Back when I was attending UCLA, our default place for ordering pizza was Tony Maroni’s on Wilshire. While it wasn’t necessarily the best pizza I’d ever had in my life, the staff was friendly, the food was dependably good and they were really talented at remembering our orders and faces. The place is run by this sweet older Korean couple with the help of the typical parade of chipper college students. They also were really good about substitutions and special orders, which is where the Hawaiian chicken calzone here came from. T is a hardcore pineapple fan — put pineapple on anything and it’s guaranteed he’ll eat it with no questions asked. I preferred calzones over pizza because they usually made less of a mess and stayed warmer when I picked up an order before driving home from an LA trip. Rather than having to make lunch upon arriving home, I’d just toss something with pineapple on the dining table and all was well with the world.
Alas, calzones don’t really grow on trees here in Finland. The local pizza places here make two things — pizza and kebab. The Italian restaurants here are more into their pastas, steaks and pizzas. Overall, there’s a large gap in the restaurant industry here in our particular city — we have several cheap fast food places you can show up to in sweats and a healthy number of nicer upscale restaurants to take your business partners to, but almost nothing in the way of middle-ranged places you can go for a casual evening out. Which is pretty much where you see your calzones showing up. So the next item on my menu planning for the first week was to remedy that situation.
I’d just finished reading Nummy Kitchen’s Roasted Red Pepper and Ricotta post, so that was the first source that popped into my head and I used her recipes as my base. She, in turn, borrowed the crust recipe and template from Mark Bittman’s excellent vegetarian cookbook.