Cheesy Pesto Chicken Calzones with Tomato Sauce & Marinated Zucchini

Cheesy Pesto Chicken Calzones

with Tomato Sauce & Marinated Zucchini

40 MIN
4 Servings
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From the Test Kitchen

These calzones are loaded with tender chicken, melty mozzarella, and our flavor-packed basil pesto—the perfect match for a homemade tomato and garlic dipping sauce. A side of zucchini dressed with tangy goat cheese provides welcome contrast to balance the richness of the dish.

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  • Nutrition
    PER SERVING
  • Calories
    930 Cals (est.)
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tips & techniques
Cook the chicken:
1 Cook the chicken:

Remove the dough from the refrigerator to bring to room temperature. Place an oven rack in the center of the oven, then preheat to 475°F. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels; season with salt and pepper. In a large pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the seasoned chicken in an even layer. Cook, without stirring, 3 to 4 minutes, or until lightly browned. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, 3 to 4 minutes, or until browned and cooked through. Leaving any browned bits (or fond) in the pan, transfer to a large bowl.

Make the filling & assemble the calzones:
2 Make the filling & assemble the calzones:

To the bowl of cooked chicken, add the pesto and mozzarella cheese (tearing into bite-sized pieces before adding). Stir to combine and season with salt and pepper to taste. Lightly oil a sheet pan. Divide the dough into four equal-sized portions. Using your hands, gently stretch the portions into ¼-inch-thick rounds. If the dough is resistant, let rest 5 minutes. Divide the filling between the centers of the rounds. Fold each round in half over the filling. Using a fork, crimp the edges of the dough to seal. Evenly arrange the calzones on the sheet pan; drizzle or brush the tops with olive oil.

Bake the calzones:
3 Bake the calzones:

Bake the calzones, rotating the sheet pan halfway through, 16 to 18 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and let stand at least 2 minutes.  

 

Prepare the remaining ingredients:
4 Prepare the remaining ingredients:

While the calzones bake, wash and dry the fresh produce. Halve the zucchini lengthwise; thinly slice crosswise. Peel and finely chop the garlic. Place the tomatoes in a bowl; gently break apart with your hands.

Marinate the zucchini:
5 Marinate the zucchini:

While the calzones continue to bake, in a large bowl, combine the vinegar, goat cheese, and a drizzle of olive oil; whisk until smooth. Add the sliced zucchini; season with salt and pepper and stir to coat. Set aside to marinate, stirring occasionally, at least 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Make the dipping sauce & serve your dish:
6 Make the dipping sauce & serve your dish:

While the zucchini marinate, to the pan of reserved fond, add the chopped garlic (if the pan seems dry, add a drizzle of olive oil). Cook on medium-high, stirring frequently, 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until softened. Add the tomatoes (carefully, as the liquid may splatter) and as much of the red pepper flakes as you’d like, depending on how spicy you’d like the dish to be. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, 5 to 6 minutes, or until thickened. Turn off the heat and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve the baked calzones with the dipping sauce and marinated zucchini on the side. Garnish the zucchini with the almonds. Enjoy!

Tips from Home Chefs

Cook the chicken:
1 Cook the chicken:

Remove the dough from the refrigerator to bring to room temperature. Place an oven rack in the center of the oven, then preheat to 475°F. Pat the chicken dry with paper towels; season with salt and pepper. In a large pan (nonstick, if you have one), heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the seasoned chicken in an even layer. Cook, without stirring, 3 to 4 minutes, or until lightly browned. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, 3 to 4 minutes, or until browned and cooked through. Leaving any browned bits (or fond) in the pan, transfer to a large bowl.

2 Make the filling & assemble the calzones:

To the bowl of cooked chicken, add the pesto and mozzarella cheese (tearing into bite-sized pieces before adding). Stir to combine and season with salt and pepper to taste. Lightly oil a sheet pan. Divide the dough into four equal-sized portions. Using your hands, gently stretch the portions into ¼-inch-thick rounds. If the dough is resistant, let rest 5 minutes. Divide the filling between the centers of the rounds. Fold each round in half over the filling. Using a fork, crimp the edges of the dough to seal. Evenly arrange the calzones on the sheet pan; drizzle or brush the tops with olive oil.

Make the filling & assemble the calzones:
Bake the calzones:
3 Bake the calzones:

Bake the calzones, rotating the sheet pan halfway through, 16 to 18 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and let stand at least 2 minutes.  

 

4 Prepare the remaining ingredients:

While the calzones bake, wash and dry the fresh produce. Halve the zucchini lengthwise; thinly slice crosswise. Peel and finely chop the garlic. Place the tomatoes in a bowl; gently break apart with your hands.

Prepare the remaining ingredients:
Marinate the zucchini:
5 Marinate the zucchini:

While the calzones continue to bake, in a large bowl, combine the vinegar, goat cheese, and a drizzle of olive oil; whisk until smooth. Add the sliced zucchini; season with salt and pepper and stir to coat. Set aside to marinate, stirring occasionally, at least 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

6 Make the dipping sauce & serve your dish:

While the zucchini marinate, to the pan of reserved fond, add the chopped garlic (if the pan seems dry, add a drizzle of olive oil). Cook on medium-high, stirring frequently, 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until softened. Add the tomatoes (carefully, as the liquid may splatter) and as much of the red pepper flakes as you’d like, depending on how spicy you’d like the dish to be. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, 5 to 6 minutes, or until thickened. Turn off the heat and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve the baked calzones with the dipping sauce and marinated zucchini on the side. Garnish the zucchini with the almonds. Enjoy!

Make the dipping sauce & serve your dish:
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