Korean Meatball Calzones

Alright, this was supposed to be a vacation-inspired recipe, but I couldn’t bring myself to cook something that brought back too many memories of a vacation, especially when I’m hardcore craving an exotic destination. Instead, I thought back to the days of summer vacation back when I was in college and waiting for the new school year to start. When it comes to meals in college, I can separate them into two buckets. Pizza and Korean food. How I kept my weight under 115 those years is something I’ll always be amazed by.

The summer before my sophomore year started, I moved into my very first apartment with three other roommates. While they were at summer school and while I was waiting for the year to get going, I would walk to Albertson’s across the street, pick up a frozen pizza and nosh on it for the rest of the week. Fast forward to senior year when I finally knew how to make somewhat real, pizzas were reserved for late night eats while Korean tofu was the norm.

When you grow up in a biracial family, you can have pasta for dinner one night and bulgogi the next night. So this Korean Meatball Calzone, had I known how to make one, would have been the summer vacation college meal of my dreams.

Korean Meatball Calzones

3/4 lb. ground pork (leaner than ground beef!)
1/2 cup of panko breadcrumbs
1/2 cup of gochujang, Korean red pepper paste
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. cracked black pepper
3 cloves garlic
1/4 green onions, bias-cut (cut at an angle)
1 tbsp. freshly ground ginger
2 eggs (we had a double yolk egg!)
1 lb. pizza dough (you can get gluten free!)

Pizza sauce
Your choice of cheese (we used mozzarella and smoked gouda)
Fresh pepperoni (from your local butcher)
Yellow onions (diced)
Black olives (sliced)
Padron peppers or any other hot pepper, sliced

1. In a non-reactive bowl, combine your pork, breadcrumbs, gochujang, sea salt, black pepper, garlic, green onions, ginger and one egg. Delicately mix with a spoon (or your hands!). Roll into small, 1/2 inch spheres or cylinders.

2. Heat a heavy-bottomed pan on medium heat and place your Korean meatballs in. Lightly brown the meatballs on all sides.

3. Meanwhile, let your pizza dough rest and reach room temperature. Flour a flat surface (countertop or large cutting board) and roll your dough until flat and as thick as a hardcover book flap.

4. Once your pizza dough is rolled flat, it’s time to stuff your Calzones. Layer on your stuffing on one side, then fold the dough over and push the edges together. Crack and stir the other egg together to create an egg wash, then coat the folds of your Calzones.

5. If you’re lucky enough to have a grill and a pizza oven, heat your grill on high and cook your Calzones until lightly golden-brown. If you have an oven, heat it to 350 degrees, then cook for 10-15 minutes, also until golden brown. Enjoy!

P.s. I’m not a registered dietician, but I do cook with fresh and local ingredients. This post was created as part of the Recipe Redux series. 

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