Friday, May 1, 2009

Sausage and Pepper Calzone

This was a crowd pleaser: spicy sausage, gooey cheese and a delicious homemade tomato sauce. And best of all ... quick and easy to make! I've made calzones before. Small individual sized calzones. Painful and time consuming so I usually end up making pizza instead. When I saw the recipe for Sausage and Pepper Calzones over at Cinnamon Spice & Everything Nice, I knew it was one I'd have to try. It makes one *giant* calzone for the family to share. Brilliant! So much quicker that paired with a bagged salad this was the perfect hectic weeknight meal.

Sausage and Pepper Calzone
Recipe from Cinnamon Spice & Everything Nice

Pizza dough (my recipe, your own favorite, or store bought)
15 ounces Ricotta cheese
12 ounces Mozzarella, shredded
Olive Oil
5 Italian Sausages
1 Green Pepper
1 large onion
Tomato Sauce (my recipe to follow)
Parmesan Cheese

1. Cook the sausage, peppers and onions in a large skillet until the Sausage is cooked thoroughly. Remove the sausages to cutting board and slice in ½ inch slices. Set aside.

2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Oil a large baking sheet. With a rolling pin roll out the dough to fit the baking sheet or use your hands to stretch it to fit.

3. Mix the Ricotta cheese with half of the Mozzarella. Spoon the filling evenly on half of the dough leaving a one inch border around the edge. Sprinkle with the remaining Mozzarella, then the sausage slices, onions and peppers.

4. Gently fold over the dough to cover the filling. Pinch edges together all the way around.

5. Make a knife slit in the top to let steam escape while cooking.

6. Can brush with an egg wash if desired but not necessary. Beat one egg with and brush all over dough.

7. Cook for 20-22 minutes until dough is golden brown. Let set for five minutes before slicing. Top with tomato sauce. Serve with Parmesan Cheese.

Tomato Sauce

1 large onion, diced
1 green pepper julienned
2 tablespoons Olive Oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 can tomato paste
28 oz. can Crushed Tomatoes (like Tuttarosa)
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons dried Italian Seasonings (We use a mix that has basil, oregano, thyme, marjoram and rosemary in it)
1 teaspoon dried sage
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon salt (to start and more to taste)
¼ teaspoon black pepper (to start and more to taste)
Pinch of sugar

1. In a large pan sauté the onion and green pepper in Olive Oil until soft; add garlic and sauté for another minute or two.

2. Add tomato paste. Stir it into the onion and garlic mixture and let it heat through. Add tomatoes, water seasonings including bay leaves, salt, pepper and pinch of sugar.

3. Simmer for 45 minutes. Taste and add salt/pepper and more dried seasonings if needed. Remove bay leaves before serving.

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