Last week I was looking through my freezer and refrigerator at things I needed to use up. I am supposedly about to start a cleanse (I keep pushing the date back) and also, with summer approaching, I want to make some room in my freezer for the most excellent produce of the year. I found a few balls of pizza dough so I thawed one out. I wasn't really sure what I was going to do with it, but I noticed that a bunch of people in the food blogosphere last week made calzones and they sounded so good, that I wanted to make one too. I found a couple of links of some spicy chicken sausage from the farmers market and I had some leftover spinach and most of an onion. I used a hodge-podge of leftover cheeses to use up what I had on hand. I made sure to pile the filling high because as suspected, it cooks down a bit in the oven. While this is an easy recipe, it took some time since I had to let the sausage mixture cool. I think it is more than acceptable to make that mixture in advance so you have it ready for a weeknight meal. The calzones were so good. The spicy sausage was such a nice contrast to the sweet onion and the roasted garlic tomato sauce (from a jar) provided so much flavor as well. Even though I used a mix of cheeses, there wasn't too much on each calzone so I didn't feel weighed down after eating one. I don't know about you, but I think pizza (and now calzones) are a perfect food for a movie night. I suggest you try it!
Kitchen Clearing Calzones
1 ball rosemary whole-wheat pizza dough at room temperature
1 small red onion, diced
1-2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for brushing
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 spicy chicken sausage links, split open and crumbled
6 tablespoons roasted garlic tomato sauce (or your favorite tomato sauce)
Shredded cheese (I used a combination of mozzarella, 3-cheese, and Gruyere)
Baby spinach leaves
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a baking pan with parchment paper.
In a large skillet heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions and lightly season with salt and pepper. Cook until the onions have softened about 5-7 minutes. Add the sausage and cook through. Stir in the tomato sauce until it has warmed through. Set the mixture aside to cool.
Split the dough into two small rounds Roll each round to about 6 inches in diameter. Top half of each round with a few spinach leaves and then a few heaping spoonfuls of the sausage mixture. Top with cheese and fold the dough over and cinch to close.
Brush the top of each calzone with a bit of olive oil and make a few slits so that steam can escape. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown.