I had a grand idea to make fresh pasta a couple weeks ago in order to use up left over pulled pork. My plan was to create beautiful little pulled pork-filled pasta purses, and serve them in a sage brown-butter sauce. Sounds yummy right? I was so hell-bent on this plan that I decided to go through with it even though almost every recipe for home-made pasta mentioned the use of a pasta roller. While I have coveted the pasta attachment for my Kitchen Aid Mixer (hint hint) for quite some time, I do not own said attachment. But I put my faith in Jamie Oliver, who mentions I could just use my brute strength and patience in order to mix and hand roll my fresh pasta dough.
Jamie, how could you lead me astray? I thought we had a good thing going…you’ve always been there for me when I wanted to make a lamb curry, stout meat pie, tomato braised sausages, spinach risotto … and on-and-on. Plus you aren’t too hard on the eyes. But this day you tarnished our relationship. I trusted your ratio of eggs to flour. I trusted you when you said I just needed to use my strength to work that dough into a glistening smooth mass. And I trusted you when you said all I needed was time. But all I ended up with was a scraggly mess of what looked like beige, floury play-dough. Damn you.
I should mention this was a weeknight. Who the hell attempts making pasta for the first time on a weeknight? Apparently this girl. I didn’t say I was completely sane. This was the same pork that gave me trouble a few days earlier…maybe the pork was out to get me, and it wasn’t the pasta dough recipe after all. I was not to be defeated. A sane person would have ordered pizza at this point – however, I just told you I’m not…so I quickly changed plans and made homemade pizza dough.
I was determined to stuff these leftovers into something. So while the pizza dough was rising, I fried up some barely carmelized onions, shredded some mozzarella & pecorino cheeses, and brought my leftover pork and BBQ sauce up to room temperature. With the dough ready – I quartered it, rolled out each quarter, and stuffed them full of delicious saucy pork, salty cheese, and sweet onions. Then, just to show that pork who was boss, I fried some fresh sage leaves in browned butter, and brushed this over the top of my lovely little waiting calzones before throwing them into a hot oven.
This recipe doesn’t have to be so involved. Use store-bought pizza dough (you can usually find this in the freezer section – let it thaw overnight). The brown-butter used to brush over the dough can be replaced with extra-virgin olive oil, or even oil spray. And the onions don’t even need to be fried/caramelized, just thinly slice them and throw them in raw. Weeknight dinner done the sane way.
BBQ Pork Calzone
If you don’t have Pecorino Romano cheese handy, or can’t find it, you can substitute with Parmesan or use all Mozzarella cheese. You can also make this into a pizza using a pre-made pizza crust if you can’t find store-bought dough & don’t feel like making dough yourself. Just top the pizza as the calzones are stuffed, and bake as per the directions on the pizza crust.
pizza dough – homemade or store-bought (enough for 12″ pizza)
1 – 1 1/3 cups leftover pulled pork
1/2 cup leftover homemade BBQ sauce or your favourite BBQ sauce
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup butter, divided
1/4 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/4 cup pecorino romano cheese, shredded
8 fresh sage leaves – 4 finely chopped & 4 left whole
If you want to brown/caramelize your onions, fry them up while you’re waiting for your dough to rise or come to room temperature: melt 2 Tbsp of the butter over medium heat. Add the sliced onions and fry them until very soft and browned, stirring often. This will take approximately 15-20 min. Let the onions cool slightly.
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F. (I like to use a pizza stone to bake pizza, so if you have one, throw it into the oven while it’s pre-heating)
Divide your dough into 4 quarters. Working with one quarter at a time, roll the dough into 8″ rounds. Once you have one dough rolled out, start by topping it with 2 Tbsp of the BBQ sauce, ensuring that you put it on one half of the dough and leave at least 1/2″ so you can fold the other half of the dough over. Then top the sauce with the pork, onion, mozzarella and percorino, and chopped sage (only using approximately 1/4 of each). Fold dough over and crimp the edges with a fork. Repeat with remaining three portions of dough.
Meanwhile, if you’re going to brush the tops with the sage brown butter, melt the remaining 2 Tbsp of butter over medium heat. Keep on eye on it, stirring it often. When the butter turns slightly brown and has a nutty scent, throw in the 4 whole sage leaves and lightly fry for 30 seconds. Take the butter off the heat.
Brush the tops of the calzones with the brown butter or with extra virgin olive oil. Make a few small slits in the top of the calzones so that steam can escape from the inside. Place the calzones on a pizza pan or put them on your pre-heated pizza stone. Bake for 15 minutes until the tops are golden brown.
Serves 4 – 6, depending on how hungry you are and what you’re having with dinner.
We ate these with a chopped veggie salad.