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Meatless Monday recipe of the week: Spinach, Fennel and Three-Cheese Calzones


Warm pizza dough filled with three types of cheese and a surprising veggie punch? Yes, please.

This recipe uses fun spring veggies — spinach and fennel — to create a dish so hearty even your household’s most carnivorous eater won’t object. Serve with a Italian-dressing topped salad and you’ve got yourself a meal.

Even better: It's a nice warm meal on a day where there's snow on the ground and an ice-cold void where college basketball had been 24 hours before. Time for some comfort food!

Spinach, Fennel and Three-Cheese Calzones

1/2 cup (2 ounces) dried tomatoes

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 1/2 cups chopped onion

1 bulb fresh fennel, thinly sliced and chopped

1 tablespoon minced garlic

10 ounces fresh spinach leaves, cleaned, stemmed, and coarsely chopped

2 tablespoons chopped fennel leaves

8 ounces provolone, shredded (2 1/2 cups)

1/2 cup ricotta

1/2 cup shredded parmesan


2 six-ounce packages pizza crust mix

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

1 egg, mixed with 1 tablespoon water

To make filling: Soak tomatoes in a little hot water for 20 minutes. Heat oil in a large skillet; add chopped fennel, onions, and garlic. Cook over medium heat 10 minutes, stirring often. Drain the tomato-water into skillet, raise heat and boil until liquid is syrupy. Add spinach and chopped fennel leaves; cook, stirring often, until liquid is evaporated. Cool the mixture. Chop the drained tomatoes. Stir tomatoes, provolone, ricotta and Parmesan into the spinach mixture. Season with pepper to taste.

To fill calzones: Heat oven to 450 degrees (with baking stone inside, if using.) Sprinkle a wooden pizza paddle with cornmeal or grease a large baking sheet. Combine crust mix, basil, and 1 cup very warm water; beat 1/2 minute. Cover bowl; let stand on stovetop 5 minutes. Turn dough onto floured surface, roll it lightly in the flour; divide into 4 balls. Roll each ball into a 7-inch circle, place a quarter of the filling in center, and brush egg-water mixture around edges. Fold dough over filling; crimp or roll edges to form a tight seal.

To bake: Place calzones on paddle or baking sheet; brush tops with egg mixture. (If using baking stone, slide calzones from paddle to hot stone.) Bake 25 minutes. Let stand 5 minutes and then serve them up.

— Recipe from Terese Allen for www.organicvalley.coop.


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