Sarasota's Simple Pesto Shrimp Calzones

"For a quick week night dinner try these shrimp calzones. Gooey cheese, savory pesto, shrimp, and served with a sweet marinara sauce if you want. Add a quick tossed salad, and save some room for some fresh summer fruit for dessert. These can be made on the grill or a pizza stone, but I make them right in the oven to make this as easy as possible. And to make things even easier ... take advantage of shrimp you can buy steamed fresh right at the seafood counter; or even frozen shrimp will work, but not quite as well. Store bought pesto, marinara sauce, and pizza dough and you have dinner in 30 minutes. Now, please make your own crust, pesto, and steam your own shrimp if time allows, but this is just one of those quick dinners I like to have on hand when you need it - or just to tired to cook, but it is so much better and cheaper than take out. You can even use one of those "bagged" lettuce to make a great quick side salad and add your favorite toppings. And remember ... these are my favorite ingredients, but please feel free to add olives, peppers, mushrooms, or other cheeses - use your imagination!"
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Ready In:
4 Calzones


  • 2 (8 ounce) cans pillsbury pizza dough (I like to have a little leftover and make my calzones a bit bigger. Besides, any leftover pizza doug)
  • 1 lb shrimp, large, tails off and rough chopped
  • 1 small onion, fine diced
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 14 cup roasted red pepper, chopped (I just used a jar)
  • 1 (3 ounce) jar basil pesto (or any store bought brand and type)
  • 1 cup Fontina cheese, shredded (you could use all mozzarella, but I like the mix of fontina with mozzarella)
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 4 tablespoons parmesan cheese, grated fine
  • 1 tablespoon butter (to saute the shrimp, onion and garlic)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (to brush the pizza crust)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • Garnish

  • 2 cups marinara sauce (your favorite brand)


  • Shrimp -- In a medium size saute pan, add the butter and bring to medium heat. Add in the onion and garlic and cook 2-3 minutes until tender but not soft. NOTE: At this point if you decide to add any other ingredients, such as peppers, mushrooms or olives, you can add them too. Saute 2-3 minutes until tender. Then add in the shrimp (seasoned with salt and pepper) and cook 1-2 minutes, as they will continue to cook in the calzone - I actually under cook the shrimp so they don't get tough. Immediately remove from the heat and transfer to a plate to cool.
  • Filling -- Once the shrimp have cooled a couple of minutes, add to a medium size bowl along with the pesto, fontina, and mozzarella and lightly toss to combine.
  • Pizza Dough -- Cut the dough into 4 equal pieces and then roll into a 8-9" circles. I like to bake mine on either a pizza stone, or either a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and sprayed with a non-stick spray. Makes for an easy clean up.
  • Lay your 4 pizza circles on the baking sheet or whatever you choose to use, and then add the shrimp filling on the crust, a little to the right or left of center. Then fold over the crust to make a half moon and to cover all the filling.
  • Wet the edge of the pizza crust with a little water. I just use my finger and then press the top and bottom together. Now, you can use your fork or you can use your finger to press the edges together. I just squeeze them and make a little "Pie Crust" like technique. It doesn't have to be fancy. Just as long as the top and bottom is pressed together and sealed well.
  • Brush the calzones with olive oil and sprinkle the parmesan cheese over the top. Make 3-4 thin cuts with a knife in the calzone so the steam can escape and the calzone can puff up and get golden brown.
  • Bake -- Oven, middle shelf to 400 degrees. Bake for 25-35 minutes until golden brown. Make sure to let them cool about 5 minutes before serving.
  • Marinara -- Simply heat some marinara in the microwave or stove top and serve with the calzones.
  • Serve -- A nice crisp salad is all you need. Enjoy!

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<p>Growing up in Michigan, I spent my summers at my cottage in the Northern part up by Traverscity. On a lake, big garden which had all the vegetables you could imagine. My mom taught school, so summers were our vacation time. Gramps and I fished all the time so fresh fish was always on the menu, perch, blue gill, walleye and small and large mouth bass. At age 5 I learned how to clean my own fish and by 10 I was making dinner, canning vegetables and fruits, making pies and fresh breads. Apples fresh picked every fall, strawberries in June and July, Cherries at the Cherry Festival in Traverscity. So fresh foods always were a big part. Mom worked as a teacher during the year so dinner was more traditional with pot roasts, meatloaf, etc, but it seemed we always had fresh fruits and vegetables as part of the meal. Mom also didn't use as many spices as I do, but times were different back then. <br /> <br />So ... My motto is ... There is NO Right and NO Wrong with cooking. So many people thing they have to follow a recipe. But NO ... a recipe is a method and directions to help and teach someone. Cooking is about personal tastes and flavors. I love garlic ... and another person may not. I like heat ... but you may not. Recipes are building blocks, NOT text ground in stone. Use them to make and build on. Even my recipes I don't follow most times --They are a base. That is what cooking is to me. A base of layer upon layer of flavors. <br /> <br />I still dislike using canned soups or packaged gravies/seasoning ... but I admit, I do use them. I have a few recipes that use them. But I try to strive to teach people to use fresh ingredients, they are first ... so much healthier for you ... and second, in the end less expensive. But we all have our moments including me. <br /> <br />So, lets see ... In the past, I have worked as a hostess, bartender, waitress, then a short order cook, salad girl in the kitchen, sort of assistant chef, head chef, co owner of a restaurant ... now a consultant to a catering company/restaurant, I cater myself and I'm a personal chef for a elderly lady. I work doing data entry during the day, and now and then try to have fun which is not very often due to my job(s). <br /> <br />I have a 21 year old who at times is going on 12, aren't they all. Was married and now single and just trying to enjoy life one day at a time. I'm writing a cookbook ... name is still in the works but it is dedicated to those people who never learned, to cook. Single Moms, Dads, or Just Busy Parents. Those individuals that think you can't make a great dinner for not a lot of money. You can entertain on a budget and I want people to know that gourmet tasting food doesn't have to be from a can of soup or a box, and healthy food doesn't come from a drive through. There are some really good meals that people can make which are healthy and will save money but taste amazing. So I guess that is my current goal. We all take short cuts and I have no problem with that - I do it too. I volunteer and make food for the homeless every couple of months, donating my time and money. I usually make soup for them and many times get donations from a local grocery stores, Sams Club, Walmart etc, with broth, and vegetables. It makes my cost very little and well worth every minute I spend. Like anyone, life is always trying to figure things out and do the best we can and have fun some how along the way.</p>
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