DIY Herb Centerpiece & Pesto Calzones

DIY Herb Centerpiece & Pesto Calzones

Spring is on it’s way! We are so excited for the sun to be coming out and everything to start turning green again that we decided to bring a little green inside too.

Living in Oregon, we have managed to sneak by this year with an unseasonably warm winter for the most part. The grass and trees are starting to peek out of their wintery covers. But this happens frequently in early spring here and is almost always followed by a huge dumping of snow…right on top of the new daffodils!

To curb my antsy planting urges I pulled together a beautiful herb centerpiece and window box. It’s easy to start your own plants at home or your grocery store often has live herbs for sale as well.

DIY Herb Centerpiece & Pesto Calzones

I started with oregano:

DIY Herb Centerpiece & Pesto Calzones

spearmint:

DIY Herb Centerpiece & Pesto Calzones

some basil I allowed to root in water for several weeks:

DIY Herb Centerpiece & Pesto Calzones

and some green onions I had also allowed to root for about a week:

DIY Herb Centerpiece & Pesto Calzones

I found a beautiful metal container at the antique store that was just the right size. Then I gathered a small bowl of rocks from our driveway and some potting soil. I lined the bottom of my container with about 1 inch of rocks to help allow the roots a bit of breathing room (just in case someone in the house were to accidentally over-water the plant).

DIY Herb Centerpiece & Pesto Calzones

And added the plants one by one.

DIY Herb Centerpiece & Pesto Calzones

Adding the soil around the roots and gently patting it to lightly compress the soil.

DIY Herb Centerpiece & Pesto Calzones

Beautiful. It’s a perfect addition to any party table and then makes a lovely window box for your kitchen!

DIY Herb Centerpiece & Pesto Calzones

The smell of basil is intoxicating and I knew something with pesto was in order. I’ve spent the last couple years working on various homemade pizza crust recipes and decided that some pesto calzones would be perfect!

DIY Herb Centerpiece & Pesto Calzones

The trouble I have always had with pizza crust made at home is that it is hard to get it light and crispy. Thick bread-like pizza crust is good but not ideal.

This is our families new go to crust recipe. It’s so good!

To start off mix 1 1/2 teaspoons of active dry yeast (not rapid rise or instant), 2 cups of warm water, 1 teaspoon of honey, 1/4 cup of unbleached white flour and 1/4 cup rye flour in a KitchenAid® Stand Mixer.

DIY Herb Centerpiece & Pesto Calzones

Adding the rye flour is a trick I learned from one of Alice Water’s cookbooks. You can do without it but if you can find rye flour it really does make a difference.

DIY Herb Centerpiece & Pesto Calzones

Mix briefly to incorporate the ingredients then let rest for 5-10 minutes until it is bubbly.

Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, 2 teaspoons salt, and 4 cups of unbleached white flour.

DIY Herb Centerpiece & Pesto Calzones

Knead with the dough hook until the dough no longer looks super oily and pulls away from sides of the bowl (2-3 minutes). It may still stick to the bottom but that’s okay.

DIY Herb Centerpiece & Pesto Calzones

Dust the surface of your counter with flour and pour dough out on table.

DIY Herb Centerpiece & Pesto Calzones

Knead the dough until smooth and elastic (about 4 minutes). This is Noah’s favorite part.

Cover tightly and allow to rise until doubled (1-2 hours depending on warmth of your house).

DIY Herb Centerpiece & Pesto Calzones

After the dough has risen you can either use it immediately or chill it in the fridge until cool. The dough is easiest to work with after it has rested all night long, but I have used it right away without a problem. If it is not chilled you will need to use more flour for it not to stick to everything.

To get started turn up your oven as hot as it will go. For me that was 550 degrees but yours may be lower or slightly higher. Just scale back a few minutes if yours is substantially hotter. Also, if you have a pizza stone be sure to pop it in the oven to preheat about 30 minutes before you are ready to bake.

Let’s get started!

There is nothing worse to me than a thick calzone with lots of dough and hardly any filling. So I like to use my KitchenAid® Pasta Roller to get the dough super thin.

Start with the roller set at the widest setting (back behind the #1 setting) and be sure to thoroughly flour each piece of dough so it doesn’t stick.

