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Sweet Take on the Calzone

August 25, 2010 9:45:21 AM PDT
Typically thought of as a hearty, sandwich-style dish, Nella Pizzeria Napoletana in Lincoln Park is giving the calzone a sweet new twist. While calzones are usually packed with pizza toppings, Nella's new chef, Chef Alfredo Colle, is filling his calzones with dessert ingredients.

"We have a lot of families come in so it was only natural for me to use the brick oven for a delicious dessert that the whole family can enjoy," says Chef Colle.

The Calzone con Nutella e Banana is filled with Nutella, a creamy cocoa and hazelnut spread, and slices of fresh, ripe bananas. The dough is then molded into a crescent shape before being sprinkled with brown sugar, which caramelizes when baked in Nella's handmade Italian brick oven. Once the calzone is cooked, it leaves the oven with an outer crust that's crispy and sweet. Chef Colle finishes the dish with a generous helping of vanilla gelato. He says the after-dinner treat that will have you second guessing your loyalty to the savory calzone.

The chef also prepares fruit calzones filled with brown sugar, a touch of butter and strawberries, apples, peaches, figs and pears.

Chef Alfredo is a Naples native and has been cooking since the age of 13. Prior to becoming head chef of Nella's, Colle served as Francis Ford Coppela's private chef and managed several of his restaurants. Nella has begun hosting children's parties where Chef Alfredo teaches young chefs how to make pizzas.

Nella Pizzeria Napoletana is an authentic Neapolitan pizzeria located in Chicago's bustling Lincoln Park neighborhood. Founded by Chicago restaurateur Scott Harris, Nella's offers over a dozen Neapolitan recipes with toppings like spicy salami, shaved parmesan, prosciutto and arugula. Each pizza is hand-made and baked in an 800-degree wood burning oven imported from Naples. The restaurant also offers daily pasta specials and a complete wine list. Nella Pizzeria Napoletana is located at 2423 N Clark St. For more information, visit www.pizzerianella.com.

Calzone di Banana and Nutella

(Start with ball of dough-recipe below but will not be showing how to make the actual dough, but can talk about what goes into it)

  1. Roll out a small amount of pizza dough
  2. Spread Nutella (hazelnut-chocolate filling) inside, add sliced banana and place on top of Nutella
  3. Fold in half, and shape like a crescent, trimming the excess dough from crescent
  4. Sprinkle brown sugar on top and bake at 500 degrees for approximately 15 minutes
  5. Place scoop of vanilla ice cream or gelato in the middle of the crescent and serve

Dough Recipe:

  • 2 liters of water (~8 1/2 cups)
  • 65 grams of salt (~4 1/2 tablespoons)
  • 3.6 kg of farina (flour) (~15 3/4 cups)
  • 4 grams of yeast (just under 1 teaspoon)

Work the ingredients together until you have the dough-like consistency. Roll into little balls a little smaller than a fist. Let rest for 2 hours until soft.

Calzone:

Spread out the ball of dough, kneading it with your fingers from the middle of the circle until it is about 10-11 inches in diameter.

Spread Nutella inside, add sliced banana, then fold in half making a crescent shape. Pinch the ends tightly together, trim any excess dough off. Sprinkle brown sugar on top and bake for about 15 minutes at 500 degrees.

Put a scoop of vanilla ice cream or gelato in the middle of the crescent and enjoy!


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