We may be geeks, but that doesn’t mean we don’t know how to create great things in the kitchen. Some of the best dishes can be made quickly and easily as long as you know what you’re doing. Let’s get cooking!
Much like Ben Wyatt on Parks and Recreation, I am a huge calzone fan. Whether its simply with cheese and some dipping sauce or something a little more advanced, I’m usually happy to have a calzone. My favorite kind of calzone, though, is filled with buffalo chicken and bleu cheese.
I discovered my love of the buffalo chicken calzone in college, because of a place called D.P. Dough, that dealt almost exclusively in calzones and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. The “Buffer Zone” as it’s called was my go-to pick after a night at the bar. When I started cooking regularly, it was the one I wanted to imitate. Personally, I think I’ve surpassed it.
You can buy some pizza dough to use as the outer shell or make your own. I opted to make my own in the bread machine this time around. Once it’s ready, place some flour on a clean surface, put down the dough and let it rise for a bit, covering it with a damp piece of paper towel. Once that’s ready to go, preheat the oven to 375°F and focus on the chicken.
I usually take a good-sized chicken breast and cut it up into pieces, before I throw it in a pan on the stove. Cook it with some seasonings – pepper, garlic salt, your tastes will vary – and then put the finished product in your buffalo sauce mix. Instead of just using a traditional buffalo sauce, I mixed a little bit of melted butter with some spicy barbecue sauce and a little bit of Valentina’s Extra Hot sauce.
Get a good coat on all the chicken and let it sit to marinate a little bit. Then, get to work on the cheese filling.
Throw a cup or two of ricotta – mixed with an egg for smoothness, of course – into a mixing bowl and combine it with some shredded mozzarella and some grated parmesan. Stir thoroughly and add in spices as needed – black pepper, crushed red pepper, basil, oregano, whatever tastes good to you, toss it in.
By now, your dough should be ready. Take what you need for the calzone and package the rest up and put it away. I always have extra dough to make a pizza or breadsticks or something another time. Lay down a little more flower and use a rolling pin to flatten and stretch out the dough.
Place the dough on a wax paper-covered baking sheet. Put a layer of the ricotta mixture down on one half of the dough, and then your buffalo-marinated chicken. On top of that, throw on a little more ricotta, a little more shredded mozzarella and some bleu cheese. You can’t have a buffalo chicken calzone without some bleu cheese.
Once you’re filled up, fold the empty side of the dough over the fillings and fold any excess over, pinching it down to stay closed.
Throw the calzone in the oven until the dough has a nice tough texture and a golden toasty exterior. It shouldn’t take more than 20-25 minutes, depending on how well your oven cooks, of course.
I always cut mine in half once it gets out of the oven and I usually need to cut it even further with a knife and fork and dipping the pieces in bleu cheese dressing. Depending on how big you made your calzone, you can probably get two or three meals out of the thing.