Recipe: Artichoke Calzones






This is my own creation. Calzones are usually pizzas folded in half, sealed and baked. Mine is open at the top and the sauce is spooned over it when served. This offers a better presentation than normal calzones which look like giant pasties: all dough and little color.

I used to make my calzones when my kids were teenagers. We loved them. Now that they are out of the house and on their own, I seldom make calzones. I posted this recipe for my son Evan to try. I hope he extends it with his own creativity. And I look forward to having him setting one in front of me at his dining table.




  • 1 frozen bread or pizza dough
  • 1 rosemary sprig
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 large jar of artichoke hearts, marinated in olive oil
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Red pepper flakes, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • Marinara sauce, homemade (see below) or from a jar




  1. Allow frozen bread dough to thaw and rise in a greased bowl covered with a damp cloth, about four hours.
  2. Drain artichoke hearts. Chop into small pieces.
  3. Strip rosemary leaves from the stem. Chop fine. Discard stem.
  4. Mix rosemary leaves, pepper flakes and drained artichoke hearts. Set aside.
  5. Separate egg yolk from white. Mix egg yolk in a small cup with milk. Set aside.
  6. After the dough has thawed and risen, punch it down and knead for 1 minute.
  7. Grease a large baking pan.


Some assembly required


  1. Roll out dough on a large wooden cutting board sprinkled with flour or cornmeal. Roll the dough into an oblong shape.
  2. Sprinkle 1/2 shredded cheese in the middle third. Avoid sprinkling cheese near the top and bottom, allowing a one-inch cheese-free border.
  3. Sprinkle the artichoke mixture on top of the cheese.
  4. Cover the artichokes with the rest of the cheese
  5. Make cuts in the long edge of the dough, one inch deep, one inch apart. Make matching cuts along the other side
  6. Fold over the top and bottom edges
  7. Pull a tab from each side and twist together. Move nimbly, working your way up the top, twisting as you go.
  8. Carefully transfer the braided calzone to the baking pan.
  9. Cover the calzone with a damp cloth. Allow to rise for 30 minutes in a warm place.

Cook it!

  1. Preheat oven to 375F 
  2. Uncover the calzone. Use a pastry brush to gently cover the dough along the twisted braids and sides with the egg-milk wash.
  3. Sprinkle with Kosher salt
  4. Put in oven. Bake for 30 minutes.
  5. Remove from oven. Allow to cool for five minutes.
  6. Slice thin. Serve immediately, spooning warm marinara sauce over the slices.




Some notes:

You may substitute traditional pizza toppings like cooked sausage, pepperoni or olives for the artichokes.

Please use quality, marinated artichokes. Frozen and canned artichokes are flavorless. If you do use marinated artichokes, please use the best, those steeped in olive oil and spices. This makes a difference.


John’s Homemade Marinara Sauce

  1. 2 cans tomato sauce
  2. 1 small can tomato paste
  3. 1/2 cup dark red wine
  4. 2 cloves crushed garlic
  5. 1handful of sun-dried tomatoes (optional)
  6. Thyme, to taste
  7. Oregano, to taste
  8. Chopped basil, to taste
  9. Kosher salt, to taste
  10. 1 tablespoon chopped raisins. (Secret ingredient!)
  11. 1 tablespoon olive oil


Heat olive oil in pan. Saute garlic for 1 minute. Add other ingredients. Reduce heat to low. Simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.






Recipe: Breakfast Pizza




I am the one who gets up early in our marriage, usually hours before my wife. Since I enjoy cooking, it’s become our tradition to make a big deal about Sunday breakfast. I don’t mind the extra time it takes to make a special meal form scratch. I also think the scents of a cooked breakfast lures my wife out of bed.

This is my recipe for breakfast pizza. It fills the kitchen with the aroma of toasted cheese and onions. My wife is never late to breakfast when I pull this out of the oven.



  • 1 pre-made, thin pizza crust
  • 1/2 red pepper
  • 3 green onions
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/3 tsp red pepper or more to taste
  • Cheese: either mozzarella, asiago or a mixture of both
  • 4 eggs
  • 5 strips of cooked bacon
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • Dried pepper flakes, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher salt



  1. Preheat oven to 450F.
  2. Wash onions. Trim off ends but keep the green stalks. Slice thin.
  3. Slice the red pepper into thin, nearly translucent rings. Pat dry.
  4. Mix olive oil, onion and thyme in a small bowl. Let set for ten minutes.
  5. Crumble bacon. Set aside.
  6. Spread onion-oil mix over the pre-made crust to about 1/2 inch from the edge. Reserve 1/2 tablespoon oil.
  7. Sprinkle with cheese(s).
  8. Arrange the red pepper slices on top of the cheese
  9. Sprinkle bacon atop the pepper slices.
  10. Season with salt and pepper flakes.


Cook it!

  1. Slide the pizza directly onto the oven rack. Don’t use a pan. Set timer for 6 minutes.
  2. Fry the eggs in a preheated skillet to desired doneness.
  3. Remove pizza from the oven when done.
  4. Remove eggs from the skillet. Place atop the hot pizza, one egg per quadrant.
  5. Spoon the remaining onion oil over the eggs
  6. Cut the pizza. Serve right away.


Some Notes:

You can use other pizza toppings like Italian sausage or mushrooms. Less is more with the cheese. Just sprinkle enough to cover the crust.

Timing is everything! Do your best to pull the pizza out of the oven as soon as the eggs are done.

This would be a great brunch or dinner entree.





Pizzarrhea: the sudden onset of diarrhea by means of the consumption of pizza, be it bad or otherwise.

I like spicy foods. I enjoy the fire of Indian, Thai, Korean and Mexican dishes. I pile on the chilis. I douse with Sriracha sauce. Habaneros? Bring ’em on. I can eat them without any intestinal consequence. It’s just “a little warmth.”

Bad Pizza is a different story. I can’t explain it, but there are certain brands of Bad Pizza that will have me doubled over in wrenching cramps. It’s predictable and it’s aways been that way. Why these and not other pizzas, I can’t say. Me and toxic pizza are like diabetics and certain foods; we must avoid them. Well, except for one, which I like, but I just have to prepare myself for a day of bathroom adventure.


The absolute worst is Pizza Hut. It’s hard to get down and it is often harder to look at it. Regurgitation is always a possibility. Their Pan Pizza is a saucy colonic.


Ex-Lax in disk form. Vinyl Torture Wheels. Cheap eats — we lived off them in college. No wonder I was so skinny.


3/$10.00 specials you feed teenagers and other animals. The vivid orange-red grease should warn you of an upcoming gut calamity. Wear black underwear.


I really like their pizza. Red Savoy’s is local chain reknowned for its spicy sausage. I will eat it if my friends want to go there for lunch. Symptoms are personal fermentation, odd noises and, well ‘pizzarrhea.’ I consider this a weight-loss food. 

Other pizza (and I LOVE pizza) never gives me problems. Lucky for me I live with some great local choices (Cossetta, Punch, Green Mill, Woodfire, my own grill pizza) which are a trouble-free, coming and going.

Do you know of any Pizzarrheas? Tacorrheas? Hamburgerrheas?