Friday, September 20, 2013

Sausage and Cheese Calzones With Chunky Marinara

These calzones couldn't be easier to make. Using homemade or prepared (gasp!) pizza dough, a savory cheesy filling with some sautéed veggies, and a chunky marinara, you can whip these up in no time.
sausage and cheese calzone recipe

 Like so many of the meals served in my house, this idea for dinner came about midway through the day whilst mentally making a list of the items I had that were readily available to whip up.
I always keep a prepared pizza dough on hand for times like this. I find it rolls out really easy if it's removed from the refrigerator and brought to room temperature.
calzone cheese marinara sausage
I then sautéed an onion with some chopped mushrooms and a small eggplant from my garden.
Once the veggies were softened, I added in some spicy sausage to the mix and continued to sauté until the sausage was cooked through.
calzone recipe sausage and cheese calzone

In a separate bowl, I mixed together some ricotta, mozzarella, and parmesan.
When the veggies were cool enough, I added them to the cheese, and voila!, I had my filling.
I separated my dough into four even parts, rolled them out, stuffed, and folded them up. Then, in the oven they went.
Since this was dinner on the fly, I did something totally out of character, and served these with a jarred (OMG, what???) marinara.
calzone sausage cheese marinara

Were they fast?
Were they fabulous?
Oh yeah.

Sausage and Cheese Calzones With Chunky Marinara
Makes 4 Calzones

1 lb prepared pizza dough, room temperature
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, diced
4 oz mushrooms, chopped
1 small eggplant, chopped
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
fresh ground pepper
1/2 lb spicy Italian sausage
8 oz ricotta cheese
1 cup grated mozzarella
1/2 cup grated parmesan
2 eggs, divided
2 tsp chopped fresh oregano
1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
1 jar marinara sauce

Divide pizza dough into four equal sections. Working with one section at a time, roll each into a thin circle on a floured surface. Set aside on a parchment lined baking sheet.
In a heavy bottomed skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onion, mushrooms, and eggplant. Add salt and pepper and saute' until veggies are softened, about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
In a medium sized bowl, combine ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan, 1 egg, and chopped herbs. Stir well to combine. 
Add cooled veggies to cheese mixture and stir to combine.
Place 1/2 cup filling onto one half of each section of dough. Fold dough over the filling and press to seal the edges. Use a fork to seal completely.
In a small bowl, beat remaining egg with 1 Tbsp of water. Using a pastry brush, brush the surface of each calzone with the egg wash.
Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until the tops of the calzones start to brown.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.
Serve with warmed marinara sauce on the side.

You can use any veggie you have on hand. Roasted red peppers, spinach, and artichokes would all be delicious.
You will have leftover filling. I am planning to use mine for a crustless quiche...I'll let you know how that turns out!