DIY Herb Centerpiece & Pesto Calzones

Roll it through several times at each setting, adding more flour if needed. I usually start at wide open, then go to #1 and finally go down to the #2 setting. Be sure to rotate the dough so it stays relatively round.

DIY Herb Centerpiece & Pesto Calzones

Lay down the dough on a cornmeal covered surface and fill with pesto, cheese, chicken, mushrooms, and green bell pepper (or whatever you love).

DIY Herb Centerpiece & Pesto Calzones

I’m obsessed with putting spinach in everything so I tucked a couple leaves in each calzone.

DIY Herb Centerpiece & Pesto Calzones

Fold over the top and twist the edges like a twisted rope. Cut a steam vent carefully in the top with a sharp knife.

DIY Herb Centerpiece & Pesto Calzones

Brush the top with olive oil or melted butter so they will get that lovely browned color on top.

And bake for 8 minutes in the smoking hot oven.

DIY Herb Centerpiece & Pesto Calzones

Both kids and adults will love these. They are easier to eat with by hand for the little guys than a slice of pizza. I’m always finding them sneaking one when I’m not looking.

DIY Herb Centerpiece & Pesto Calzones

Enjoy!

Perfect Pizza & Calzone Dough

Makes two 10-inch pizzas or 12 mini calzones

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast (not rapid rise or instant)
2 cups warm water (100-110 degrees)
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 cup rye flour
1/4 cup unbleached all purpose white flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
4 cups unbleached all purpose white flour plus more for kneading
Cornmeal (for dusting)
Olive oil (for basting tops to brown)

DIRECTIONS

Mix yeast, warm water, honey, white flour and rye flour briefly in a KitchenAid® Stand Mixer to incorporate the ingredients then let rest for 5-10 minutes until it is bubbly.

Add olive oil, salt, and remaining flour.

Knead with the dough hook until the dough no longer looks oily and pulls away from sides of the bowl (2-3 minutes). It may still stick to the bottom but that’s okay.

Dust the surface of your counter with flour and pour dough out on table.

Knead the dough until smooth and elastic (about 4 minutes).

Cover tightly and allow to rise until doubled (1-2 hours depending on warmth of your house).

After the dough has risen you can either use it immediately or chill it in the fridge until cool. The dough is easiest to work with after it has rested all night long but I have used it right away without a problem. If it is not chilled you will need to use more flour for it not to stick to everything.

To bake you want to turn up your oven as hot as it will go. For me that was 550 degrees but yours may be lower or higher (a commercial pizza oven is 800-900 degrees). If you have a pizza stone place it in the oven to preheat about 30 minutes before you are ready to bake.

Form as desired. Brush exposed crust with olive oil and bake.

For mini calzones: approx 8 minutes. 10 inch pizzas: approx 12-13 minutes.

Perfect Pizza & Calzone Dough Recipe

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Chicken Pesto Mini Calzones

Makes 12 mini calzones

INGREDIENTS

1 batch perfect pizza dough (see above)
1 cup cooked chicken
1 cup shredded cheese
1 container store bought pesto (or try this homemade version)
1/2 of a green bell pepper
6 mushrooms
Fresh spinach

DIRECTIONS

To bake you want to turn up your oven as hot as it will go. For me that was 550 degrees but yours may be lower or higher (a commercial pizza oven is 800-900 degrees). If you have a pizza stone place it in the oven to preheat about 30 minutes before you are ready to bake.

Using the KitchenAid® Pasta Roller: start with the roller set at the widest setting (back behind the #1 setting) and be sure to thoroughly flour each piece of dough so it doesn’t stick.

Roll it through several times at each setting, adding more flour if needed. I usually start at wide open, then go to #1 and finally go down to the #2 setting. Be sure to rotate the dough so it stays relatively round.

Lay down the dough on a cornmeal covered surface and fill them with pesto, cheese, chicken, mushrooms, and green bell pepper (or whatever you love).

Fold over the top and twist the edges like a twisted rope. Cut a steam vent carefully in the top with a sharp knife.

Brush the top with olive oil or melted butter.

Cook for 8 minutes until golden brown and cooked through. Serve immediately.

Chicken Pesto Mini Calzones Recipe

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*The Contributor of this post has been compensated by KitchenAid for this post, but this post represents the Contributor’s own opinion.*

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