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Roasted Vegetable Calzones

Calzoni di Magro

MAKES 12 CALZONES

Travel through the region of Puglia at the heel of Italy's boot and you will eventually meet up with calzoni, those small pockets of dough with their fillings of cheese, the local salame, and/or vegetables, according to the whim of the cook.

Among the most delicious are calzoni di magro (literally, "meager" calzones), so called because only vegetables are used in the filling. Roasting the vegetables adds depth of flavor. Mashed roasted garlic, a few herbs, and just a dab of tomato sauce are all the seasoning they need. The first bite conjures up magnificent memories of Puglia.

Prepare these in stages if you like. Make the dough, punch it down after the first rise, cover the bowl tightly, and refrigerate overnight. Bring the dough to room temperature the next day and allow to rise again before proceeding with the recipe.

Ingredients

FILLING

1 small yellow squash

1 small zucchini

1 medium fennel bulb, trimmed

1 medium Spanish onion, peeled

1 medium sweet yellow pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into 2-inch squares

3 large cloves garlic, unpeeled

1 cup diced mozzarella cheese (about 5 ounces)

1/4 cup prepared tomato sauce

1/4 cup packed minced fresh flat-leaf parsley

1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano

Fine sea salt to taste

A grinding of black pepper

1 recipe Nonna's Sponge Dough

1 egg, slightly beaten

Coarse sea salt for sprinkling

Directions

Preheat the oven to 425ºF.

Spray a 17 X 11 1/2-inch baking pan with olive oil spray and set aside. Cut the yellow squash, zucchini, fennel, and onion lengthwise into quarters. Cut the quarters into 2-inch chunks. Spread them in a single layer on the baking pan. Add the yellow pepper and garlic cloves to the pan.

Spray the vegetables lightly with olive oil spray and place the pan on the middle rack of the oven. Roast the vegetables for 45 minutes, until browned, turning them once, halfway through the cooking time. Remove the vegetables from the oven.

With your fingers, slip the skins from the garlic cloves and discard them. In a large bowl, mash the garlic with a fork. Add the remaining roasted vegetables, the cheese, tomato sauce, parsley, oregano, salt, and pepper. Gently toss all the ingredients with a spoon to mix well. Set aside.

Lightly coat two baking sheets with olive oil spray and set them aside.

Punch down the dough and turn it out onto a floured surface. Knead it for 3 to 4 minutes, until smooth and no longer sticky. Divide the dough in half.

Work with half the dough at a time, keeping the remaining dough covered with a cloth or bowl. Roll the dough into a 12-inch long log. Cut the log into six pieces. On the floured surface, roll each piece of dough into a 6-inch circle. Spread a generous 1/4-cup of the vegetable filling on one half of each piece of dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Fold the dough over to form a turnover. Pinch the edges closed with your fingers, then use a fork dipped in flour to crimp and seal the edges.

Space the calzones about 1 inch apart on the baking sheets. Cover them with towels and let rise for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 425ºF.

Cut an X in the center of each calzone with scissors. Brush the tops with the beaten egg and sprinkle each one with a little coarse sea salt.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the calzones are golden brown on top and the bottom crust is firm. Transfer the calzones to cooling racks to cool slightly. These are best eaten warm.

Calzones can be frozen for up to 2 months. Wrap individually in aluminum foil and put into plastic bags. Thaw, unwrapped, at room temperature and reheat in a preheated 325ºF oven for about 5 minutes.

Note: If you have perforated pizza pans, use them instead of baking sheets. They will help to ensure even browning on the underside of the calzones and prevent a soggy bottom crust.

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