The filling for these Chicken and Basil Calzones is a combination of cooked crumbles of chicken, a couple cloves worth of minced garlic, pizza sauce, a pinch of crushed red pepper for kick and chopped fresh basil. Be sure to hold back on adding the basil to this mixture until you remove the saucy filling from the heat so you keep that freshness alive.
Rather than stretching out our favorite whole-wheat pizza dough into a scruffy circle, we quartered it to create individual servings for these calzones. Each quarter is stretched out to a rectangle with a layer of the sauced chicken and a sprinkling of mozzarella cheese on top. The calzones are enclosed by stretching half of the dough back over the top, then pinching the seams together to keep all the filling inside.
I used the 12 ounce version of our dough as we like thinner crusts, but if you want a calzone that is a little heftier, upgrade to the 16 ounce version. Before sliding them onto the pizza stone, I sliced a couple slits on top of each to prevent any blowouts as the assembled calzones were stuffed pretty full. Baked until golden and the filling was hot and bubbly, be sure to let them cool off for at least a few minutes before digging in.
Upon taking a big first bite, I found the freshness the basil brought to these was bouncing all around my mouth - while it was quite prominent, neither of us found it overpowering. Being just saucy enough to keep them moist, but not so much they were dripping, we were easily able to eat these out of hand without making a complete mess. Which, I think, would make these a fantastic choice for an on-the-go lunch! If you don't fancy chicken, ground sirloin or even those convenient soy crumbles would be fine as substitutions!
Chicken and Basil Calzones