Swiss Chard Calzones

Melissa Roberts

As we creep into November, the look of the greenmarket changes. More gourds, potatoes, and with the exception of collards and kale, less greens. I’m ready for a seasonal change but part of me is still holding onto warmer months past and long to see some leafy goodness. This week at the Imperial Avenue market I spotted some gorgeous rainbow swiss chard. Now chard and I have a history, one in which I could never imagine a future promoting it. Growing up in suburban New York, my parents maintained a good sized garden where swiss chard thrived; in fact, took over. Mom and dad couldn’t give it away fast enough, and the stuff that remained made its way to our dinner table just about every night. Later in life I renewed my relationship with chard. At Gourmet, our Executive Food Editor couldn’t stand the stuff, but to her credit, she was open minded enough to know that other people enjoyed it--or at least should eat it, and because I had more than a passing familiarity with it, chard crept into a few recipes I developed at the magazine.  

The chard at the market was the stunning rainbow variety. As is, it’s lovely simply sauteed with slivered garlic, but I found myself wanting to do something more. As the weather nips, I’m craving heavier comfort food. And while wrapping my mind around swiss chard, my thoughts turned to combining it with cheesy goodness in the form of calzone. Italian food isn’t part of my heritage, but Italian influence very often finds its way onto my table. I sauteed then braised the chard with red onion--and if you find that’s the way chard is best enjoyed, then stop right there (just double the recipe to make it all worthwhile). To continue, the chard is folded into fresh ricotta and encased in chewy pizza dough. Delicious as a snack or for supper with a green salad,  it’s a satisfying way to enjoy the last gasp of greener months.

Swiss Chard Calzones

Serves 4

½ lb (1 bunch) swiss chard, rainbow or any variety

½ cup chopped red onion

2 tablespoons olive oil

¼ cup water

6 oz whole milk ricotta (2/3 cup)

3 oz mozzarella, coarsely grated (3/4 cup)

2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano Reggiano

1 large egg yolk

1 lb pizza dough, thawed if frozen

All purpose flour for shaping dough

Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Heat oven to 450F with rack in lower third.

Cut stems and center ribs from chard, then chop stems and ribs into ¼” pieces and coarsely chop leaves 

Heat oil in a large heavy skillet over medium heat. Cook onion until just softened and golden, about 6 minutes. Add chard stems and ribs and cook, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes. Add chard leaves, ¼ teaspoon salt and water and simmer, partially covered, until chard stems are tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool.

Stir together cheeses and egg yolk, with ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper until combined, then stir in chard.

Quarter pizza dough. Using your fingertips, stretch out dough into a 7 inch round, turning it as you go and using flour as necessary when dough becomes too sticky. Put ¼ of filling in center (about ½ cup) and fold dough in half to enclose filling and form a semicircle. Press edges together tightly to seal. Beginning at 1 end, stretch sealed edge outward, pinching and rolling edge to form a rope. Transfer to baking sheet. Make 3 more calzones in same manner with remaining dough and filling.

Bake until calzones are golden and puffed, 14 to 16 minutes (some filling may leak but it will be fine). Cool on baking sheet 5 minutes before serving.