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.