It doesn’t matter if it’s a casual girls’ night in or a special dinner party, I’m always going to be in the mood for pizza. But lately I’ve been on a calzone kick. Calzones are everything that’s great about pizza in a neat little package. The pizza crust is wrapped around all of the delicious fillings before being baked. The dough keeps everything contained, and if you ask me, there’s a better crust-to-filling ratio than a calzone.
This calzone recipe mimics the flavors of a classic sandwich loaded with juicy sausages, flavorful sautéed peppers and caramelized onions piled onto rolls and topped with cheese. The calzone filling is made by combining crumbled sausage (sweet or spicy, depending on what you’re craving) with tender strips of sweet bell pepper and onion. Combine with a few classic pizza toppings — tomato sauce, shredded mozzarella and creamy ricotta cheese.
One pound of store-bought pizza dough (or homemade if you’re feeling up to it) will be enough to make four calzones. Stuff the filling into the balls of pizza dough and fold and crimp the edges around the meaty filling. A light coating of olive oil helps the dough brown in a very hot oven. Crank your oven up as high as it will go (most home ovens will reach somewhere between 475 and 500 F). The hotter the oven, the closer you’ll get to the flavor of a traditional pizzeria.
Technique Tip: If your pizza dough starts shrinking back as you’re rolling it out, let the dough rest for about 10 minutes, then try again.
Swap Option: Swap the sausage for chopped pepperoni, or make it vegetarian by adding more vegetables or using a plant-based meat substitute.
Get Ingredients: If you don’t have everything you need on hand, you can easily purchase all of the ingredients (just click the orange button below that says ‘Get Ingredients’). You can pick and choose exactly what ingredients you need based on what’s in your pantry and they’ll be on your doorstep before you know it.
Preheat the oven to 500 F with a pizza stone or heavy baking sheet placed on the bottom rack.2.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a large skillet set over medium-high. Add sausage and cook, breaking up the meat with the back of a spoon, until well browned and cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage to a large bowl. Discard all but 2 tablespoons of fat from the pan. Add peppers, onions, salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and browned in places, 6 to 8 minutes. Add to the bowl with the sausage; let cool to room temperature.3.
Add ricotta, mozzarella and marinara to the sausage mixture and stir to combine.4.
Dust a clean work surface with flour, then divide pizza dough into four equal pieces. Working with one piece of dough at a time (and keeping the remaining loosely covered with plastic wrap or a clean dish towel), roll the dough ball into a 9-inch circle. Spoon 1/4 of the sausage mixture into the center of the portioned dough, then fold the dough in half to cover the filling. Roll and crimp the edges to seal the dough together. Repeat with the remaining pizza dough and filling.5.
Brush the top of each calzone with olive oil, then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and more black pepper. Cut 3 small slits on the top of each calzone. Place each calzone on the pizza stone (or baking sheet) and bake until puffed and golden brown, about 20 minutes. Let cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.