Not Martha

yummy calzones

The last time I made these calzones I accidentally burned my finger and needed to keep it wrapped up for a month. I went back and made them again, they are that yummy. I recommend using spicy Italian sausage. I think the way the recipe has you shape the calzones on parchment and bake it right on that parchment is really smart, and saved me spilling little ball bearings of corn meal all over my kitchen floor.

If you’d like to freeze them: cook them all the way, allow to cool to room temperature on a cooling rack. Stick the calzone, on it’s bit of parchment, into a freezer bag. To reheat, cook at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes.

Ricotta Calzones with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe
adapted from Baking Illustrated

makes six good sized calzones

for the dough

4 cups (22 ounces) bread flour

1 envelope (about 2 1/4 teaspoons) instant yeast (rapid rise counts here)

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon warm water (about 110 degrees)

for the filling

1 (15-ounce) container whole milk ricotta cheese

8 ounces (2 cups) mozzarella cheese, shredded

1 1/2 ounces (about 3/4 cup) grated Parmesan cheese

1 large egg yolk

1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano leaves

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

8 ounces Italian sausage, hot or sweet (I recommend hot)

12 ounces broccoli rabe (aka rappini)

3 medium garlic cloves, about 1 tablespoon, minced or put through a press

1/4 teaspoon red hot pepper flakes

extra-virgin olive oil for brushing on the shaped calzones
Kosher salt for sprinkling the calzones

1. Make dough. (The first time I made these I used frozen pizza dough and it worked just fine, but the dough for these is super easy.) Whisk flour, yeast and salt in the bowl of a standing mixer. Use the dough hook, turn the mixer to medium-low and add the olive oil, then gradually add the water. Mix until a smooth, elastic dough comes together, about 10 minutes. Spray a large bowl with nonstick cooking spray, form the dough into a ball, place it in the bowl and cover the bowl with plastic wrap that has also been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. (I was surprised at how quickly the dough rose. Alton Brown tip: spray things nonstick cooking spray over the open door of your dishwasher, it spares your floor from getting slippery and the inside of the dishwasher will be cleaned anyhow.) Let the dough rise in a warm spot (the top of my fridge does wonders) for 1.5 to 2 hours, until it’s doubled in size.

2. Make the filling. (The first time I made these I just threw together some browned sausage and sauteed broccoli rabe, garlic and pepper flakes with ricotta. The entire cheese mixture is yummier but if you’re into less fuss it worked out fine.) Combine cheeses, egg yolk, oregano, salt and black pepper in a medium bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.

3. Remove casing from Italian sausage (I can find it un-cased in with the ground meats if you’re, you know, into grocery store sausage). Wash and dry broccoli rabe and trim the stalks to about 1 inch below leaves. Cut broccoli rabe crosswise into 1-inch pieces. Cook sausage in a large skillet until brown, breaking into 1/2 inch chunks, about 4 minutes. Stir in minced garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant (like 10 seconds, seconds!). Stir in broccoli rabe, 1 tablespoon water and 1/8 tablespoon salt. Cook stirring constantly until broccoli rabe is crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Transfer mixture to paper towel lined plate so it will absorb extra moisture. (Wet filling will steam and possibly burst the calzones while baking.) Set aside to cool to room temperature.

4. Set oven to 500 degrees, allow to preheat for 30 minutes. Do not burn your thumb! Use a pizza stone if you have one, set rack to lowest position. (I am lame and do not have a pizza stone. I used a perforated pizza tray.)

5. Prepare to fill. Divide risen dough onto unfloured surface and divide into six pieces. Shape into balls and transfer to nonstick sprayed parchment lined baking sheet, cover with nonstick spray sprayed plastic wrap. Let the dough rest for at least 15 minutes, no longer than 30 minutes.

6. Cut eight 9-inch squares of parchment. Check your email or do some dishes.

7. Plop a ball of dough onto a parchment square and roll the ball out into a 9 inch round. Place a second square of parchment on top of it. Continue until you have two stacks of three rounds of dough. Grab a dough rounds still on it’s square and prepare to fill. Put down 1/6th (duh) of the ricotta mixture on half the round, put 1/6th of the broccoli rabe and sausage on top. Fold over, twist the edges together prettily. Trim the excess parchment from around the edges of the calzone (it’ll be slid into the oven right on top of the parchment, handy no?). Brush the tops with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and score the tops to make a few vents.

8. Slide the calzones (still on their little half circles of parchment) onto the pizza stone, or just put them on a baking sheet. (Be sure to use some good oven mitts when you get in there.) Bake until the calzones are golden brown, about 11 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool (they’ll slip right off the parchment), 5 minutes.

the upskirt:

· comments [24] · 06-1-2007 · categories:food · recipes ·

24 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Cara // Jun 1, 2007 at 6:34 am

    this looks scrumptious :) i love rappini and cheese and sausage and in dough, yum… i think i’ll wait until fall to try this recipe though, a 500 degree oven will heat my house a good bit!

    beautiful photos too!

  • 2 Miss Sassy // Jun 1, 2007 at 7:11 am

    Holy broccoli that looks delicious! It is still morning here but I would take on in a heartbeat. What a great tutorial, as usual. Dough sounds good for the bread machine on the “dough” setting. Can you envision any other fillings? My husband can’t stand most vegetables, silly guy.

  • 3 megan // Jun 1, 2007 at 7:46 am

    Miss Sassy – Sorry to hear about your husband. The original just calls for the cheese mixture with a little bit of olive oil and pepper flakes heated in oil. You’d definitely want a spicy tomato sauce for dipping with that one. Otherwise skip the greens and just add sausage perhaps.

  • 4 nazilam // Jun 1, 2007 at 2:32 pm

    I’m going to make these too.. as soon as its back down to a manageable 64 degrees in the emerald city.

