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Pancetta, Ricotta and Spinach Calzone

If desired, serve the calzone on a platter with a small bowl of heated marinara sauce in the center for dipping. Look for a good-quality, jarred marinara sauce at an Italian market or well-stocked supermarket.

Ingredients:

  • Flour, as needed
  • 1 yeast dough ball (see related recipe at left), at room temperature
  • 1/4 lb. pancetta, coarsely chopped
  • 2/3 cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup finely chopped baby spinach
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 1 egg, whisked with 2 tsp. water

Directions:

Roll the dough into balls and make the filling
On a lightly floured surface, use your hands to roll the dough into a cylinder 12 inches long. Cut into 12 equal pieces and roll each piece into a smooth ball. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rest at room temperature for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a heavy fry pan over medium-low heat, cook the pancetta, stirring occasionally, until crisp, about 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a paper towel to drain.

In a bowl, stir together the pancetta, ricotta, spinach, salt and pepper.

Assemble and bake the calzone
Place a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 450°F.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out each dough ball into a round 5 to 6 inches in diameter and 1/8 inch thick. Divide the filling among the center of each round and brush the edges of the dough with water. Lift the edges, stretching and adjusting the dough and compacting the filling, so the edges meet in the center. Firmly crimp the edges and transfer each calzone to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, so that the crimped edge and one side is in contact with the pan. Cut a small steam vent in the center of the top. Brush the tops of the calzone with the egg mixture. Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for about 5 minutes, then serve. Makes 12 small calzone.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast Series, Small Plates, by Brigit L. Binns (Oxmoor House, 2007).