Saturday, February 24, 2007

Calzone with tomato sauce

The production house I worked at in Hongkong some years back had made a TV commercial for mooncake (filled with sweet paste made from lotus seed, a festive food). A little talent, who was a 6 year-old boy, however, hated mooncakes! He tasted it, spitted out, ran to his mommy to cry. But no worry, everytime the camera started rolling, the boy automatically got himself ready... angel smile, chubby cheeks, and a giant bite on cake (over 10 takes), urging every parent in front of TV running to that bakery! My reality has no such a story. I baby-sit three kids on most Friday-afternoons, the 5 year-old lived on nothing but chicken nuggets, the 6 year-old just ate the crust (of my calzone), the 7 year-old just licked the sauce. Once I raised my camera, they all ran!

Calzone is more like pizza turnover, what filled inside has no limits but your imagination. I can take something from very rich (cheeses and sausage) to very simple, like this one - black olive and tomato sauce.

Recipe of basic tomato sauce

Ingredients (yield 3 cups)

  • 1 can 3kg peeled plum tomatoes in their own juice* (best to get San Marzano)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 carrot
  • 6 sweet basil leaves
  • 1 sprig of oregano
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • olive oil


  1. Seed the tomatoes, pass them through a food mill fitted with the fine disc, but don't puree them in a blender as that will change the texture.
  2. In a big pot, heat some olive oil, brown the 2 garlics and onion, add the tomatoes, carrot, basil and oregano. With the lid set slightly ajar simmer for 30 minutes or until thickened enough. Taste and season. Discard the garlics, carrot and the herbs.
  3. In a saucepan, heat 2 tablespoon oil, fry the minced garlic (1 clove) over very low heat. Once you smell the fragrance, pour the garlic oil into the sauce. Simmer for another 5 minutes.

* It will yield a light sauce. When I make sauce with meat, I'd prefer using canned tomato puree, in addition of spoonfuls of tomato paste, and simmer for a longer time, in this case I'll get a deeper flavored, smoother and denser sauce.

To make calzone, use any pizza dough's recipe you like. Stretch a circle, not too thick nor thin, place the filling on half of the circle, fold the other half over, crimp. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil on top. Bake in a pre-heat (30 minutes at least, with baking stone in) oven, 475F, until it golden brown. Serve immediately.



MyKitchenInHalfCups said...

What a funny story Gattina. Wonderful sauce I'd say.

Brilynn said...

I would gladly eat your calzones!

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

I'm sitting here writing recipes for calzones for my family cooking group (parents and kids ages 12-14) -- we're doing all kinds of fillings (it's a great way to hide vegetables). My own kids were crust-eaters, but the kids who come to cooking lessons here are much more adventurous!

Patricia Scarpin said...


I'd be glad to get all the calzones to myself!! I'd even buy some chicken nuggets in exchange. :)

Calzones are delicious, I love them!

Here in Sao Paulo - a place full of Italian descendants, myself included - pizza is everywhere.
And we say that calzones are "closed pizzas".

I'm off my kitchen now to make some pizza dough for our dinner tonight and those calzones will be on my mind, I can tell. :)

Anonymous said...

i got a laugh reading your story about what the kids will only eat! hmmm...calzones are delicious!

Susan from Food Blogga said...

Something's strange in the states of CA and NJ. We both posted about butternut squash and now calzones! Yours look downright gooey and finger-licking good! Loved the story! :)

FH said...

Look at that child digging in!!:D
I love Calzones,always buy it of course.Looks and sounds delicious.
My son used to eat just Chicken nuggets until recently,he has grown out of it now,thanks God!:)

Callipygia said...

Wonderful food styling- I never would have guessed that the kids don't want to just gobble it up. I do understand about the mooncake- I was so curious once that my girlfriend sent me a package of them- way too rich! By the way- Gung Hay Fat Choy, oink oink.

Melting Wok said...

hehe..not everyone loves chinese moon cakes isn't it not ? all the rich lotus, red bean paste..too filling perhaps. Boy, this calzones looks great, rest assured this I could eat every other day, mooncakes not ! Cheers !:)

Anonymous said...

Those kids are so lucky to be in your house, you're such a good cook!!! :)

Anonymous said...

Oh - too funny about the boy in the commercial.
Your calzones sound like they would taste delicious! I'd eat 'em ;)

Anh said...

Gattina, one day I will come over on Friday and eat all of your goodies, including these calzones. How about that? :D BTW, thanks for your advice on the egg pasta. Will keep that in mind. :)

And your basic pizza dough is to die for. I will write about it this some time soon ;)

Unknown said...

It's always a joy to read your posts, your humourous stories, beautiful photos and lovely kid models, never fail to lit up my day :)

Freya said...

It must be calzone week! My husband will be crying out for calzones if I let him see these delicious pictures!

The Culinary Chase said...

Great photography! Those calzones look scrumptious! Cheers! Heather

Burcu said...

Gattina, your calzones look perfect. Since I"m too lazy to make them, I'll show up at your place every Friday.

Anonymous said...

That's one lovely looking calzone! So glad to come upon your blog...such a rich trove of bread/pasta/pizza recipes! :) Beautiful pictures too :)

Anonymous said...

These are stunning! Got any leftovers for my lunch tomorrow? :D Pretty please?

Gattina Cheung said...

Tanna, thank you! When I'm not busy, I like to make my own tomato sauce :)

Brilynn, that's why I made two :D

Lydia, true, whenever I read cookbook or TV show with the purpose of learning something, I prefer something innovation and entirely new.
But for everyday meal, my family... and this group of kids, only like something basic.

Patricia, hahaa... you're a fantastic baker, I bet your pizzas (oh I love the name closed pizza!) for dinner must be a big hit!
Pizzerias is everywhere in my town too, but it doesn't stop the new ones come....

Eliza, thank you for the compliment!

Susan, I enjoy your story too!

Asha, my husband only likes pizza, so I actually don't do calzone often. For chicken nuggets, I think I like their sauce more :D

Callipygia, oh that's cute!
Not every Chinese care about mooncake either... but you don't like it rich? Don't believe you! Look at your sandwich, hehee.

Melting Wok... for "good" mooncake, i.e. old tradtional one made with lard, I think I can have a wedge everyday, hehee. But thanks for your sweet words :D

PutuPiring, yoooo-hoooooooo!

Kristen, thanks! Most of my meal is very basic just like this, carb + veg. But when I unleash myself, will go way over-board.

Anh, I'm so glad you love the recipe. As I said before, you (the chef) are the one to make it perfect, I know the credit should go to you :D
I'm think to visit my bro this summer *hint hint* but again, every summer I keep thinking but never put in action *lol*

Angie, thanks sweetie (hehee... ok, I raise the white flag, no more looooooong name game *lol*)

Freya, glad to see you start solid food :) :)

Heather, thanks for your compliment :D

Burcu, haha, you'r so sweet!

Joey, thanks for dropping by, and glad you like carb too!

Ellie darling, I won't let you eat left-over!

Anonymous said...

Your calzone looks delicious. I love biting in to these pies to discover the wonderful tastiness inside.

Sno said...

Hi Gattina, I am missing a recipe for a fried piece of dough which was stuffed with a mixture of ham and Mozzarella cheese, or onions cooked in a tomato sauce base with A pungent ricotta cheese wich I could only find in New York or Jersey City NJ...We called them Frietals, an old Italian recipe.......Does anyone know of this food or have a recipe for it......Thanks