Meatless Monday: Three Cheese Caprese Calzone

Celebrate Meatless Monday this week with Kelsey Nixon's three-cheese, tomato and basil calzone.
By: Michelle Buffardi
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Everyone knows that you can make pizza at home; you can make your own crust or take a shortcut and use store-bought. But calzones remain a comfort-food delicacy only to be obtained from a pizzeria. This needn't be so -- calzones and pizza are made with basically the same stuff, so both can be made in your very own kitchen.

Kelsey Nixon's make-in-your-own-kitchen calzone is a nod to the ubiquitous mozzarella-tomato-basil restaurant staple, the Caprese salad (pronounced kuh-prey-say). It's loaded with 3 kinds of cheese (mozzarella, Parmesan and ricotta), cherry tomatoes and basil and served with a garlicky marinara sauce. Kelsey makes homemade dough for her calzone, but if you're short on time, you can substitute store-bought. Same goes for the sauce. Kelsey's recipe calls for heirloom cherry tomatoes, which you can find at the farmer's market, but if you can't, just use regular cherry tomatoes.

Three Cheese Caprese Calzone

Recipe courtesy Kelsey Nixon
Yield: 4 calzones
Balsamic Glaze:
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
3 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
Dough:
Olive oil, for brushing
Simple Pizza Dough, recipe follows
Toppings:
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
8 ounces shredded mozzarella
1 pint cherry heirloom tomatoes, halved
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
Tomato Sauce, for serving, recipe follows

For the glaze: Add the balsamic vinegar and Worcestershire to a small saucepan and simmer over medium heat until thickened and coats the back of a spoon, 3 to 5 minutes.

For the dough: Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. Grease 2 baking sheets with olive oil.

Prepare the pizza dough according to the recipe. Divide the dough into 4 equal portions.

On a floured work surface, using a rolling pin, roll each piece of dough into a circle. Place the circles onto the prepared baking sheets.

For the toppings: Place 1/4 of the ricotta, Parmesan, mozzarella and tomatoes on the bottom half of each of the rounds. Season the filling with salt and pepper, tear some basil leaves over the cheese and tomatoes and drizzle with a spoonful of the balsamic glaze.

Fold the dough rounds in half to resemble a half-moon shape, covering the filling with the dough. Starting at one end of the half-moon, begin to fold the dough over on itself pressing down as you go.

Continue to fold the dough until you reach the end and then tuck the final end under and pinch it shut.

Brush the calzones with some more olive oil and, with the tip of a knife, make 2 slits in each calzone so the steam can escape.

Bake the calzones until the crust is golden and crisp, about 15 minutes.

Cook's Note: Cutting slits in the top of the calzone will prevent the calzone from leaking and let the steam escape. You can fill this calzone with whatever you like.

Did you know? Meatless Monday's gone global. The campaign was launched in the US in 2003, but is now active in 23 countries, and is still growing. Find out how Israel, France, Brazil and Jamaica are going meatless.

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