Empanadas and calzones are very similar. One is Spanish in origin, the other Italian. The only real differences that I know of are the sizes and the type of dough that is used for each one. They both can be either sweet or savory, and you can fill them with anything you like. Empanadas tend to be a little smaller than calzones and are usually made with a dough that does not contain yeast, which makes them less doughy or bready and flakier. When I made these, I just didn’t feel like making a yeast dough for the calzones, so I made them with a my basic empanada dough instead. So … Are they calzanadas or empazones?
I made some pesto, cooked up a chicken breast, used up some leftover vegetables and added some mozzarella cheese to make these tasty calzanadas/empazones. Then I served them with a little additional pesto sauce on the side and a cool, crisp barrel aged chenin blanc to make for a perfect spring meal out on the deck.
Pesto Chicken and Vegetable Calzanadas
This time when I made my pesto, I used some toasted pepitas instead of pine nuts for my pesto sauce. Presto Pesto Chicken You can use any kind of vegetables you like. I used my leftover artichoke hearts, mushrooms, onions and then I added some grape tomatoes cut in half as well.
My Basic Dough
1 1/2 cups flour
6 TBSP cold butter, cubed
1 tsp salt
5-6 TBSP heavy whipping cream
Mix the flour, butter and salt in a food processor until everything is crumbly. Then add the egg and cream and continue to process until it forms into a dough ball. Wrap the dough ball in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before rolling out and using.
Cut the chicken into thin strips and cook in olive oil.
Cut the dough either in half or in quarters, depending on how large you want to make your calzones. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to about 1/4 ” in thickness, then spread the pesto sauce over the dough, leaving about 1″ around the edges.
Top with mozzarella cheese, then the vegetables, followed by the chicken, with more cheese on top.
Preheat the over to 375* F or about 185-190* C.
Carefully fold the dough over the filling and make a tight seal around the edges. Then crimp the edges to seal them even more. Once your pockets are made, make an egg wash and brush over the and around the calzone pockets.
Bake for about 45 minutes or until the dough is golden brown and done.
Now, mangia! Serve them with a little extra pesto on the side and a good, crisp white wine. Perfect.
Stay safe and stay well Everyone! ‘Til next time.