Fennel and Pork Calzones
Makes 12 Calzones
A calzone is a turnover, a half-moon shape that is as popular in Italy as pizza. But unlike a pizza, which sports its toppings, a calzone tempts us with a filling inside. Calzones, like pizza, have an infinite variety of fillings.
One of my favorites has always been these calzones stuffed with fennel-flavored ground pork. They make perfect eating anytime, from picnics to Sunday night supper. Ask the butcher to grind pork butt for the sausage; it is more flavorful than the often-used pork shoulder.
- 2 pounds ground pork butt
- 1 large onion, minced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 ribs celery, minced
- 1 carrot, minced
- 1 sweet yellow or red pepper, cored, seeded, and diced
- 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
- ½ cup tomato sauce
- Fine sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper to taste
- 1 recipe Straight Dough
- 1 egg, slightly beaten
- Sesame seeds for sprinkling
- In a sauté pan, brown the pork in its own fat, along with the onion and garlic. Pour off the fat.
- Add the celery, carrot, sweet pepper, and fennel and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft; the mixture is fairly dry. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and stir in the tomato sauce. Season with salt and pepper. Set the mixture aside to cool while you roll out the dough.
- Punch down the dough, then turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it for 3 to 4 minutes, until smooth and no longer sticky. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces. Work with one piece at a time, keeping the remaining dough covered with a towel.
- Roll each piece out on the floured surface into a 6- to 7- inch round. Spread about 1/3 cup of the filling over one half of each round. Fold the dough over the filling to form a turnover or half-moon shape, and crimp and seal the edges with a fork dipped in flour.
- Place the calzones at least 1 inch apart on baking sheets that have been sprayed with olive oil spray. Brush the tops of the calzones with the beaten egg and sprinkle sesame seeds over the tops. With scissors, cut a small X in the center of each calzone. Allow the calzones to rise for 20 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 375° F.
- Bake the calzones for 25 to 30 minutes, until they are golden brown on the top and bottom. Remove them from the baking sheets with a wide spatula and let them cool slightly on cooling racks. these are best eaten warm.