Tag Archives: pizza

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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Stuffed Crust Pepperoni Pizza

Homemade Pizza: Take Two. Since my first homemade pie turned out well, I decided to venture into something a bit more challenging…stuffed crust pizza.
Same dough recipe as last time. However, this time I rolled it out a bit thinner, added mozzarella string cheese around the edges, and rolled the crust over the string cheese to form a rectangular shape.
With the mozzarella sticks tucked safely inside their doughy home, I added the usual suspects: a little sauce, way too much fresh grated mozzarella, and a handful of pepperoni.

The only thing that kept this from being pure cheesy, pizza-ey nirvana was that I just couldn’t wait to get this cooking, and I made the mistake of putting it in before the oven was completely preheated to 500 degrees. As a result, the pizza cooked a bit slower which caused some of the cheese in the crust to ooze out into the middle of the pie. No worries, still tasted great. Live and learn.

The Dough:Mark Bittman’s Basic Pizza Dough Recipe

The Directions: You’ll need about 8 cheese sticks for the stuffed crust. Use whatever toppings you like. To bake, preheat the oven to 500 (and wait until it actually gets there…unlike my impatient self). I use a rectangular pizza stone that preheats in the oven. While the oven is preheating, spread a sheet of parchment paper on a cutting board. Toss a little cornmeal on top of the parchment paper. Rub a bit of olive oil on the dough, and roll it out on the parchment paper. When the crust is stuffed and the toppings are added, slide the pizza with the parchment paper onto the stone in the preheated oven. Bake for about 10 – 12 minutes until cheese is melted and pizza is golden brown.

Homemade Pizza…a work in progress…


The Plot: A busy mom with limited kitchen skills succeeds at first homemade pizza attempt and the family, including the two pickiest eaters, love it.

The Challenge: If Mark Bittman, author of How To Cook Everything, can teach anyone to cook, than he CAN teach this mom to make pizza.

The Credits: Mark Bittman’s Basic Pizza Dough Recipe

The Verdict: Delish!