Sunday, January 11, 2009

Florentine Meatball Calzones with Tomato Dipper

Tonight for dinner we ate these! And they were good!!! I found this recipe on a fellow blogger's page, She has some great recipes, so definitely check it out. This is actually a Rachel Ray recipe, and while I have never had good luck with her recipes, I figured I would give it a try. I was a little nervous to attempt this because it looked difficult, but it ended up being very easy and quick to make. Definitely a keeper!

Florentine Meatball Calzones with Creamy Tomato Dipper

  • 1 box frozen chopped spinach (10 ounces), defrosted and wrung of excess water
  • 2 pounds ground turkey (or beef)
  • 1 small onion, half grated and half finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated, divided
  • 2 large eggs, 1 lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup breadcrumbs (about 3 handfuls)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese (about 2 handfuls)
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • A few grates fresh nutmeg
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • 2 tubes refrigerated pizza dough (10-ounces each)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 can crushed fire-roasted tomatoes ( 14.5-ounces), (you can use regular tomatoes if you have them on hand)
  • 1/4 cup basil (a handful), chopped
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
Pre-heat oven to 425ºF.

Combine the spinach, ground turkey, grated onion, half of the garlic, 1 egg, breadcrumbs, Parmigiano, mozzarella, nutmeg, salt and pepper.
Work the mixture together with your hands until combined and set aside.

Spread one of the pizza doughs out onto the counter. Cut in half width-wise and in thirds lengthwise, making 6 squares.
Take a handful of the meat mixture (about 1/4 cup), shape into a meatball and drop it onto the corner of one of the squares. Continue in this way until there's a meatball on each square.

Brush the edges of each square with a little of the beaten egg and fold the opposite corner over to close in the meatball and make a calzone.
Fold and press the edges to seal the meatball inside.
Brush the tops lightly with egg. Repeat with the remaining meat and dough and arrange all of the calzones on a baking sheet.
Bake until dark golden brown, about 15 minutes.

While the calzones are baking, place a medium saucepan over medium-high heat with 2 turns of the pan of EVOO, about 2 tablespoons.
Add the chopped onion and remaining garlic to the pan, season with salt and pepper and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.
Add the crushed tomatoes to the pan with the basil and simmer the sauce until thickened up a bit, 2-3 minutes.
Turn the heat off and add the cream.

I decided to make this recipe a bit leaner by using 99% fat free ground turkey and instead of heavy cream, I used fat free half & half. I like to use the jars of chopped garlic, I think it is so much easier than cutting fresh, and I like to use a lot of garlic when I cook. I also buy bags of frozen chopped onion to save time and money. I did not grate or finely chop the onion, it was all pre-diced and that was fine. Also, I wasn't able to find fire roasted crushed tomatoes, but regular ones worked out just fine. I believe those were all the ingredient changes I made.

This recipe made so much meat! I was able to make 12 calzones with the dough and had a ton of meat leftover, so I froze it to use next time. I brushed a little extra egg on top before baking and they came out a beautiful golden brown.

Next time I make this for dinner, I will make 2 changes. First, I want to use extra mozzarella cheese to put inside of the calzone and second, I would love to make this recipe with whole wheat dough. I think it would taste great! I served them with fresh cut steamed green beans and it was a terrific meal. I have to say I was totally surprised and impressed that I was able to pull this off, and we have plenty of leftovers to eat for lunch tomorrow.

I'll leave you with a few new pictures of sweet baby Josie. Enjoy!

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