I was sitting at the airport, reading a magazine and the words, "BUFFALO CHICKEN CALZONE" literally jumped off of the page. Buffalo Chicken. Cheese. Calzone. Come on! I knew I had to tweak it and make it my own, so I dreamed buffalo chicken & cheesy dreams and planned, "What would take this to the next level..." Here it is y'all! Doty's Buffalo Chicken Calzones!
We packed up our stuff, gathered some friends and headed off to one of Lucas' favorite kitchens. I mean...you'll see why in the following photos. Recipe is at the end- but tips and tricks are throughout.
Start by shredding the rotisserie chicken. Friends helping obviously make the task more fun! If you get an extra chicken (because why not?!) you can always make a little extra Buffalo Sauce for left overs. Think: Buffalo Chicken Tacos, Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches, Buffalo Chicken Salad...literally, throw buffalo chicken on anything and call it a meal.
Cut up your celery (if you're using it) and prep everything in bowls for easy access. Not in the recipe, but when I use Ricotta in meals like this or Lasagna or stuffed shells, I always add a little bit of chopped garlic, salt and pepper. Garlic can never hurt, right?!
While you're prepping, take a 16 oz. container of sour cream or greek yogurt and mix it with your Ranch Dip Mix packet. This makes the best ranch flavored dip for your calzones. It also doesn't hurt to dip some celery in while cooking!
I definitely recommend buying pizza dough from the deli of your grocery store (Trader Joe's is my favorite). If you do this, let the dough come to room temperature by leaving it on your counter for a couple hours covered by a dish cloth. I waited until the last minute for grocery shopping and had no luck finding fresh dough, so poor Lucas had the job of making it. This was also Baby Lucas' first time with the mixer...not too sure how he feels about that machine!
Megan was a champ and rolled out all the dough- but you always have to try new techniques, when rolling gets daunting! (Where is my laughing cry face emoji?!) Before rolling, cut the dough in halves or fourths depending on the size you want to make the calzones. If you make them small, you may have to keep an eye on cooking time! When rolling, I use a little bit of cornmeal to dust the counter. You can definitely use flour, but the grain is just a little bigger with cornmeal, which helps get the pizza dough on and off the peel.
I like to assemble pizzas or calzones on the actually peel (dusted first with cornmeal). If you do not have one of these at home, but plan on making lots of pizzas/calzones...get one. Life. Saver. I just can never figure out where to store it?!
Mix the buffalo sauce with the shredded chicken. Added bonus- dip a few pieces in the ranch dip for a quick snack, you know you want to! Layer buffalo chicken, mozzarella cheese and 5 or so dollops of ricotta. Add any additional toppings you want to use- I love celery (it doesn't get mushy, don't worry) & the boys love blue cheese!
Fold the dough over to make that classic calzone shape. Seal the edges by brushing a little egg wash between the seal and crimping the dough with fork tongs. Cut a few vents in the top of the dough with a sharp knife and brush the top with egg wash. Then into a preheated 425° oven. I like to put pizza/calzones on a preheated pizza stone- it allows the bottom to be nice and crispy! This is why a pizza peel is so handy, just slide the calzone right onto the stone in the oven!
Bake in the oven for about 15-20 minutes- or until the crust is golden brown and the insides are nice and bubbly! Carefully slide the calzone out of the oven- serve and enjoy!
We served the calzones with a side of Caesar salad. You could also cut up some celery stocks and carrots to add some dipping veggies to the plate!