These eggplant calzones are one of the most delicious home cooked meals I have eaten in a long time. I usually rush through dinner, but with these calzones I slowly ate each bite, savoring the seemingly complex yet straightforward flavors. A touch (or really a LOT) of oregano is reminiscent of the pizza shops of the old days, when the shakers of oregano and hot pepper were left on each table.
I can’t take the credit though.
We ran out of whole wheat flour so I needed to use a recipe for white flour for the dough. PB has one but he was not available so I went back to an old favorite in Simply Recipes’ version. Elise’s dough recipe is the first one we ever tried, and the dough comes out perfect each time. It is a bit wet which I like, and it comes together so easily. We don’t have a mixer so I mix everything but the flour in a bowl and add the flour last. I use a spatula to start to bring it all together for a few seconds. Once it forms into a bowl I dump it out onto a floured surface and knead for a bit. I follow the rest of her directions exactly. This is the best pizza dough recipe, and the next time you need to make dough you should use it. One batch of this dough (using 3.5 cups of flour) yields 16 good sized calzones.
While the dough rises I leave my counter covered in flour. It will need to get messy when you roll out the dough anyway! Just walk away from the mess…. you can do it.
The eggplant calzones, from flour start to cheesy end, take a few hours. Much of that time is inactive, so if you’re like me, load up your computer with a good T.V. show and hang out in the kitchen. Or do lunges and squats in your apron. Whatever you feel like… it is a no judgment zone.
These are great for dinner paired with a salad, packed in some foil for lunch, or even frozen for a future meal. To freeze, just wrap the finished calzone in plastic wrap and then in a plastic bag. You probably won’t have any left to freeze though- they are that good.
1 batch of pizza dough
4 small Italian eggplant
3 cups crushed tomatoes
1 tbs kosher salt
3-4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup oregano (or to taste- we like a lot!)
1. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. I place the dough on top of the warming oven (on an unused burner) to rise.
2. Peel your eggplant and slice into rounds. Brush with olive oil and grill until cooked through. I use a panini maker, but an outdoor grill would be even faster. After they have been grilled roughly chop and place into a bowl. Combine with the salt, oregano, crushed tomatoes and mozzarella cheese. Set aside.
3. Your dough should have risen enough by now. Punch it down and separate into 2 balls. Let it rest on the counter covered by a damp cloth for about 15 minutes. Then separate each ball into 4 balls, and each of those in half. You should now have 16 even sized balls of dough.
4. Bring one ball of dough in front of you and keep the rest covered with the damp cloth. Roll out the ball, using extra flour as needed. Place a good scoop of your eggplant mixture into the bottom half of the rolled out dough. Fold the dough over and pinch all around the seams. I like to roll the seam together to make the calzone look nicer. Brush with olive oil and cut an X into the center to allow steam to exit. Repeat with each ball of dough. Place 6 calzones on an oiled cookie sheet at a time. Bake in the oven until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is slightly bubbling outside of the X. Remove and repeat until you have cooked all of the calzones. Enjoy!
For another calzone recipe, see Erica’s Buffalo Chicken Calzones.