Rachel Allen was brought up in Dublin and left home at eighteen to study at the world-famous Ballymaloe Cookery School. Rachel is now a busy ...
for the roasted tomato sauce:
450 g tomatoes
3 cloves of garlic (peeled and kept whole)
5 tblsp olive oil
3 tblsp balsamic vinegar
salt, freshly ground black pepper and 1 tsp caster sugar
for the pizza dough
350 g strong white flour (sifted)
1 level tsp salt
2 tsp caster sugar
25 g butter (softened)
1 x 7g sachet fast-acting yeast
2 tblsp olive oil (plus extra for brushing)
175–200ml warm water
for the puttanesca filling (per calzone):
2 tblsp roasted tomato sauce
4 olives (pitted and roughly chopped)
3 anchovies (chopped)
2 tblsp baby capers (or chopped large ones)
50 g grated mozzarella
2 tblsp drained tinned tuna
8 basil leaves (roughly torn)
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tblsp finely grated parmesan cheese
tiny sprinkle of chilli flakes (optional)
Preheat the oven to 230°C (425°F/Gas 7).
To make the roasted tomato sauce, lay the halved tomatoes on a baking tray in a single layer, cut side up. Add the whole cloves of garlic randomly on the tray, drizzle with the oil and vinegar and season with salt, pepper and sugar to taste.
Cook in the oven for about 20 minutes until very soft and blistered in appearance. Liquidise in a liquidiser or food processor and push through a sieve. Season again to taste. The sauce needs to be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon: if it needs thickening, place in a saucepan, bring to the boil and reduce to thicken, which could take up to 10 minutes.
To make the pizza dough, place the flour, salt and sugar in a large bowl and mix. Rub in the butter, add the yeast and mix together. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, add the oil and most, but not all, of the warm water and mix to a loose dough.
Add more water or flour, if needed. Take the dough out of the bowl and place on a lightly floured work surface, covered with a clean tea towel, for 5 minutes. Then knead the dough for 10 minutes or until smooth and slightly springy to the touch.
Alternatively, knead the dough for 5 minutes in an electric food mixer using the dough hook. Let the dough relax for another 5 minutes.
Turn the oven up to 240ºC (475°F/Gas 9). Place an upside-down baking tray or a pizza baking tile in the centre of the oven, allowing at least 15 minutes to heat up fully.
To make the puttanesca filling, simply mix all the ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl and season.
Lightly dust the work surface and dough ball with flour, rolling it into a disc roughly 23cm (9in) in diameter. (Try to keep the disc as thin as possible as it has to be doubled over.)
Spoon the filling onto one half of the disc, keeping it at least 1–2cm (1/2–3/4in) from the edge. Lift the other half over and seal the edges by squeezing them together and press with the prongs of a fork, making sure the dough doesn’t stick to the work surface.
Using either a floured pizza paddle or the floured base of a loose-bottomed tin, slide the calzone onto it and then quickly onto the upside-down tray or baking tile in the oven.
Bake for 15–20 minutes, covering with foil towards the end of the cooking time, if necessary, to prevent it burning. Remove from the oven, lightly brush with olive oil and serve with a green salad.
Variations for fillings
Calzone with Italian sausage:
Squeeze the sausage meat out of the casing of 100g (3 1/2 oz) soft spicy Italian sausages and break up with a fork. Sauté it in 1–2 tablespooons of olive oil over a medium heat for about 10 minutes until fully cooked. Cut 1/4 red onion into large slices lengthways and sauté with 1/2 teaspoon of roughly chopped rosemary in 1 tablespoon of olive oil until the onions are translucent but not browned.
Following the instructions above, spread half the base with 2 tablespoons of roasted tomato sauce, then spread over the cooked sausages, 50g (2oz) grated mozzarella and the cooked onions. Fold over the other half of the dough and cook as above, brushing with chilli oil instead of olive oil if you prefer.
Calzone di magro (without meat):
Poach 75g leeks, cut into 1cm rounds, for 5–10 minutes in 75ml water with 15g butter and seasoned with salt and pepper. Mix together 50g grated mozzarella, 2 tablespoons chopped parsley, 1/2 tsp chopped thyme and 1 clove of finely grated or crushed garlic, and taste for seasoning.
Spread the cheese mixture over half the base and scatter over the leeks. Fold over the other half of the dough and cook as above, brushing with olive oil.