Who doesn’t love a calzone? This recipe is quick and easily adaptable for your family's favorites. If you follow the basic steps in this recipe, you can substitute all types of veggies, proteins and cheeses. If you have kids, it can be fun to get a few balls of dough and let them choose their personal combinations. Mozzarella cheese can also be used instead of ricotta if you prefer a stringier experience!
1 ball of pizza dough
1 pound sweet Italian sausage loose or rope
1 cup Fulper Farm ricotta cheese
2 cups pizza sauce (for dipping)
2 cups chard
2 cups grape tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pinch of chili flakes (if you like spice)
Salt and pepper to taste
Want more veggies? Broccoli, mushrooms, red peppers, onions, garlic and even kale work great in this version.
Step 1: Defrost and prep the 'zone dough.
The night before you plan to make your calzone, put frozen dough in the fridge to defrost. (If your dough arrived partially defrosted, you can either put in the fridge to bake the next day or you can place it back in freezer for another day.)
Once fully defrosted, remove the dough from the fridge and leave to sit at room temperature for 2 hours prior to cooking. This helps wake the yeast back up and adds more flavor to your dough. Do not forget and leave your dough out longer than 2 hours; the yeast may get too excited and your dough could expand beyond the bag it is in.
Once your dough is ready, flatten it into a flat, round shape on a lightly floured surface. You can do this with your hands or use a rolling pin. The dough will resist flattening a bit, so take your time. You want it less than 1/4 inch thick.
Important! Once you start adding ingredients to the calzone, the dough may want to stick to the surface it is on. If you have a pizza stone (more about this below), build the calzone on a floured surface from which you can easily slide it onto the hot stone in your over. If using a baking tray to cook the calzone, simply drizzle some olive oil on the pan before building your calzone and place the entire tray in the oven.
Step 2: Prep your 'zone ingredients
Rinse and chop chard (if using other veggies, do the same).
In a pan with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, sauté sausage. We recommend making a small cut in the sausage casing and squeezing the sausage out of the casing into the pan. The sausage is already seasoned, so no need to add salt. Sauté until mostly cooked. Remove from heat and let cool a bit.
In another pan, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to medium heat. Add chard (or other vegetables); sauté until fully cooked and tender. Add grape tomatoes for the last minute of cooking. Remove from heat.
Note: One pan alert! Feel free to cook sausage 75%, then add the veggies to same pan.
Step 2.5: Heat the oven for the 'zone
Okay, important step. Pizza and calzones need to be cooked in a screaming hot oven. Ideally on a pizza stone. If you have a pizza stone, place it in the oven and set your temp to 500 or 550 degrees F. You want the oven to come to temp with the stone in it so that the stone crisps the dough instantly when it makes contact.
If you don’t have a stone, no worries. Still heat your oven to 500 degrees F.
Step 3: Prep the 'zone surface and station
Depending on if you are using a pizza stone or a metal baking tray/sheet, you will want to choose where you are making the pizza. If using a stone, prep a surface (ideally a pizza peel) that can be used to slide the calzone onto the hot stone. Flour the surface lightly.
If using a metal baking sheet, oil it lightly and build your calzone directly on it. Since the tray will go in the oven with the calzone, no need to flour it for sliding purposes.
Step 4: Make the 'zone
If you followed the steps in order, your pizza dough should be nice and flat and ready to rock. Place it on your prepped surface. Time to add the ingredients! Note: You want to add them fast, as they can make the dough soggy. Try to get the dough in the oven within 2 minutes of adding your first topping.
Add sausage and veggies to center of dough. Add 1-2 cups of ricotta, depending on your cheesiness.
Note: You can spoon a bit of pizza sauce into the calzone, but we find doing so makes it a bit soggy. We recommend warming the sauce in a pan before placing in a bowl for dipping.
Once all the ingredients are heaped on the dough, fold it over and pinch the sides, making sure it is nice and sealed. Poke a few fork holes in the top and place in the oven.
Step 5. Bake the 'zone
Once the calzone is in your already hot oven, it should bake in about 5-10 minutes (depending on your oven and if you used a stone or a tray). You can tell it is done when the top of the dough has a nice, toasted brown color. Some juices should be bubbling out of the holes you made.
Step 6. Scarf the 'zone
Remove from oven. Let cool a bit. Slice into 1-inch pieces. Dip in pizza sauce, and enjoy!