Broccoli Calzones

Broccoli Calzones

Broccoli Calzones

Oh. My. Gosh.   These are soooo good,  I did not want to stop eating them.  Do I have any regrets?   Yes, I wish I had made more to freeze.

Some calzones can be rather heavy because they are so loaded with filling that includes meat and cheeses, that after eating one, you’re done.  These, however, are lighter than that. The filling consists of chopped broccoli, ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese and mozzarella used in moderation.  A pizza dough makes the outside, holding all that great filling.  Served with warm tomato sauce, i.e., spaghetti or pizza sauce, and a side salad,  this is a delicious and satisfying meatless meal.


This recipe makes eight calzones that can be frozen before baking, so when you’re in the mood for one–or two–, just remove the quantity you want, and bake them frozen.  I made only half the recipe for a quantity of four calzones, and I’m regretting that I didn’t make the whole recipe.  It doesn’t take much extra time or effort to make more to freeze, and you’ll be so glad you did.  One of these would be great with a bowl of soup, or with a salad for a light meal.

Note:  the following recipe calls for frozen, chopped broccoli, but fresh broccoli may also be used.  Cut the broccoli into small florets and steam until tender before proceeding with the recipe.  The convenience of frozen store-bought pizza dough helps to speed up and simplify making this recipe, as does jarred tomato sauce.



Yield:   8 calzonesIMG_7356


  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 packages (10 oz.) chopped broccoli, thawed
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • red pepper flakes to taste
  • 2 ( 1 pound) packages frozen pizza dough, thawed
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese ( can use small curd cottage cheese instead)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella, or pizza blend cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • tomato sauce


1.   Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat.  Add onion and cook till soft ( 4-5 minutes).  Add broccoli, garlic, and red pepper flakes.  Cook 5-7 minutes till any liquid has evaporated and mixture is hot.  Set aside to cool.


2.  Preheat the oven to 400*F.  Prepare 2 baking sheets by lining with parchment paper.

3.  Divide each ball of dough into four ( 4) pieces.  On a lightly floured surface stretch each piece out.  First to a 3 x 4″ oval, then stretch again to 6 x 8″ oval.  Let dough rest as needed to relax before continuing to stretch it. Don’t worry if the ovals are not perfect, they almost never are.

Stretch dough pieces out into oval shapes.

Stretch dough pieces out into oval shapes.

4.  Stir cheeses into cooled broccoli mixture.  Season with salt and pepper.

Add cheeses to broccoli mixture.

Add cheeses to broccoli mixture.

5.  To assemble:  Spread about 1/2 cup broccoli mixture onto half of each dough piece.  Leave 1/2-inch border all around.  Fold over to form a semi-circle/ half moon.  Press edges to seal.  Cut two slits in the top of each one.


Fold dough over filing the press edges to seal.

Fold dough over filling then press edges to seal.


6.  Using a wide spatula or bench knife, transfer the calzones to the baking sheets.  Reshape as needed.


7.  Bake at 400*F for about 25 minutes, till golden brown.   Serve with warm sauce.


Serve with warm sauce.

Serve with warm sauce.


To freeze for later use:  Proceed through step #5 above, then tightly wrap each calzone in plastic wrap, freeze until firm.  Transfer to zip-lock bags; label and date.  Freeze up to 2 months.  To cook and serve, unwrap and place on parchment-lined baking sheet.  Bake without thawing until golden, 35 – 40 minutes.







Scaciatta, a Sicilian Family Heirloom

Scaciatta?  What’s that?  You are quite justified in asking that question, because unless you are of Sicilian heritage  or grew up in Middletown, Ct, you most likely are unfamiliar with this ethnic food.

I associate this food  with the city of Middletown as that is where I first knew of it, and where it was baked and served in many of the small family owned bakeries and restaurants.  In the early 1900’s four families from Sicily  settled in Middletown.  Thereafter, other families followed, and soon the population of Middletown was two thirds Italian American.   Scacciatas seem to have originated with those families.  So even though the exact origin of this dish is unclear I call it a family heirloom.  If you were to travel away from this locale,  not many people know what scaciatta ( ska-cha-ta) is.

Basically scaciatta can be likened to a stuffed pizza or calzone.  Essentially it is a pizza dough filled with all sorts of savory things like crumbled sausage, sauce, garlicy broccoli, spinach, potato, and mozzarella cheese. The combinations are many, but the primary ingredients in most are the sausage, sauce and cheese with the vegetables varied.

Everyone who loved this delicious Italian specialty, and depended on having it for Easter and Christmas Holidays have not been able to find it because so many of the well-known Middletown bakeries and restaurants are no longer in business. That was true up until recently, that is.  I discovered it again just last week.  Not too far from where I live is a farm market called Gotta’s Farm, where I stopped to buy some fresh vegetables.  As I entered the store an over powering aroma of something wonderful baking caught my attention.  There in the farm market bakery, scaiattas were just being taken from the oven. Warm, flaky and tender dough enveloping all those fantastic ingredients, and oozing with melted cheese.  Who could resist?  Certainly not me.  I bought several pieces to bring home.  Oh, heaven!  The lost is now found and folks from all over the area are finding their way to Gotta’s to savor once again the wonderful flavors of scaciatta.

Scaciatta with Spinach and Potato