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Boston Chefs on the Definition of a Perfect Calzone

For Calzone Power Hour, here are some thoughts from local chefs and restaurant owners on what defines a perfect calzone.

Michael Scelfo, Chef/Owner of Alden & Harlow: "Well, it's really the same definition for a perfect pizza, which is that the crust has to hold up to the toppings. There's nothing worse than a soggy calzone or a soggy slice. It's gotta have enough integrity. You can't overload it with toppings, and it's gotta be cooked in the right kind of oven, the right temperature. It can't be overstuffed, but it can't be too much crust, so pizza's about balance all the way."

Will Gilson, Chef/Owner of Puritan & Co.: "Bunch of tasty, fattening, lava-hot ingredients in way more bread than I should be eating."

Phil Frattaroli, owner of Ducali: "A pizza, folded in half. In Italian, it's called a pizza ripiena, or stuffed pizza."

Dante de Magistris, Executive Chef and Co-Owner of Restaurant dante and il Casale: "There is no proper definition other than it being stuffed. In Italy and the US, there are many, many different styles. All of them that I am aware of are stuffed with something inside."

Rodney Murillo, Culinary Director of Davio's: "Shouldn't be too doughy."

Josh Bhatti, Bowery Presents & The Sinclair: "Not a fan of the half-moon-shaped calzones. I love the long, ovular shaped calzones. They could be stuffed with cold cuts, meatballs, broccoli, whatever, but it has to have the right amount of cheese to stuffing; you can't kill it with too much cheese."

Marco Caputo, Co-Owner of MAST' (coming soon): "It was invented by mistake. The pizza fell from the peeler and got closed. The pizza guy finished closing it up and cooked in the oven and made the first calzone."

Anthony Radzikowski, Owner of Ernesto's: "I guess that's something that comes down to the customer, but from someone in the food business, from that perspective, I'd say — make sure the ingredients are right, make sure the thing is cooked good. One thing you don't want is an undercooked calzone. Some people like thick calzones; others like them real thin. Along with a lot of other food items, it's a personal preference type of thing. With the calzones, I think it's the dough. Same as pizza — a lot of times with the pizza, it really comes down to the dough. It's literally the foundation of the pizza. It's also symbolically the foundation of the pizza. You can put the best toppings in the world on top of a pizza, but if you don't have the right dough, it really takes away from the pizza, and I would say the same thing regarding the calzone. We do use the same dough that we use for the pizzas."

James DiSabatino, Founder/CEO of Roxy's Grilled Cheese: "I don't really know, but I've never met a calzone I didn't like."
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