I don’t usually cook on Fridays nights. After a long week of working, cleaning, cooking, blogging, mothering, wife-ing, daughtering and a lot of general running around, I’m pooped! Sometimes we’ll get take-out. And, sometimes we’ll just go out. Last Friday night, though, the weather sucked. It was rainy, foggy and gross. I decided that going out for dinner was going to be more trouble than it was worth, so I graciously offered to cook so that we could stay warm and dry at home, and save a few bucks in the process. I’m really considerate that way. Mr. SGCC was all for it.
I was originally going to make sausage and peppers over pasta. But, then I remembered the cute little calzone mold that I’d picked up recently, so I decided to make sausage and peppers calzones instead. I definitely didn’t want to mess with making dough from scratch, so I picked up some refrigerated pizza dough on the way home from my aforementioned running around.
There are lots of different ways to make sausage and peppers. Some fry the sausage. Some add tomato sauce. Not me. I bake my sausage until it’s almost cooked through, and then I slice it and add it to the peppers to finish. Doing it this way eliminates a lot of extra grease (Who needs that?), yet still allows the sausage juices to flavor the rest of the dish. And to me, tomato sauce in sausage and peppers is just plain wrong!
I must admit, I’d never used sausage and peppers as a filling for calzones before. I was a little concerned that the filling would be too “wet” and soak through the dough. But, after draining out as much liquid as possible before I filled the calzones, it worked just fine.
Don’t they look good?
Making sausage and peppers is really easy. Come on! I’ll show you…
And, if you use a ready made pizza dough, the calzones are a snap too. Of course, if you have the time and want to make your dough from scratch, more power to you! I have better things to do on a Friday night.
These Sausage and Peppers Calzones are perfect for a casual, rainy day meal, but they’d make a great party dish too, (think Super Bowl). They’re hearty, delicious and self-contained. We loved them! I hope you do too.
Easy Sausage and Peppers Calzones
1 pound sweet Italian sausage
1 pound hot Italian sausage
6 tablespoons olive oil
3 red bell peppers, sliced into strips
3 yellow bell peppers, sliced into strips
2 large sweet onions, sliced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 cup chicken stock
2 packages refrigerated pizza dough
1/2 pound fresh mozzarella, sliced
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, F.
2. Place sausages in one layer on a shallow baking sheet and toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until slightly browned and almost completely cooked through. Remove from oven and when cool enough to handle, slice into 1/2-inch slices and set aside.
3. While sausage is baking, Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the peppers and onions and sauté for about 10-12 minutes. Add the garlic and Italian seasoning and sauté about 3 minutes more. Adjust the heat if needed to avoid burning.
4. Add the sliced sausage to the skillet with the vegetables. Pour in the chicken stock and cover. Cook for about 10 minutes more, until peppers and onions are very soft and sausage is cooked through. Take the lid off and simmer a few more minutes to reduce the liquid in the pan. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
5. Meanwhile, raise the oven temperature to 400 degrees, F. Put a pizza stone in the oven and preheat for about 15 minutes. If you don’t have a pizza stone, you can use a shallow baking sheet. You don’t have to preheat it.
6. Unroll pizza dough on to a lightly floured surface and cut out two 6-7 inch circles of dough. Gather the scraps together and roll out dough to make a third circle. If using a calzone press, place one dough circle on the open press. Place a generous scoop of sausage mixture in the center. Make sure to drain as much liquid out of the sausage mixture as you can, so that the calzones won’t be soggy. Top with mozzarella and lightly brush the outside edges with olive oil. Flip one side of the press over the other and press to seal. If not using a press, place filling and mozzarella on one side of the dough, brush edge with olive oil and fold the other side of the dough over the filling. Gently press together and roll the edges. Press edge down with the tines of a fork to seal. Lightly brush the tops of each calzone with more olive oil and sprinkle a little Kosher or sea salt on top. Place calzones on the pizza stone or baking sheet and bake for about 20-22 minutes, until golden brown.
7. When finished baking, let the calzones sit for a minute or two before serving. They will be HOT!
Makes 6 calzones.