Homemade calzones are filled with 3 cheeses and sausage.
Originally published on January 4, 2008 – Since it’s Father’s Day, I thought I’d bring back one of my husband’s favorite recipes. He loves calzones, and fell back in love with this recipe when I recently remade them. They take a little time since you are making the dough from scratch, but they are totally worth it!!
My mom called me this morning, and during our conversation, she asked me if my husband and I ever go out to eat. I told her that we don’t go to restaurants very often, and when we do, I am usually disappointed because I can usually make the same thing better at home. Not to make it sound like I am a better cook than most restaurants out here, but it just seems like the quality has been lacking the last times that we have been out. There is a restaurant in Park City called the Main Street Pizza and Noodle that we really enjoy whenever we are up in Park City. And they make a delicious calzone. But seeing that it is tourist season in Park City, and especially since it’s almost time for the Sundance Film Festival, we will be steering clear of Park City for the next few months. (Neither of us are fans of the crowds, or the fact that the prices go up during the tourist/ski season!) So what do we do instead? Make our own calzones!!
I’m not a stranger to calzones. I have a recipe that I have made multiple times, and it’s pretty rare for me to make the same recipe multiple times. So what persuaded me to try this recipe? Because it’s America’s Test Kitchen!!
I had an easy time choosing the first recipe from this month’s Cookbook of the Month – The New Best Recipe. I was going through the book after I received it, and once I saw that there was a chapter on pizza, calzones, and focaccia, I immediately went to that chapter.
In the heading for calzones, it says that what they were looking for when creating the perfect calzone was “a crisp crust that had plenty of chew, with a healthy proportion of rich, creamy, flavorful filling.” I love it when someone else does the research and testing for me, because these calzones came out perfectly the first time!! I would say that they are better than my tried and true recipe, and my husband claimed that this was the best calzone dough that he had ever had.
I chose to make the Ricotta Calzones with the addition of sausage. In the book, there is an option for Ricotta Calzones with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe, but I didn’t have any of the broccoli, so I left that out. I do wish that I would have replaced it with another vegetable, though. My husband and I thought that mushrooms would have been a perfect addition to these.
One thing I especially loved about this recipe is that it is easily halved. The original recipe makes 6 calzones, but it was easy to cut down to make only 3. One suggestion I have if you are a recipe-half-er like me is to buy your yeast in the small jars instead of the packages. It’s a lot easier to measure the yeast out of the jar instead of opening a package, having to measure it, and then store the rest of the little package. The recipe listed below is the full recipe – not the halved recipe.
This recipe is quite long, but in reality, it is quite easy to put together, so don’t let the length deter you.
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Homemade calzones are filled with 3 cheeses and sausage.
- 4 cups (22 ounces) bread flour
- 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
- 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon warm water
- 1 15-ounce container whole-milk ricotta cheese
- 8 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
- 1 1/2 ounces freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano leaves
- 1/4 teaspoon table salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 8 ounces hot or sweet sausage
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Extra-virgin olive oil for brushing on tops
- Kosher salt or coarse sea salt for sprinkling on tops
Make the dough:
- In the bowl of a mixer, combine the flour, yeast and salt. Using the dough hook with the mixer on medium-low speed, add the olive oil. Gradually add the water. Continue to mix until it comes together into a soft, elastic dough. This will take about 10 minutes.
- Spray a large bowl with cooking spray. Remove the dough from the mixer bowl and add the dough to the bowl. Cover with a towel or plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in a warm spot until doubles, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Make the filling:
- In a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, mozzarella, Parmesan, egg yolk, oregano, salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until needed.
- Remove the casings from the sausage. Cook the sausage in a skillet, breaking it up as it cooks until it is cooked through. Stir in the garlic and the red pepper flakes until fragrant, about 10 seconds and then remove from heat. Set aside to cool, then stir into the cheese mixture.
- Place an oven rack at the lowest position in the oven and set a pizza stone on the rack. Heat the oven to 500F and heat for at least 30 minutes.
- Divide the dough in half. Divide each half into thirds so that you have 6 pieces of dough. Shape each piece of dough into a ball and set on a piece of parchment paper that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Cover them with plastic wrap and let them rest for 15 to 30 minutes.
- Cut 6 9-inch squares of parchment paper. Roll each piece of dough into a 9-inch circle and set on a piece of parchment.
- Form the calzones by dividing the filling between each of the 6 rounds of dough. Fold the top half of the dough over, leaving a 1/2-inch border uncovered. Lightly press the dough to seal it. Starting at one end, place your index finger diagonally across the edge and pull the bottom layer of the dough over the tip of your finger. Repeat until the filling is sealed inside the calzone.
- With a sharp paring knife or a razor blade, cut 5 slits, about 1 1/2 inches long each, diagonally across the top of each calzone. Do not cut through the calzone, just the top layer.
- Brush the top of each calzone with olive oil, then sprinkle with coarse salt. Trim the excess parchment from around the calzone and slide the calzone onto a pizza peel. Slide them into the oven on the pizza stone. Bake until they are golden brown, about 11 minutes.
- Remove to a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes before serving.
very slightly adapted from The New Best Recipe