Three Cheese Ham Calzones With Homemade Marinara Sauce

IMG_5895 (550x367) Growing up in Upstate New York, you can be sure I have a deep appreciation for Italian food. Pizza, pasta, breadsticks – we love it all. Calzones are another awesome option, and are surprisingly easy to make. Sergi and I had a creamy ricotta and ham filled calzone on one of our visits while we were out and about one day, and I knew I had to recreate it at home. Absolutely scrumptious.

I used the dough recipe from Cook’s Illustrated, my trusty source, and created the filling and marinara to my own taste. The crunchy and chewy crust pairs wonderfully with the creamy, cheesy filling. I added ham this time and kept it simple, but you can also add some steamed broccoli, pepperoni, mushrooms – the possibilities are endless. Serve with a homemade marinara sauce, and you will be transported to the great Italian American kitchens of our country. 

For the dough:

Combine the flour, yeast and salt in a large bowl. IMG_5802 (550x367) Using a standing mixer with a dough hook attachment, drizzle in the olive oil while mixing on low speed.

You can use either all purpose flour or bread flour. The crust will be much chewier if you use the bread flour.

Gradually pour in the warm water, also while the mixer is on low speed. Increase the speed and mix until a smooth and elastic dough forms. Knead for at least 5 more minutes.   IMG_5806 (550x367) Pour in 1 Tablespoon of olive oil into a bowl, coat the dough in the oil. IMG_5809 (550x367) Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place to rise until the dough doubles, approximately 1 1/2 – 2 hours. IMG_5830 (550x367) IMG_5846 (550x367)

For the Filling:

While the dough is rising, make the filling. Combine the cheese, egg yolk, and seasonings in a bowl. IMG_5841 (550x367) Mix to combine. IMG_5845 (550x367) Chop the ham and set aside.

For the marinara sauce:

You can make the marinara sauce while waiting for the dough to rise, or you can make it ahead of time, refrigerate and then simply reheat when serving with the calzones.

Pulse the tomatoes with the juice in a food processor to the consistency that you prefer. You can make it as chunky or smooth as you like.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet, add the onion, season with salt and cook for about 5-7 minutes on medium heat until the onion is soft and translucent. IMG_5812 (550x367) Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. IMG_5814 (550x367) Add the tomatoes to the skillet. IMG_5815 (550x367) Cook for about 20 minutes, on medium low heat, covered. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the fresh herbs. IMG_5823 (550x367) You will have approximately 4 cups of sauce. (This is usually more than you will need to serve with the calzones. Refrigerate the excess marinara sauce.) IMG_5906 (550x367)

To assemble:

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Brush 2 large half sheet pans (18×13 inches) with 1/2 Tablespoon olive oil each.

Divide the dough into 6 even pieces. IMG_5851 (550x367) Sprinkle the surface of the counter lightly with flour. Roll out each portion of dough into a 9 inch circle. IMG_5854 (550x358) Place about 1/2 cup of the cheese filling over half of the circle and spread it our evenly, leaving a 1/2 inch border. IMG_5856 (550x353) Sprinkle with ham. IMG_5860 (550x336) Fold the top of the dough over the filling and pinch the seams to seal the dough.

You can pinch the seams with a fork to seal or make a rope design by pulling the bottom of the dough over your index finger and pinching. IMG_5871 (550x367) Repeat with the rest of the dough.

You will have 6 calzones, 9 x 4 inches each.

Place on the prepared baking sheets. Make 3 slashes across the surface of each calzone with a sharp knife. Brush the calzones with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, garlic powder and dry Italian herbs. IMG_5868 (550x367) Bake for 12-14 minutes, cool on a wire rack, so that the calzones don’t become soggy. Serve with the marinara sauce. IMG_5887 (550x367) IMG_5895 (550x367)

