The Calzone: A Tasty Blend of Italian and American Cuisine

The calzone is a delicious Italian-American creation that has been enjoyed by many for decades. This savory dish is essentially a pizza folded in half to create a pocket filled with various ingredients such as cheese, meat, vegetables, and sauce. The calzone originated in Naples, Italy and was brought over to the United States by Italian immigrants in the early 1900s.

Today, the calzone is a popular menu item at many pizzerias and Italian restaurants across the country. While the traditional calzone typically features ingredients such as ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, and ham or sausage, many variations have emerged over the years. Some restaurants offer vegetarian options with spinach, mushrooms, and other vegetables, while others have experimented with unique ingredients such as barbecue chicken or buffalo sauce.

Despite its simplicity, the calzone has become a beloved staple in Italian-American cuisine. Whether enjoyed as a quick lunch or a hearty dinner, the calzone offers a delicious and convenient way to enjoy all the flavors of a pizza in a convenient, handheld package. In this article, we will explore the history of the calzone, its various ingredients and flavors, and how to make your own delicious calzone at home.


The History of Calzone

Origins and Etymology

The calzone, a folded pizza that resembles a turnover, originated in Naples, Italy. The name “calzone” comes from the Italian word “calzoni,” which means “trousers.” The dish was named after its resemblance to a folded pair of pants. Calzones were traditionally filled with ricotta, mozzarella, and other ingredients such as salami, ham, and vegetables.


Evolution in Italy and America

In Italy, calzones are still a popular food item and can be found in pizzerias and bakeries. However, in the United States, calzones have evolved to include a wider variety of fillings such as chicken, meatballs, and even dessert fillings like Nutella and fruit.

The calzone gained popularity in the United States in the 1950s and 1960s as Italian immigrants brought their culinary traditions to the country. The dish quickly became a favorite of Italian-American communities and can now be found on menus across the country.

Today, calzones are often served with a side of marinara sauce for dipping and can be enjoyed as a meal or a snack. They are a delicious and convenient way to enjoy the flavors of pizza in a portable package.


Calzone Variations

Calzones have become a popular Italian-American dish that has been enjoyed for many years. There are many variations of the calzone, each with its own unique twist on the traditional recipe. Here are a few popular calzone variations:


Traditional Ingredients

The traditional calzone is made with pizza dough that is folded over and filled with ricotta cheese, mozzarella cheese, and various meats such as ham, salami, and pepperoni. Some traditional recipes also include vegetables such as mushrooms, onions, and peppers. The calzone is then baked until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is melted.


Regional Variations

There are many regional variations of the calzone, each with its own unique ingredients and cooking techniques. In Naples, for example, calzones are often made with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, and anchovies. In Sicily, calzones are often made with eggplant and ricotta cheese. In the United States, calzones are often made with a variety of ingredients, including sausage, spinach, and artichokes.


Modern Interpretations

Modern interpretations of the calzone have taken the traditional recipe to the next level. Some modern calzones are made with unique ingredients such as goat cheese, figs, and prosciutto. Others are made with non-traditional crusts such as cauliflower or gluten-free dough. Some restaurants even offer dessert calzones filled with Nutella, bananas, and strawberries.

Overall, the calzone is a delicious Italian-American creation that has stood the test of time. Whether you prefer a traditional calzone or a modern interpretation, there is a calzone out there for everyone to enjoy.


How to Make Calzone

Dough Preparation

The first step in making a calzone is to prepare the dough. To make the dough, mix together flour, yeast, salt, sugar, and olive oil in a large mixing bowl. Slowly add warm water to the mixture and knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic. Cover the dough with a damp cloth and let it rise for about an hour.


Filling and Toppings

While the dough is rising, prepare the filling and toppings for the calzone. The filling can consist of any combination of meats, vegetables, and cheeses that you desire. Popular choices include pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms, onions, and mozzarella cheese. Chop the toppings into small pieces and set them aside.

Once the dough has risen, divide it into equal portions and roll each portion out into a circle on a floured surface. Place the toppings on one half of the dough circle, leaving a small border around the edge. Fold the other half of the dough over the toppings and press the edges together to seal the calzone.


Cooking Techniques

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the calzone on a baking sheet and brush the top with olive oil. Bake the calzone for 15-20 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is melted. Remove the calzone from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes before slicing and serving.

Alternatively, you can cook the calzone on a pizza stone or in a cast iron skillet on the stovetop. To cook on the stovetop, heat the skillet over medium-high heat and place the calzone in the skillet. Cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until the crust is crispy and golden brown.


Serving Suggestions


Calzones are a versatile dish that can be served with a variety of accompaniments. Here are a few suggestions:

  • Marinara sauce: A classic pairing that complements the flavors of the calzone.
  • Pesto sauce: Another Italian favorite that adds a fresh, herbaceous note to the dish.
  • Garlic bread: A popular side dish that pairs well with the savory flavors of the calzone.
  • Green salad: A light and refreshing accompaniment that can help balance out the richness of the calzone.


Beverage Pairings

Choosing the right beverage to pair with your calzone can enhance the overall dining experience. Here are a few options:

Beverage Notes
Red wine A bold red wine, such as Chianti or Cabernet Sauvignon, can complement the rich flavors of the calzone.
Beer A cold beer, such as a lager or pilsner, can help cut through the richness of the calzone.
Iced tea A refreshing iced tea can be a great non-alcoholic option to pair with your calzone.

Ultimately, the best accompaniments and beverage pairings will depend on personal taste preferences. Experiment with different options to find your perfect combination!



The Calzone is a delicious Italian-American creation that has become a popular food item in many parts of the world. Its unique shape and filling options make it a versatile dish that can be enjoyed as a snack or a meal.

While its origins are disputed, one thing is certain – the Calzone has become a staple in Italian-American cuisine and has gained a following among food enthusiasts everywhere. Its popularity has led to many variations and adaptations, with different regions and cultures adding their own twists to the classic recipe.

Whether you prefer a traditional Calzone with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, and pepperoni, or a more unconventional filling like spinach and ricotta, there’s no denying that this dish is a crowd-pleaser. It’s perfect for a quick lunch, a party snack, or a casual dinner with friends and family.

So next time you’re looking for something delicious and satisfying to eat, consider trying a Calzone. With its crispy crust, gooey cheese, and flavorful fillings, it’s sure to be a hit.