Buffalo Chicken Calzone with Homemade Marinara Sauce and Blue Cheese Dressing

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Once September hits I remember how much I love and look forward to football season. Of course this is largely due to rooting for our New England team and watching the games with our friends and family BUT I can't lie, the football food that we always whip up has something to do with my excitement as well. Our family is a big fan of all the football favorites- potato skins, dips, wings, all the works! But something that we never typically made but that I am so into now are calzones!

Looking back on it we have always been a pizza kind of family but now I have come to realize I had been seriously overlooking calzones. This calzone is the perfect football season, classic, quick and easy lunch or dinner. This calzone has just enough hot sauce for the not too hot buffalo chicken, as well as its fair share of cheese mixed in but not enough to make it too cheesy. I know, many of you are probably thinking how could it possibly be too cheesy? Trust me, I do love lots of cheese but something about too much melted cheese can really turn an almost perfect pizza or calzone into an overly greasy mess. This calzone achieves that perfect happy medium. Plus homemade blue cheese dressing - you can't beat that.

buffalo chicken calzone

The dreamy dough

This is the same dough recipe from our previous pizza, flatbreads, and calzones that we've done before. I love this dough recipe and each time I make it I feel like its better than the last. We hope you fall in love with this easy dough recipe as fast as we did!  It truly is the perfect go-to for any pizza or in this case, tasty calzone.

A quick note when making the dough, one of the keys is to ensure that your water is warm enough but definitely not hot. Wait for your yeast to bloom as always and then after that you should be good to go. Also, lightly greasing the bowl is a key step that should not be overlooked when placing the dough in the bowl to rise. I know waiting for the dough to rise can feel daunting but trust me it is well worth it.

buffalo chicken calzone with blue cheese and marinara

Let's talk about the filling...

So for your filling it is important that your chicken is pulled apart of course and also very moist. This is also why it is so important not to over-bake your calzone as you do not want the inside to become dry. As for the cheese I found that placing a small pile below the chicken and then sprinkling some on top of the chicken as well worked best to achieve the perfect bite throughout the whole calzone. Once all my filling is in there, I just fold the dough over and do a simple pinch along the opening to close up the calzone. Lastly, do not forget to make slits on the top of your calzone before popping each of them in the oven.

It is a simple calzone but in my opinion with a classic like buffalo chicken, you just have to stick to the basics. Plus, the homemade marinara sauce and blue cheese dressing give it that extra something. Personally, I am team blue cheese, but if you're a marinara fan I would fully support a dunk or drizzle of course too.

buffalo chicken calzone with dipping sauces

More about those dipping sauces

As tempting as it may be to just go into the fridge and grab some blue cheese dressing or marinara sauce that you got kicking around in there, trust us when we say that homemade makes all the difference. This blue cheese dressing has the classic blue cheese flavor and bits throughout but also has it's own special something with the lemon juice and white wine vinegar. The marinara sauce should definitely not be overlooked as the flavors are so much more bold and prominent than a store bought sauce. Although it isn't quite as speedy to make as the blue cheese dressing, I definitely suggest making both to see which homemade version calls your name.

Although it does take some time for the dough to rise, this recipe is so simple and easy to make. The perfect lunch or dinner to make for Sunday football. Get cooking and then dunk away and enjoy!

Buffalo Chicken Calzone with Homemade Marinara Sauce and Blue Cheese Dressing

The fall, football season buffalo chicken calzone that you need- shredded chicken, lots of buffalo sauce, with homemade marinara sauce and the creamiest blue cheese dressing that will leave you dunking your calzone in for more!

Author:
Samantha

Ingredients

Servings: 2 (makes 2 medium or 1 large calzone)

Dough

  • 2/3 cup warm water
  • 1 tsp yeast
  • 1/2 tsp granulated sugar
  • 2 cups flour, plus additional as needed
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Filling

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked chicken, shredded
  • 2 tbsp Frank's RedHot Wings Buffalo Sauce
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

Blue Cheese Dressing

  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup gorgonzola, crumbled, plus additional for topping
  • 2 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp chives, minced

Marinara Sauce

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ a large onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp crushed garlic
  • 1 28 ounce can whole peeled plum tomatoes
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • ½ tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 small bay leaf

Instructions

Dough

  1. In a small bowl, combine warm (not hot) water, yeast, and sugar. Place in a warm spot and allow the yeast to bloom, about 15 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour and salt. Add the olive oil and yeast mixture and stir to combine. If you are using a mixer, use the dough hook attachment and knead the dough for 5-6 minutes, as it pulls away from the side of the bowl. If the dough seems wet, add an additional tablespoon of flour at a time until it pulls away from the side of the bowl. If you are not using a mixer, you can also lightly flour your work surface and knead the dough by hand until smooth.
  3. Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for approximately 1 hour.
  4. While dough is rising, if desired, make blue cheese dressing and marinara sauce below.

Filling

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Toss shredded chicken in Franks RedHot Wings Buffalo Sauce.
  3. Divide dough in half and flour work surface. Form each half of the dough into a circle and place each on a greased baking sheet.
  4. Place approximately 1/4 cup of mozzarella on the top half of each of the pieces of dough, then add half of the chicken to each calzone. Finish with another 1/4 cup of mozzarella cheese on top of the chicken for each calzone.
  5. Fold the dough over to cover the side with the mozzarella and buffalo chicken. Pinch along the edge of the dough to close the seam on both calzones. Create a slit on the top of each and place in the oven to bake for 12-15 minutes.
  6. Serve immediately with blue cheese dressing and marinara sauce.

Blue Cheese Dressing

  1. Blend all the ingredients except for the chives in a food processor until fully combined but still with some small chunks.
  2. Add chives and pulse just to combine, ensuring not to make your dressing green. Let chill.

Marinara Sauce

  1. Heat extra virgin olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium low heat.
  2. Add chopped onion and sauté until translucent, being careful not to brown the onions. Add crushed garlic and cook until fragrant, an additional 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add whole peeled plum tomatoes, dried oregano, sugar, red wine vinegar, and bay leaf. Simmer for approximately 20 minutes.

Prep Time: 1 hour and 30 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour and 45 minutes

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