Three Cheese Ham Calzone With Homemade Marinara Sauce
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Miscellaneous
Serves: 6 calzones
Ingredients
Dough:
  • 4 cups flour, all purpose or bread flour plus additional for dusting work surface
  • 2¼ teaspoons yeast (1 envelope)
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1 Tablespoon to coat the bowl and 1 Tablespoon for the baking sheets
  • 1½ cups warm water (105-110 degrees)
Filling:
  • 1 container ricotta cheese (15 oz, approximately 2 cups)
  • 1½ cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 10 oz. chopped ham (1½ -2 cups)
  • Olive oil, salt, garlic powder and Italian herbs - to brush and sprinkle the calzones
Marinara:
  • 2 (28 oz) cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • salt, pepper, to taste
  • 1½ Tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • ½ Tablespoon fresh thyme and fresh basil, chopped
Instructions
For the dough:
  1. Combine the flour, yeast and salt in a large bowl.
  2. Using a standing mixer with a dough hook attachment, drizzle in the olive oil while mixing on low speed. You can use either all purpose flour or bread flour. The crust will be much chewier if you use the bread flour.
  3. Gradually pour in the warm water, also while the mixer is on low speed. Increase the speed and mix until a smooth and elastic dough forms. Knead for at least 5 more minutes.
  4. Pour in 1 Tablespoon of olive oil into a bowl, coat the dough in the oil, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place to rise until the dough doubles, approximately 1½ - 2 hours.
For the Filling:
  1. While the dough is rising, make the filling. Combine the cheese, egg yolk, and seasonings in a bowl. Mix to combine.
  2. Chop the ham and set aside.
For the marinara sauce:
  1. You can make the marinara sauce while waiting for the dough to rise, or you can make it ahead of time, refrigerate and then simply reheat when serving with the calzones.
  2. Pulse the tomatoes with the juice in a food processor to the consistency that you prefer. You can make it as chunky or smooth as you like.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet, add the onion, season with salt and cook for about 5-7 minutes on medium heat until the onion is soft and translucent.
  4. Add the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds.
  5. Add the tomatoes to the skillet. Cook for about 20 minutes, on medium low heat, covered. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the fresh herbs. You will have approximately 4 cups of sauce. (This is usually more than you will need to serve with the calzones. Refrigerate the excess marinara sauce.)
To assemble:
  1. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Brush 2 large half sheet pans (18x13 inches) with ½ Tablespoon olive oil each.
  2. Divide the dough into 6 even pieces.
  3. Sprinkle the surface of the counter lightly with flour. Roll out each portion of dough into a 9 inch circle.
  4. Place about ½ cup of the cheese filling over half of the circle and spread it out evenly, leaving a ½ inch border.
  5. Sprinkle with ham.
  6. Fold the top of the dough over the filling and pinch the seams to seal the dough. You can pinch the seams with a fork to seal or make a rope design by pulling the bottom of the dough over your index finger and pinching.
  7. Repeat with the rest of the dough. You will have 6 calzones, 9 x 4 inches each.
  8. Place on the prepared baking sheets. Make 3 slashes across the surface of each calzone with a sharp knife.
  9. Brush the calzones with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, garlic powder and dry Italian herbs.
  10. Bake for 12-14 minutes, until golden brown.
  11. Cool on a wire rack, so that the calzones don't become soggy. Serve with the marinara sauce.

 
Signature

Related posts:

Comments

  1. Lesia Lapiuk says

    Hi Olga,
    Thank you so much for your site. I just love it! Nice Ukrainian and Russian recipes with fantastic instructions and pictures. My background is Ukrainian and I enjoy all these foods. Searching the web was frustrating because most of the recipes are in Russian. I do not read Ukrainian and when I came across your site, I was overjoyed.

    Praise the Lord that you are doing this good deed. Keep it up, and God bless you.

  2. Luda says

    Hi Olga! thank you soo much for this recipe :) as soon as i saw it i knew i had to make it….and it turned out GREAT!!!! so Delicious thanks for your blog and God Bless!!

  3. Natka says

    What do you recommend I use instead of the ham ? (we don’t eat pork products). Turkey deli meat? Any suggestions would be appreciated! Love your site :)

    • says

      Hi Natka! What do you usually use instead of ham in other recipes? I’m sure you could use any kind of other deli – turkey, chicken, beef, etc. You don’t even need to use any meat at all. You can add cooked chicken with broccoli, or peppers, mushroooms, etc.

  4. Anna says

    Hi, I just love all of your incredible recipes! I can’t wait to try this one out! I just have one quick question: could you be a little more specific on how to make the rope design? I’m not sure I understand completely.

    • says

      Thanks, Anna!
      It’s kind of hard to explain but I’ll try my best. Start by pinching the edge of the dough. If you’re right handed, place your left thumb underneath it, and the left index finger on top halfway where you pinched it, and using your right hand, take the other half of the dough that you pinched and fold it over with your index finger and thumb over the left index finger and pinch. Continue until you get all the way around. I hope that’s not too confusing. You’ll get the hang of it, once you start doing it. The good thing is that you can redo it if you mess up. You can also pinch the seams together using a fork.

  5. Oksana says

    Hey Olya, did you use all-purpose flour or bread flour? Also, wondering if I could cut this recipe in half?

    • says

      I used all purpose flour. Yep, you can cut the recipe in half, but the calzones reheat really well, so if you have leftovers, it’s not a bad thing:).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>