Homemade Calzones With Italian Sausage and Mozzarella

I signed my older two boys up for swim team for eight weeks this summer for the very first time. They’ve taken lessons before, and they are in the pool every day they can be, but swimming competitively is definitely a new endeavor. I felt like a mean mom when I signed them up, thinking of all the laps they’d have to endure day in and day out. But I knew we’d need an outing each day, they love to swim, and doing “hard things” is good for us.

Homemade Calzones - Warm, soft pockets of pizza dough stuffed with Italian sausage, marinara, and mozzarella cheese.

I anticipated that my boys would look at me longingly from the edge of the pool, pleading with those goggle covered eyes for me to come and rescue them. But to my surprise, we made it through the first week without any tears at all. They actually like it! They surely aren’t the fastest swimmers out there, but I’m super proud of them for having good attitudes and giving it all they’ve got. I know I’d be crying if I had to swim all those laps!

Homemade Calzones - Warm, soft pockets of pizza dough stuffed with Italian sausage, marinara, and mozzarella cheese.

So with my boys doing all that swimming, their appetites are through the roof! We went to In-N-Out for dinner tonight (sorry all you non-Westcoasters) and Little Boy #1 demolished his very first Double Double with fries. And then asked if we could buy him another one because he was still hungry!

Homemade Calzones - Warm, soft pockets of pizza dough stuffed with Italian sausage, marinara, and mozzarella cheese.

These Homemade Calzones filled with Italian Sausage and Mozzarella are so filling they will satisfy even the hungriest of eaters. You can go about making them a couple of ways… If you have time to try making the dough from scratch, that’s great. But if not, feel free to use ready made pizza dough. I love the one you can buy from Trader Joe’s in the refrigerated section.

Homemade Calzones - Warm, soft pockets of pizza dough stuffed with Italian sausage, marinara, and mozzarella cheese.

You can also fill them with your favorite pizza toppings. Just be careful not to overfill them or they will leak in the oven. If you use Italian sausage or ground beef for the filling, you will mix in some jarred marinara sauce with the meat. Then use the extra sauce to serve with the calzones for dipping.

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Homemade Calzones With Italian Sausage and Mozzarella
Author: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients:
Filling
  • 3/4 lb sweet Italian sausage (I used three Johnsonville links with casing removed)
  • 1/2 cup jarred marinara sauce (reserve extra marinara for dipping)
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
For the Dough
  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 1 pkg. active dry yeast (2 1/4 tsp.)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 1/2 to 3 cups flour
  • 1 egg + 1 tablespoon water beaten together (egg wash)
  • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese (the kind you shake is ok)
Directions:
For the Filling
  1. Brown sausage in a medium pan over high heat until it is cooked through. Drain excess oil. Stir in marinara sauce. Remove from heat and set aside.
For the Dough
  1. Place warm water and yeast into the bowl of an electric mixer with the dough hook attachment, and let it sit for a few minutes to activate the yeast.
  2. Then add salt, sugar, and oil and mix on low speed. Gradually add 2 1/2 cups of flour and turn speed up to medium.
  3. If dough is still very sticky, add up to 1/2 cup more flour so that the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
  4. Continue to knead with the dough hook for a few minutes. The dough will form a ball around the hook. If you do not have a dough hook attachment, knead by hand on your floured work surface for a few minutes.
  5. Remove the dough from the hook and roll it out to 1/2 inch thick on a well floured surface. Using a biscuit cutter or the rim of a 3 inch glass, cut out six circles in the dough.
  6. Roll out each circle to about 8 inches in diameter, dusting with flour as needed so you dough won't stick to the rolling pin or work surface.
  7. Divide the prepared sausage filling 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 the filling, pinching the edges closed. I like to use the tines of a fork, or the rim of a spoon to create a "scalloped" edge.
  8. Transfer them from your work surface to a Silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  9. Cover the uncooked calzones with a clean kitchen towel and let them rise while the oven preheats to 400 degrees.
  10. When the oven is ready, brush each calzone with the egg wash and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
  11. Bake for 12-14 minutes. The top of the calzones should be golden brown.
  12. Serve with warmed marinara.

Comments

  1. Min says

    Wow! Looks like you’ve got your work cut out for you! 2 lil’ swimmers? These calzones look amazing! I can’t wait to make this for my husband who thinks he’s still growing.

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