eggplant and cheese calzone
We got a television survey in the mail this week. They want us to write down what we watch every day, and because we want to feel in some way that we are supporting the shows we love, and because we think it will be a fun exercise (and perhaps will make us realize just how much television we watch…or make us not feel as bad about how much television we watch), we’re going to do it.
The thing is though, I could probably fill out that television survey right now. I could probably tell you right now exactly what I’m going to watch on Saturday afternoon when I eat lunch, or what we’ll watch on Tuesday night when we get home from work (answers: Extra Virgin, my current Italian kick, and Big Bang Theory re-runs).
I have probably mentioned this before, and I will repeat it again, but I love routine. It makes me feel comfortable and sure about so many things in life, and, although I have gotten much better, I have never been particularly good at adapting to changes in routine. I get up and go to work at the same time every day. I come home and try to work out at the same time and turn on the news. We watch the same television shows and eat dinner at the same time.
And when we do something different it often stresses me out. Sometimes it makes my brain go a little bit scattered, and I forget about the laundry I had in the dryer or the email I needed to send.
But sometimes, those moments when I let go, when I let myself sit on the porch without looking at a clock, or when I make dinner without worrying about what time we’ll eat, they turn out to be lovely moments.
I am such a creature habit that I forget to go out of my way sometimes. It seems like more of a chore to go outside in a warm summer evening and throw the ball for the dog to fetch when I feel like I should be doing something more productive, or to make something that seems like it might be a little bit of trouble because it involves pizza dough when we could have something I am more practiced at making (but really it was no trouble at all…so easy in fact that it will go on the regular dinner rotation with various fillings…leftover chicken, various cheeses, etc.). But really these things, these little steps away from my every day paths, are blessings, the kinds of moments that I remember weeks later when I am trudging through the everyday-ness of life.
Eggplant and Three Cheese Calzone
adapted from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook
This recipes sounds more complicated than it actually is, because really it is just as easy as making a pizza except you fold your dough together. I used my favorite pizza dough recipe. I also substituted a version of my favorite pizza sauce for the dipping sauce in the original recipe, or you could use a store bought pizza sauce (or eat the calzone with no sauce at all…it was delicious).
Prep Time (not including pizza dough): 20 minutes
Bake Time: 40 minutes
1 recipe pizza dough (or store bought pizza dough)
1 medium eggplant (about 3/4 lb.), sliced 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick
1 cup ricotta
1 cup grated mozzarella
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Pinch of dried oregano
Fresh basil, for garnish
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Drizzle some olive oil on a rimmed baking pan, and spread it out so it coats the pan evenly. Arrange the eggplant on the baking sheet in a single layer and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 10-20 minutes, flipping the eggplant about 3/4 of the way through the cooking time. It is done when it is golden brown, but not burnt.
2. Remove eggplant from the oven and allow to cool. (Leave the oven on!)
3. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the ricotta, mozzarella, and Parmesan, with a pinch each of oregano, salt, and pepper. Stir together to combine. Then add the eggplant and stir it in.
4. Roll the pizza dough out on a lightly floured surface to a 12-inch round (as if you are making a pizza). (Making two more medium sized calzones is also a good option.) Spread the cheese mixture down the center of the pizza dough in a vertical line. Pull the sides of the dough over the filling to meet in the center and pinch them together to seal the calzone.
5. In a small bowl beat the egg with a splash of water. Brush the egg wash all over the top and sides of the calzone.
6. Place the calzone on a parchment paper lined baking sheet, or a baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the calzone is puffed up and golden brown on top.
7. Cut into large slices to serve, and garnish with and few torn basil leaves. Serve with a simple pizza sauce for dipping.