Saturday, January 23, 2010

Spinach & Pancetta Calzones

Hubby really likes Italian food. He loves it for two main reasons: Marinara and Pancetta. lol. To have both of these in one dish = one happy Hubby. So I'm always trying to come up with ways to bring these two flavors together...which really isn't that hard if you think about it. You can throw marinara sauce on just about anything. =)

Hubby hates eating his veggies, though. He's gotten better since he's met me (all of 8 years ago), but he still doesn't eat as much as he should. So whenever possible, I try to sneak giant loads of veggies into something that I know he will eat. Tricky, eh?

The perfect solution: Spinach & Pancetta Calzones, dipped in marinara sauce. Hubby chows down on these like there's no tomorrow. He doesn't even mind that it's packed full of spinach! =) So I know for a fact that if you've got some picky eaters, they won't say no to these calzones!

(1) The Dough

Combine sugar and yeast in a large bowl.

Add warm water and stir to mix in the sugar and yeast. You might still have small lumps here and there, but it's ok. It doesn't have to be completely smooth. Set aside for about 5 minutes.

I don't know if you can tell by looking at this picture, but after 5 minutes, the mixture will have expanded and will become more opaque in color.

Add olive oil, salt, and flour.

With an electric mixer on medium speed, beat for about a minute until the dough has formed little "shreds," and there is no excess flour or liquid present. It's super easy and comes together pretty quickly.

Push all the dough "shreds" together and kneed a few times until it forms into a ball. Brush the dough with a light layer of olive oil. Cover with plastic wrap and leave it in a warm place to rise for about an hour.

After about an hour, it should double in size.

(2) The Spinach & Pancetta Filling

Pancetta is basically Italian bacon. But it has a milder, more delicate taste than traditional American bacon. It's sooo delicious! I get mine pre-sliced at Whole Foods. I then chop it up into small pieces for this dish.

Drizzle olive oil into a pan and add onion, along with garlic salt. Saute on medium-high heat.

Saute until the onion has become clear and is just starting to caramelize, about 5 minutes.

Add the chopped pancetta, along with Italian seasoning, and salt. Continue to saute on medium-high heat.

Saute for about 5-7 more minutes, until the onion has caramelized and the edges of the pancetta is starting to brown.

Pour the pancetta and onion mixture into a large mixing bowl. Allow to cool slightly and then add the spinach. Make sure the spinach is completely drained of all liquid. I do this by squeezing handfuls of spinach until all the liquid has run out.

Add the ricotta.

Add one egg.

Mix until well combined. Ready to go!

(3) Assemble the Calzones

Roll out your dough. You can roll it out thinner to get a crispy crust, or thicker to get a more bread-like crust. I like mine thin, while Hubby likes his to have a bit of a soft bite to it. To get a thicker crust, roll it out to be about 1/4 inch thick. Adjust accordingly for a thinner crust.

I like to make small, round individual calzones. So I used the largest cookie cutters I had- ones that were about 4 inches in diameter. You'll need two, one that's slightly larger than the other. The smaller circular disk will act as the bottom, while the larger one will be for the top. The top one needs to be slightly larger to accommodate for the dome that the filling will make.

Brush the baking pan liberally with olive oil. Place the smaller disks about 2 inches apart on the pan. Top with the spinach and pancetta filling, leaving room around the circumference of the dough. Brush the circumference of the dough with egg wash to help seal the calzone. Then cover with the slightly larger dough disks.

Use the back of a fork to press the ends together to seal the edges. Poke the tops of the calzones with a fork. Then be sure to liberally brush the tops of the calzones with olive oil, so that it is entirely covered.

Bake at 425 degrees F for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Enjoy with a side of warm marinara sauce for dipping! Hubby really likes Prego, so that's what I use all the time. I'm slightly ashamed to admit that I feed my family Prego, but hey, it works. hehe. I always have this nagging thought that true domestic goddesses don't use any prepackaged items, so an aspiring one shouldn't either. lol. I've been meaning to try making my own, but haven't gotten around to it. It's not high on my priority list, since Hubby loves Prego so much that he practically inhales it. It's hard to get motivated to change an already good thing. But I'll be sure to let all of you know if I find a good recipe for marinara one of these days. =)

Anyway, give these a try! They're soooo delicious! And you'd be surprised at how easy they are to make!

Click HERE for the recipe


  1. Absolutely delicious - no wonder your hubby can't stop eating them!


  2. sounds yummy. I love italian food to

  3. Hi Judy
    You have been so good at trying the savoury dishes since the feedback (not feedback I would have given you LOL - sweet every time for me!). I admire you. I would like to but always revert to the sweet. Good on you!

  4. Wow.... VERY impressed! I've made tarts or turnovers once using this method, but they didn't look nearly as nice. How wonderful! I will have to try this - I have a great spinach and pancetta recipe for lasagna... hm... yes, I LOVE the savory dishes too! What good taste you have!

  5. Hi there - this looks tasty. Did you post the recipe with measurements or am I going blind?! Thanks

  6. GIANT "click HERE for the recipe" at the end of the post.


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