A few weeks ago, I made a very large pot of red sauce, the kind of red sauce that you can ladle over spaghetti, or spoon lovingly over baked ziti, or lace in between layers of noodles for lasagna. I did many of the things you can do with red sauce, and I still had some left over. It came to the point where one more dish of pasta just wasn’t going to cut it, not even with my pasta-loving offspring, and it just seemed too little and too late to freeze the remainder. I had pizza dough, though, and it was a cold, damp night. Something tiny inside me whispered calzone, and I had a vision of a brick oven, and golden mound of dough stuffed with melted cheese and savory red sauce, and a leafy green salad, a fire, a glass of wine, and I got to work.
The kids saw the ingredients and assumed pizza was on the horizon and I did not dissuade them. I might have muttered calzone low and under my breath, and they may or may not have heard. What difference does a folded crust make anyway? (A lot, I know, but I didn’t think they needed to know that.)
I rolled the dough and ladled the sauce and generously sprinkled the mozzarella. I sealed and crimped and brushed with egg yolk. I baked.
And then I set the plates in front of them. They stared for a minute and then the protests began. You would have thought I’d served them tripe. “What is this?” “This isn’t pizza.”
I explained the general concept.
“Oh,” said Ella grinning, “It’s a pizza taco.” Her brother was appeased. Suddenly the lump on their plate seemed appealing.
And you would think, what’s not to love about a pizza taco calzone? The answer, of course, if you’re expecting pizza, is everything. As Finn said, “Well, it has all the elements of pizza. But it’s not pizza.”
They ate anyway, and agreed to try again another night. Which was good, because later on, after their dad came home, we had our own pizza tacos, with the salad, the wine, the fire. And ours were delicious.