I love homemade pizza and calzones. Growing up, my dad made these amazing, gooey calzones. He and my mom liked the kind with spinach and veggies like roasted red peppers and artichoke hearts. As a kid, I liked the kind with sauce and pepperoni; it wasn’t until I was an adult that I appreciated the veggie kind. My husband makes calzones with provolone cheese and different kinds of meat – they’re his specialty besides grilling. They’re so delicious – he brushes them with an egg wash so they come out golden and gooey with just a hint of salt from the meat he uses.
I’ve adapted this recipe from a Rachael Ray one I found in one of her cookbooks. I wanted a little more taste to the filling, so I switched it up a little from what she had but it’s the same basic idea. I used turkey sausage here, but feel free to use pork sausage. The turkey sausage has less fat so I can pretend this is a healthy dinner.
What I like about this dinner is how creamy the ricotta gets. It just makes it seem a little sweeter than if you used mozzarella by itself.
Sausage and Ricotta Calzones
- 1 1/4 lbs sweet turkey sausage (or hot, depending on your preference)
- 1 small onion, quartered and thinly sliced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 7 oz jar roasted red peppers, chopped
- 2 cups part skim ricotta cheese
- 2-3 tablespoons crushed tomatoes (optional)
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- pinch of nutmeg
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tubes of refrigerated pizza dough (or your favorite pizza dough)
Preheat oven to 425.
In a large skillet, brown sausage until no longer pink. Add the sliced onions and minced garlic and cook until onions are softened, about five to seven minutes. Stir in crushed tomatoes if using. Put aside to cool.
Place sausage mixture in a large mixing bowl. Add ricotta, parmesan cheese, 1 cup of shredded mozzarella, diced roasted peppers, nutmeg, and salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
Create four rectangles with your pizza dough (if you use the tube dough, you need to cut the dough from each tub in half so you have two rectangles for each tube). On one half of the rectangle, mound up filling and 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella (you will probably have extra filling – it’s awesome mixed with hot pasta or just reheated with garlic bread). Fold the other side of the rectangle over the filling and pinch the sides together so the filling can’t spill out.
Bake at 425 until golden brown – 12 to 17 minutes. If you don’t have a huge cookie sheet, you will have to use two. Dip in your favorite marinara sauce if you are so inclined.