Hot & Fresh–Calzones

What do you make when you have all the fixings for pizza but want something other than a standard pizza?

Calzones!  Fast, fresh, and easy.  Possibilities are endless.


Refrigerated pizza crust (I used Trader Joe’s whole wheat)
Sauce of your choice (pizza, pesto, salsa, etc.)
Fixings (meat, veggies, cheese)
Fresh herbs (basil, oregano)
Olive oil

1.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees; spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray.
2.  Roll out dough into 4 thin ovals/circles.
3.  Spread sauce, sprinkle herbs, add ingredients.
4.  Fold together ends to make a pocket; pinch ends together.
5.  Place on the cookie sheet.
6.  Cut a few slits/air vents in the calzone.
7.  Lightly brush the top of each calzone with olive oil.
8.  Bake for 15 minutes.

Sauce, basil, pepperoni, spinach, mushrooms, cheese

A little trick to add extra protein–I mixed a small amount of cottage cheese into the pizza sauce.


Hot out of the oven. Sauce, turkey, mushrooms, basil, spinach, cheese.

My dad makes tasty home-made pizza and focaccia bread and uses the Dei Fratelli pizza sauce.  I found it at my local grocery store, stocked up, and used it in the calzones.  Wow – this is fresh and flavorful sauce!  I’m going to be on the hunt for more of their products.

Best sauce!

And this cooking post wouldn’t be complete without a cameo from my favorite kitchen helper who was on high alert in front of the oven.

Kitchen helper

I hope you’ll try making calzones–these are certainly going to be added to my regular kitchen repertoire!

Pizza, Pizza

Temperatures in the 100s means I have not been cooking indoors–meals have been on the grill or straight out of the fridge (salads, sandwiches).  I did make an exception and bake a batch of chocolate chip cookies but thought I was going to pass out from how hot the kitchen was – and that’s with air conditioning!

Keeping the not-cooking streak alive, Quality Assurance Guy (QAG) and I went out for pizza during the week and decided to branch out a bit and try a new (to us) place.  I think we found our new favorite pizza restaurant!

Pizza Brutta in Madison is a very un-assuming restaurant from the outside.  It’s in the midst of a block full of stores and store-front restaurants/bars.  We walked in and were amazed–this place was packed on a weeknight.

Place your order

Everyone places their order and then sits down or waits for take-out.  The friendly staff bring you your order and check in with you once or twice during your meal.  People were milling about waiting for tables and booths to open up.

Fun decor in a lively restaurant

Pizza Brutta serves Neaopolitan Pizza–Neapolitan pizza is characterized by wood-fired ovens, dough’s made only with flour, water, sea salt and yeast, tomatoes grown on the volcanic soils of Mt. Visuvio, extra virgin olive oil, and fresh mozzarella. There are three basic Neapolitan Pizzas: the Margherita, (named in 1889 for its first fan Queen Margherita of Savoy), the Marinara which is simply garnished with tomatoes, garlic, oregano, and extra virgin olive oil, and the Bianca which is garlic, olive oil and fresh Rosemary. (Source)

The restaurant uses fresh ingredients, buys locally, and promotes sustainability in their practices and ingredients.

On to the pizza!  If you can’t find something you like on the Pizza Brutta menu, it’s your own fault!  You have your choice of Pizza Rosso (red sauce) or Pizza Bianco (olive oil and sea salt base).  I ordered the Marinara (crushed tomato, basil, oregano, garlic – no cheese) – delicious!  I did ask for extra basil to add post-oven – the pizza only came with those few little leaves in the center.

Pizza Marinara

QAG went with the Salami E Funghi (Crushed tomato, oregano, salami, kalamata olives, cremini mushrooms, fresh mozzarella)

Meat, olives, veggies

We will definitely be back to Pizza Brutta!  If you live in the Madison area or are in town for dinner, enjoy a hot, fresh, delicious pizza at Pizza Brutta!