• Magnificent ‘sausage’ calzones!

    Photo: Randy Graham, Valley Vegetarian

    One dictionary defines a calzone as “a type of pizza that is folded in half before cooking to contain a filling.” I say it’s a wonderfully different addition to your home cooking repertoire.

    It is said that calzones originated, as did the pizza, in Naples, Italy. In Naples, pizzas were one-person pies. Whoever created the first calzone used the dough from an individual pizza, folding it over the ingredients in a half moon shape.

    Calzones today are generally the same size as the individual pizzas. You will see larger calzones on some menus in America but I prefer the individual size best. If one of my 6-inch calzones is not enough for you — eat two!

    The yeast dough and Italian sausage filling gives this calzone a fresh change from the pizzeria oven taste and the recipe goes from prep to table in less than 60 minutes.

    Filling Ingredients:
    1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
    1 package Lightlife Smart Sausages – Italian Style
    1 cup marinara sauce + 1 cup for dipping
    1 cup shredded mozzarella

    Dough Ingredients:
    1 cup lukewarm water
    1 package (2¼ tsp) active dry yeast
    ½ teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon sugar
    2 tablespoons vegetable oil
    2½ cups flour
    Extra virgin olive oil for brushing dough
    2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese (dusting)

    Filling directions:
    Heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat.

    Use 2 of the sausages and save the other two for another meal (or double the other ingredients to double the recipe using all 4 sausages).

    Cut each of the sausages in half and cook in the skillet until warmed through — about 4 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in marinara sauce, cover and set aside.

    Dough directions:
    Place warm water and yeast into the bowl of an electric mixer with the dough hook attachment. I often use a hand mixer with one beater attachment for small batches like this. Let the yeast and warm water sit for a about 4-5 minutes to proof.

    Add salt, sugar and oil and mix on low speed. Gradually add the flour and mix until dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl.

    Empty the dough onto a floured work surface and knead by hand for 3-4 minutes. Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a circle about 6 inches in diameter. Use the rim of a 5½-inch bowl (I use a Duralex 26cm prep bowl) to cut out four circles of dough.


    Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

    Place one sausage half and sauce onto one half of each of the circles of dough. Top the sausage filling with mozzarella cheese. Fold the empty half of the dough over and crimp shut.

    Transfer them from your work surface to a parchment lined baking sheet. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let them rise for 20 minutes.

    Brush each calzone with the olive oil and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake for about 14 minutes or until the tops begin to brown. Serve with warm marinara sauce for dipping.

    Photo: Randy Graham, Valley Vegetarian

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