I first saw this recipe for Chicken Pesto Calzones on My Kitchen Addiction early last month. I immediately knew I'd be giving this recipe a try. I'm a huge fan of pesto in any recipe and I loved that Jen claimed this was a freezer friendly recipe.
I finally got around to making the calzones last night and they certainly didn't disappoint! I baked two for dinner and placed the other two in my freezer for a quick, effortless meal when I've had a long day and don't feel like puttering around in the kitchen. Someday soon I want to spend the chunk of a Saturday afternoon making a variety of calzones to stock my freezer. Shaping the dough into 4 calzones creates very generous portions. You could easily shape these into 8 smaller calzones for kids or for modest meals on the go. You can fill the calzones with any of your favorite pizza toppings, but I must say that I was quite fond of this chicken pesto version!
Chicken Pesto Calzones
adapted from My Kitchen Addiction
makes 4 calzones
For the dough:
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 teaspoon yeast
1/2 teaspoon sugar
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup olive oil
To finish the calzones:
1 cup pesto
3 cups cooked chicken, shredded
4 ounces shredded cheese (mozzarella or provolone)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
To prepare the dough, combine the warm water, yeast and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk until the yeast and sugar are dissolved in the water. Add the olive oil, salt and flour. Using the dough hook, mix until dough is smooth and begins to pull away from sides of the bowl. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow the dough to rise for about 1 1/2 - 2 hours.*
Once the dough has risen, preheat the oven to 475°F. (If using a baking stone, place it in the oven while preheating.) Divide the dough into four portions and shape each portion of the dough into a rectangle/oval on a sheet of parchment paper or aluminum foil for easy transfer to the oven. If using a baking sheet, lightly grease and you may shape the calzones directly on the baking sheet.
In a mixing bowl, combine the pesto, shredded chicken, and cheeses. Spoon 1/4 of the chicken pesto mixture onto half of each piece of dough. Fold the dough over the filling and pinch the edges to seal the calzone.
(At this point, you can wrap with plastic wrap and freeze any or all of the calzones, if desired.**)
Brush the top of the calzones lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with Italian seasoning. Bake for 12-14 minutes until golden on top and cooked through. Enjoy!
*For a faster rise, I microwaved a cup of water until boiling and allowed it to continue to boil for 2 minutes. I then placed my dough in the microwave. The warm, humid environment will allow the dough to rise considerably faster than it would in a typical kitchen.
**To bake the calzones from the freezer, allow them to thaw in the fridge or at room temperature then bake as directed.