chicken artichoke pesto calzones

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I hardly ever cook large roasts of meat, but when I do, I find like I like the leftovers even more than the original meal. I had lots of fun after Thanksgiving, and found that pot roast makes an amazing soup and sandwich. And roast chicken, to be honest, hardly ever impresses me served plain with dinner, but once it’s cooled and mixed with mayonnaise for some chicken salad, I am one happy camper.

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This time, though, I forwent the mayonnaise for something more interesting. I happened to come across a recipe for chicken artichoke pizza when I had shredded roast chicken, artichokes, and pizza dough in the freezer. I was practically forced to make it. Plus it sounded delicious.

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I made calzones instead of pizza mostly just because I hadn’t made them in a while, but I do think that the sizable chunks of shredded chicken that I wanted to use would be more appropriate in a calzone. Calzones, though, are undoubtedly more work than pizza. Instead of rolling out one round of dough for every 2-3 people, you’re rolling out one per person, and once the ingredients are added, the edges need to be crimped.

The extra work was worth it for me, because I really enjoyed these calzones. Pesto, chicken, and artichokes are a great combination, and it can only get better with cheese.

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One year ago: (Almost) No-Knead Bread

Chicken Artichoke Pesto Calzones (ingredients adapted from Stefany’s pizza, which is adapted from allrecipes; calzone method adapted from Cooks Illustrated)

Serves 8

I used mozzarella because I had it, but I think fontina would be even better.

2½ pounds pizza dough (a full recipe of this one would be perfect)
1 cup pesto
1 cup frozen artichokes, defrosted and roughly chopped
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
2 cups (8 ounces) shredded mozzarella or fontina cheese
olive oil for brushing

1. Adjust the oven rack to the lowest position, set a pizza stone on the oven rack, and heat the oven to 500 °F (260°C) for at least 30 minutes. Turn the risen dough out onto an unfloured work surface. Divide the dough into eight equal pieces. Gently reshape each piece of dough into a ball. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp kitchen towel, and let the dough rest at least 15 minutes but no more than 30 minutes.

2. Working with one piece of dough at a time and keeping the other pieces covered, stretch and pull the dough into a 7- to 8-inch round. (I don’t like to roll pizza dough, but I suppose you could if you prefer.) Set it aside while you stretch out the remaining rounds of dough. You’ll want to form and fill just four at a time, and then work on the other four while the first set bakes. (Cooks Illustrated stacks the rounds with squares of parchment paper in between; I like to use a kitchen towel.)

3. Spread 2 tablespoons pesto onto each round of dough, leaving about a 1-inch border around the edge. Divide the toppings evenly between the eight dough rounds, forming a pile in the center of the bottom half of each dough round and leaving a 1-inch border uncovered.

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4. Fold the top half of the dough over the filling-covered bottom half, leaving ½-inch border uncovered. (The photo above shows how the dough doesn’t overlap all the way. Look at the left half of the photo, where the dough isn’t crimped yet.) With your fingertips, lightly press around the silhouette of the filling and out to the edge to lightly seal the dough shut.

5. Beginning at one end of the seam, place your index finger diagonally across the edge and gently pull the bottom layer of the dough over the tip of your index finger; press into the dough to seal. (Hopefully the same picture  helps illustrate this.) Repeat the process until the calzone is fully sealed.

6. With a pastry brush, brush the tops and sides of the calzones with olive oil. Carefully transfer the calzones to parchment paper; slide the calzones on the parchment onto a pizza peel or rimless baking sheet, then slide the calzones with parchment onto the hot pizza stone, spacing them evenly apart. Bake until the calzones are golden brown, about 11 minutes; use a pizza peel or rimless baking sheet to remove the calzones with the parchment to a wire rack. Remove the calzones from the parchment, cool 5 minutes, and serve. While the first batch of calzones bakes, form the second batch and bake them after removing the first batch from the oven.

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Comments

  1. Gorgeous craftsmanship with those calzones!! Oh and I looove pesto :-)

  2. That combination sounds delicious! And that pizza dough looks great, too.

  3. Oh that looks delicious and you did a great job with the crimped edges!

  4. What a great combination of ingredients! I love calzones, and these look too perfect not to try!

  5. That combination sounds wonderful! I love the way you sealed the dough. It looks so pretty!

  6. Jillian says:

    That crust looks awesome! Very nice.

  7. Ah, Jamie Oliver is the only one I’ve seen make these, and though he does make it look easy, they still did leak. Looked mighty tasty though, and yours does too :) They certainly don’t get enough attention in the blog universe!

  8. Yum. this sounds great. Great way to use up some leftovers. I also love to make chicken salad with leftover roast chicken. So good!

  9. Yum! Calzones are great – and a fabulous way to use leftover chicken too. Mmm…. these are on the menu for sure!

  10. pinkstripes says:

    What a great way to use leftovers. Your calzones look great.

  11. Hi Bridget, this looks like another great dish. I found your blog recently and am so happy I did. In fact I hope you don’t mind but I used one of your recipes in my post for today. It accompanied a Risotto another blogging friend gave me. I gave you full credit.

  12. oh my gosh–i have pizza do in the freezer that i plan to make in to calzones tomorrow night. i also have chicken and artichoke hearts, so i think i’m trying this out! thanks for a great idea!

  13. Those look dee-lish! I love seeing how to make stuff like this – it seems so complicated, but now I feel like I could TOTES make some of my own.

    Also, random sidenote: your nails look SO HEALTHY. Do you do anything to make them so beautiful? You should be a hand model. :)

  14. looks so good!… one of the healthiest calzones i think i’ve ever seen! looks delish!

  15. This looks SO delicious! I’ve never made calzones before. I may have to try it!

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