Sunday, 6 May 2012
Delicious Pizza di Cipolle (Calzone di Cipolla Barese)
If she had been making my calzone, Pizza di Cipolle, today, the amount would have served 25! My mum's calzone (Pizza di Cipolle) was usually made in a very large black baking tray, which was hired from the local bakery. It needed to be very big, as my mum was in the habit of making this delicious pie for the whole extended family!
When the calzone was made, she would phone the bakery and someone would collect the masterpiece, and take it to the shop, to be baked and then bring it back, when it was cooked. Our oven was just an ordinary one, the kind people have when they live in cities... certainly not big enough for a BFG sized pie!
As her family got smaller, the pies got smaller, too, but the taste... oh, so delicious never diminished!
In Springtime, my mum would sometimes buy these enormous, really long (about 80 or so cm, leeks... so long I was scared of them!) and would use them for the filling. She then started using ordinary onions, which I actually prefer.
The dough she made was crunchy, tasted like fresh bread and home.
My home tastes like "home" today, as I made my very own Calzone (I call it: Pizza di Cipolle.) I used ordinary onions plus two or three leeks, as I like the green colour!
I want to share the recipe with you. My sisters have found new and wonderful ways to make the dough. I remember how my mum made her dough, as I was always there, watching the MASTER and I really don't care about using machines or new techniques. It's all made by hand, and I follow, step by step, my mum's way of doing it.
When the dough was made, she cut a cross on the top, and dusted with flour. I think she thought this was something to do with God helping your dough raise, as she would also make a cross with her hand, above the dough.
My mum always said that bread is precious. It should never be thrown away and that, like water, it should always be shared with those in need. Bless her!
And now... here is my mum's recipe:
Calzone (Pizza) di Cipolle
(Can serve up to 8)
For the dough:
600g (1 lb, 3oz) plain flour
(or 00 flour)
1 punnet live yeast
(or 1 sachet dried yeast)
1/4 glass olive oil
For the onion filling:
2lb, 6 oz)
(or a mix of leeks and onions)
4 small tomatoes
1 glass milk
(I use Pecorino)
(pitted and sliced)
olive oil for the baking tray
I love onions. They look beautiful and taste fantastic! For my recipe, today, I bought onions and three shiny, bright green leeks, because I thought they would add coulor and a different texture to my dish.
I cleaned the onions (If you cut the bottom part, with the roots, off, you won't cry!) and sliced each one thinly, by hand. I then washed my leeks and sliced vertically and then horizontally. I discarded the long leafy dark green bits, as they tend to be hard and are not really edible (you can use those in leek and potato soup, though! Delicious!)
I placed my vegetables, the oil, my tomatoes, halved, and the milk, in my lovely non stick pan and cooked, until the onions went a translucent golden shade of caramel, then added cheese, salt, lots of black pepper and finelly an egg. I mixed with a spatula, until the egg was well blended and cooked. The calzone filling was then placed outside, to cool down.
I made this very simply... just the way my mum used to. She didn't weigh the ingredients, really. Neither do I, but this time I did, just for the purpose of writing the recipe.
Anyway: I put my flour onto a board, made a well in the centre and put my yeast, some warm water, acouple of pinches of salt and some olive oil, in it and made a dough , using just my hands. It didn't take long. At some point, I decided to add more water, as the dough felt a bit hard.
After kneading the dough for five or so minutes, I rolled it into a ball, then cut a cross in the middle of it, dusted with flour and placed in a warm place, till it almost doubled up in size.
Forty minutes later...
My dough was ready to be used. I decided to make my calzone in this lovely paella dish I have, as I knew that it would cook better in a metal tin. I cut the dough into two pieces, I rolled one out and placed in the tin, which I had generously oiled.
Next, I put the onions over the dough and spread evenly. This was followed by: my handful of delicious olives ( sliced and pitted) the bacon (I also used some guanciale-a type of pancetta) previously fried in a little oil (I know... it's not a dish for the faint hearted, but it is traditional and I will respect that!) followed by lots of grated Pecorino cheeese and black pepper, which I love!
I put a lid on my pie, made holes in it, with a fork, glazed with olive oil and baked until golden and cooked (check top and bottom to see if it's ready!) in my lovely oven at a temperature of 190C (375F, Gas 5.)
With some of the left over dough, I made just a few small pizzelle ( fried pizzas) by making the dough into small balls, rolling each one out and then frying in olive oil.
I made a topping for them, by placing some tinned tomatoes a small amount of olive oil and lots of grated cheese and black pepper in a pan and reducing, over the heat. The sauce was then spread over the top of my fried pizzelle. No origano, please... it's a big NO No in Italian cookery, believe it or not!
I just added some fresh basil and a selection of leaves with olives, to mine. Lots of cheese and black pepper made them delicious!