Sunday, February 1, 2009

Calzone Round-Up and February's Challenge!

Welcome to the first Megan's Challenge round-up!

January's challenge was Tyler's Three Cheese Spinach Calzones, which were a big hit. The recipe was lots of fun to play with and everyone put their own spin on their creations.

Megan of My Baking Adventures premiered the calzones for us, making two different kinds for her family. She loved how versatile and easy the recipe was and will definitely make them again.

Andrea of Nummy Kitchen used mushrooms and frozen spinach in her calzones, as well as spicing up the tops with herbs and Parmesan - what a great idea! I love the face she made out of this one, how cute is that!

Kristin of locallcfoods just got back from Disney and made three different versions of the calzones. She loved that she could play around with the recipe - she is just looking for the perfect combo to please her family.

Deb of Kahakai Kitchen made a heart-healthy version of her calzones with whole wheat and flax seeds. She cleverly disguised all that healthiness with mushrooms, extra garlic and hot pepper flakes.

I went the opposite way and added bacon to mine, to lure in my teenage sons. On my site, Living in the Kitchen with Puppies, I served the calzones with tostones - just for fun.

Lots of fun variations on January's theme! Makes you wonder what....
February's theme will be!
February's Challenge
Potato Gnocchi with Peas, Prosciutto and Ricotta
Potato gnocchi:
2 pounds (about 4) russet potatoes, or similar starchy/white variety
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 egg white
1 to 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups frozen peas, thawed
1/4 pound prosciutto
1 large shallot, finely diced
Extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon butter
Grated Parmesan
2 cups Lemon Ricotta, recipe follows

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Scrub potatoes, pierce the skin with a fork, drizzle with olive oil and salt and place on a sheet pan. Place the sheet pan in the oven and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour until they are easily pierced with a pairing knife. Allow the potatoes to cool slightly then peel the potatoes while they are still hot and press them through a potato ricer. Put the potatoes in a large bowl with salt, nutmeg, baking powder, grated cheese and egg white. Add the flour a little at a time and mix with your hands until the mixture forms a rough dough. Do not over-work the dough. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface. Gently knead the dough for 1 or 2 minutes until smooth, adding a little bit more flour, if necessary, to keep it from sticking.
Break off a piece of the dough and roll it back and forth into a rope, about the thickness of your index finger. Cut the rope into 1-inch pieces. Gently roll each piece down the prongs of a fork while pressing a small dimple with your finger in the back. The gnocchi should be slightly curved and marked with ridges. This will allow the pillows to hold sauce when served. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 12 hours.
Boil the gnocchi in batches in plenty of salted water. The gnocchi are done about 2 minutes after they float to the surface, remove with a slotted spoon. Reserve about 1/2 cup cooking water. If not cooking immediately, place the gnocchi in a single layer on a baking pan dusted with flour.
If the gnocchi start to feather and fall apart in boiling water, you need more flour. If the gnocchi don't float after 2 minutes and are hard, you used too much flour.
Blanch peas in hot water and set aside.
Place 4 strips of prosciutto on a sheet pan and place in a preheated 350 degree F oven. Cook until the bacon is crispy, 8 to 10 minutes.
Add chopped shallots to a pan over medium high heat with 2 counts of olive oil pan of and gently saute until fragrant and translucent. Dump in the peas and toss gently to coat. Season with a little salt and pepper. Add boiled gnocchi to the pan and gently toss. Add a ladle of gnocchi water to the pan, add 1 tablespoon of butter, sprinkle with Parmesan and season with salt and pepper. Serve topped with crispy prosciutto and a scoop of fresh lemon ricotta. (Optional: finish with a drizzle of white truffle oil)
Lemon Ricotta:
2 cups good quality ricotta cheese
1 lemon, zested and juiced
Place the ricotta cheese in a mixing bowl and add the lemon zest and juice. Season with salt and serve with the gnocchi.
Yield: 4 to 6 servings

As with the last challenge, feel free to play with the recipe and have fun with it!
Round-up will be at the beginning of March, post at any time during the month, and submit your Megan's Challenge post to us the same way you submit your weekly TFF posts.
Below is a reminder of the weekly submission guidelines. For those of you who haven't read them in a while, they have been updated.
Here are a few guidelines for participation.
1. Make a dish from one of Tyler Florence’s cookbooks or online recipes. List the book if you are cooking from one of his books, or, if using an online recipe - link to that.
2. Link to Tyler Florence Fridays in your post.
3. Send us an email to by 3pm-Eastern Standard Time on Friday and include the following:

The post’s permalink
Your name, the dish that you made
Your blog name and a link to your blog
A medium sized picture (300x400 or smaller) so we can include it in the round up on Friday
Please put “TFF” in the subject line so we can avoid spam

4. We would love to read in your post any changes that you made and how you enjoyed the recipe. This is a great opportunity for all of us to discover his recipes!
5. You may post earlier than Friday if you wish.
6. Please let us know if you would like to be listed in the blogroll.


Debinhawaii said...

Great round up and another fun pick for the next challenge. I have never made gnocchi before--this will be another first for me.

Kristin said...

I am excited to make the gnocchi as I have never made them either. Thanks you you all for expanding my horizons! I am still thinking of how I am going to make the calzones the next time; and so is my husband- he was giving me suggestions this afternoon!

Snooky doodle said...

the calzone looks so good! Im hungry now. It so funny with the eyes and mouth :)