Spicy Italian Sausage and Mozz Calzone

Calzones are so versatile, because there’s no “right” way to fill them. I typically use whatever cheese and meat we have on hand. What a great way to clean out the fridge, while still crafting something hearty and pretty darn impressive looking.
The latest version we’ve been enjoying recently involves a little spice and a little ooey-gooey mozzarella…
Here’s a trick for the Italian sausage. I buy the Jennie-O Lean Hot Italian Turkey Sausages. They come in a package of 5 sausages. When I’m making a recipe that calls for 1/2 pound of Italian sausage, I’ll use 2 1/2 of the sausages (just slice them open, remove from casing, and break up with a fork in a hot pan to brown). Then, I’ll freeze the rest of the sausages for another recipe later. You could do the same with a one pound package of ground Italian sausage, but I prefer the sausage in casing…makes it super simple to measure out just the right amount.
If you have time to make the dough in advance and let it rise for a few hours, that works best. In a rush, I’ve made it just before baking, and it’s turned out just fine as well.
The Dough:Mark Bittman’s Basic Pizza Dough Recipe

The Directions: Prepare one batch of dough (you’ll use the entire recipe of dough). Preheat oven to 375. Roll out the dough on a piece of parchment paper sprinkled with a tablespoon of cornmeal. Continue rolling dough to form a thin, rectangle. Add 2-3 tablespoons of pizza or spaghetti sauce down the middle of the dough length-wise. Next, brown up about 1/2 pound of mild or hot Italian sausage and place on dough on top of sauce. Then, add a dash of Italian seasoning. Finally, add some shredded cheese. I use about 1 1/2 cups of mozzarella. Using a sharp knife, make slits down both sides of the dough length-wise, about an inch apart. Starting at one end, criss-cross the strips from either side over the dough and over eachother. When you get to the end, tuck the last to strips under to secure. Transfer calzone on the parchment paper to a baking sheet or pizza stone and bake at 375 for about 30 minutes or until dough is brown and toppings begin to bubble through the slits.

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