Spinach Calzone

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serves 2.5

source: Jamie Oliver

Ingredients

Pizza dough

  • 0.5kg strong white bread flour or Tipo ‘00’ flour or 400g strong white bread flour or Tipo ‘00’ flour, plus 100g finely ground semolina flour
  • 0.5 level tablespoon fine sea salt
  • 7g sachet of dried yeast
  • 0.5 tablespoon golden caster sugar
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 325ml lukewarm water

Tomato sauce

  • olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced a bunch of fresh basil, leaves picked and torn
  • 3 x 400g tins of good-quality, whole plum tomatoes
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Filling

  • 1 x pizza dough recipe
  • flour, for dusting
  • olive oil
  • 500g mixed mushrooms (such as girolles, shiitake, enoki and chestnut), cleaned and torn up
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
  • 4 sprigs of fresh thyme, leaves picked
  • 50g butter
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 200ml quickest tomato sauce
  • 300g spinach leaves, washed and spun dry
  • 2 x 125g balls of good-quality mozzarella, torn into pieces

Note: I replaced all cheese with creme fraiche once, worked fine.

Method

Pizza dough

Sieve the flour/s and salt on to a clean work surface and make a well in the middle. In a jug, mix the yeast, sugar and olive oil into the water and leave for a few minutes, then pour into the well. Using a fork, bring the flour in gradually from the sides and swirl it into the liquid. Keep mixing, drawing larger amounts of flour in, and when it all starts to come together, work the rest of the flour in with your clean, flour-dusted hands. Knead until you have a smooth, springy dough.

Place the ball of dough in a large flour-dusted bowl and flour the top of it. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and place in a warm room for about an hour until the dough has doubled in size.

Now remove the dough to a flour-dusted surface and knead it around a bit to push the air out with your hands – this is called knocking back the dough. You can either use it immediately, or keep it, wrapped in clingfilm, in the fridge (or freezer) until required. If using straight away, divide the dough up into as many little balls as you want to make pizzas – this amount of dough is enough to make about six to eight medium pizzas.

Timing-wise, it’s a good idea to roll the pizzas out about 15 to 20 minutes before you want to cook them. Don’t roll them out and leave them hanging around for a few hours, though – if you are working in advance like this it’s better to leave your dough, covered with clingfilm, in the fridge. However, if you want to get them rolled out so there’s one less thing to do when your guests are round, simply roll the dough out into rough circles, about 0.5cm thick, and place them on slightly larger pieces of olive-oil-rubbed and flour-dusted tinfoil. You can then stack the pizzas, cover them with clingfilm, and pop them into the fridge.

Tomato sauce

Place a large non-stick frying pan on the heat and pour in 4 generous glugs of olive oil. Add the garlic, shake the pan around a bit and, once the garlic begins to colour lightly, add the basil and the tomatoes. Using the back of a wooden spoon, mush and squash the tomatoes as much as you can.

Season the sauce with salt and pepper. As soon as it comes to the boil, remove the pan from the heat. Strain the sauce through a coarse sieve into a bowl, using your wooden spoon to push any larger bits of tomato through. Discard the basil and garlic that will be left in the sieve, but make sure you scrape any of the tomatoey goodness off the back of the sieve into the bowl.

Pour the sauce back into the pan, bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and simmer for 5 minutes to concentrate the flavours. It will be ready when it’s the perfect consistency for spreading on your pizza.

Filling

First, make your pizza dough. Preheat the oven to full whack, then tear the knocked-back dough into four pieces and roll each one out on a floured surface. You want to get them roughly circular, about the thickness of a pound coin, and 30cm across. You can now either keep these in the fridge, stacked and separated with olive-oil-rubbed and flour-dusted tinfoil, until you’re ready to cook them, or you can put your topping on and cook them straight away.

Pour a large lug of olive oil into a hot frying pan. Add the mushrooms and toss briefly in the hot oil before adding the sliced garlic and the thyme. Fry until the mushrooms are cooked and smell fantastic. Drop in the butter and toss the mushrooms in it to make them tasty and shiny. Season with a little salt and pepper.

Add the tomato sauce to the pan and stir. Cook for a few minutes, then add the spinach (in batches if you need to) and stir again. Simmer away the liquid until you’re left with a thick, tasty mixture that’s not too moist (otherwise it will burst through the dough when you’re cooking the calzone).

Divide the mushroom and spinach mixture evenly between the four pizza bases and spread it out nicely. Top with pieces of mozzarella and season with salt and pepper. To make your calzone, carefully lift the far edge of the pizza dough and pull it over the top towards you – you basically need to fold it in half (imagine it looking like a big Cornish pasty!). Crimp the edges so none of the filling can spill out. Place the calzone side by side on a floured baking tray (use two if you need to), pizza stone or granite slab.

Cook for 10 to 15 minutes on the bottom of the preheated oven until the dough is puffed up and golden on top and the filling is hot.


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