone, is found in the Italian region of Apulia.
How to make calzone
All pizza dough is made from just a few ingredients: flour with high gluten content, yeast, salt and water. From this, an elastic dough is kneaded, then allowed to rise. In true Italian style, balls of the dough are then formed by hand – so without a rolling pin – into pizza crusts.
Many fillings are possible. A traditional filling from Naples would be ricotta, fior di latte (a type of mozzarella), strips of salami, Parmesan cheese and basil. Normally in an authentic calzone, there is no tomato sauce. The dough is folded into a half-moon shape and pressed to close. Funnily enough, an original Neapolitan calzone has a tomato sauce made from San Marzano tomatoes on the top.
Depending on the precise temperature, a calzone goes into the oven for about three to five minutes.
How to eat
You can eat this street food version of the pizza with your hands – that’s what it was designed for!
Is an Italian meal without tomato sauce not an Italian meal for you? Do as the Americans and serve the fried calzone with a marinara sauce for dipping alongside. Marinara sauce is a simple tomato sauce made with garlic and basil or oregano.