    I love Skagit Ranch (I think that is the name) italian sausage. We buy it at the U. District Market, so I’ll pick some up this week.

    Thanks Megan, keep those dinner ideas coming…


  • 5 MadCarlotta // Jun 1, 2007 at 3:13 pm

    Oh Megan, you are absolutely killing me lately with your high hat cupcake links, homemade oreos and now these!

    I’m on Atkins. =\ Of course I could always just eat the filling….

  • 6 megan // Jun 1, 2007 at 3:24 pm

    MadCarlotta – Oh yes, made the filling and eat it in a low carb wrapper of some sort, worth a shot.

  • 7 Lenore // Jun 1, 2007 at 3:51 pm

    Those look lovely. As far as freezing and reheating goes, we cool our calzones to room temp, put them in a ziploc freezer bag and put them in the freezer. Since they are usually being saved for lunches, they get reheated in the microwave at work, which seems to work fine. However, the kiddo will take them to school where there isn’t a microwave and eat them at room temp. He thinks they’re great that way.

  • 8 iona // Jun 1, 2007 at 9:00 pm

    How utterly beautiful yours calzones are….wow. So much better than the photo in the Baking Illustrated book – there is no comparison.

    Thanks so much for this recipe. I confess that I actually just got back from Barnes and Noble, where I furtively photographed the pages that this recipe was on, after seeing your photographs of the calzones on flickr. I’m not a baker by any means, and don’t even like cake and pastries, so didn’t want to spend 25.00 on a book I would never use again. So out of guilt I bought a book on using native stone to landscape your backyard and another book about Japanese crafts and another on creating outdoor rooms.

  • 9 MJN // Jun 2, 2007 at 5:13 am

    For freezing: Cool, put in freezer bag, don’t let calzones touch each other. Or freeze on cookie sheet then put in freezer bag. Depending on the filling, calzones are great at room temperature. That means you can throw a frozen one in your backpack and it will be perfect for lunch: These are my favorite day hiking foods.

  • 10 CraftyElf // Jun 2, 2007 at 5:02 pm

    Wow, looks delicious! Have had some trouble freezing cooked broccoli before when it turned out spongy after defrosting. Hope the broccoli rabe freezes okay.

  • 11 Haven // Jun 3, 2007 at 12:58 am

    Looks yum! I’ve only ever made calzones with a combo of salami, provolone, mozarella, parmesean and ham (no veggies, very man-friendly), layer upon layer with a bit of oregano and basil sprinkled in-between. They are great right out of the oven, but MUCH better the next day nuked in the microwave after the flavors have a chance to “mingle” overnight in the fridge. Thanks for the advice on freezing, haven’t tried that yet.

  • 12 luv Abby // Jun 3, 2007 at 2:40 am

    Hey there,
    YUM I made these for dinner tonight and although I used puff pastry they were YUM YUM YUM…I was so impressed that I even posted them on my blog (

  • 13 Carrie // Jun 4, 2007 at 4:54 am

    I made these yesterday and they turned out awesome. I was debating just using store bought dough since I’ve had trouble in the past with pizza dough. I didn’t and I was pleasantly surprised at how easy the dough was to make.

    I couldn’t find broccoli rabe at my gorcery store, so I just used spinach instead. I also used hot turkey italian sausage and low-fat ricotta in an effort to a little more healthy, which I don’t think affected the final product much at all.

    I’ve never really considered making calzones before, but after one try I’m hooked. My husband’s already brainstorming alternate fillings. Thanks for the great recipe!

  • 14 Jen // Jun 4, 2007 at 7:29 am

    are you finding either here or on flickr, that you’re getting ridiculous extra traffic for using the words upskirt shot? I used the word upshot on flickr once, and that happened, it puzzled me for a while because I could tell that they weren’t looking at anything else, or even spending more than a split second on my photo.

  • 15 megan // Jun 4, 2007 at 7:49 am

    Jen – The traffic doesn’t stand out, but thanks for the warning, I didn’t even consider how very wrong the word is.

  • 16 Anonymous // Jun 4, 2007 at 10:14 am

    Delicious Looking Calzones…

    I can’t cook but I am willing to learn if I get to have these….

  • 17 NKAC // Jun 5, 2007 at 1:37 pm

    Thanks for sharing your wonderful ideas! Have you thought of putting mini-movies out?

  • 18 melanie watts // Jun 7, 2007 at 6:55 am

    I made these the other night. we ate them all in one sitting, there were three off us. But, when I was in the grocery store buying the ingredients I got spinach instead of rappini, brain fog? I used regular yeast, raised first in a cup before adding it to the dough. I hate instant yeast it never works for me. I will definitely make these again, with rappini.

  • 19 megan // Jun 7, 2007 at 7:09 am

    Melanie – It makes sense. I think it was a better choice than the broccolini I used when I couldn’t find broccoli rabe last night.

  • 20 powlita // Jun 11, 2007 at 7:52 am

    Hello. Have you found the best way to freeze these? I’m just itching to make a million of these and putting then in the freezer.

  • 21 megan // Jun 11, 2007 at 8:42 am

    Powlita – I’ll be doing my last test this evening and I’ll be sure to update if it works.

  • 22 acy // May 25, 2009 at 10:14 pm

    This recipe appeared in Cooks Illustrated Sept/Oct 2003 issue.

  • 23 The Purple Foodie // Jul 14, 2009 at 9:07 pm

    Looks so delicious. I have got to come back to this!

  • 24 Adrienne // Jun 26, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    I just made grilled chicken and spinach calzones, and I’m so bad at working with pizza dough! Yours are much prettier than mine. Good work.

    I Googled how to freeze calzones, and yours was the first to come up! Thanks for the help.

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