Roasted Red Pepper and Chicken Sausage Calzone with Spinach and Mushrooms

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Growing up, I probably tried a handful of calzones over the years, but never really had a great one until college. The area around my college was infiltrated with local pizza places, which was super dangerous for the wallet and waistline but made my friends and I so happy on the weekends (and weekdays, who am I kidding). We usually stuck to pizza, but one night we tried a barbecue chicken calzone which completely changed my whole view of calzones. I had always thought they provided a few good bites, and then just a bunch of thick end pieces that were mostly crust. This one was different though. It had so much chicken and sauce, was super cheesy, and didn't have all that extra bread. It was thick enough where it didn't fall apart when you picked it up, but there was no shortage of toppings inside.

The perfect combination!

This calzone recipe provides just that. Once you have your dough ready, you'll start by quickly sautéing a few of the filling ingredients. One obvious thing about calzones that differs from pizza is that the filling doesn't have the chance to brown slightly as the toppings would on a pizza. For that reason, a quick sauté in olive oil helps provide a little more flavor and texture to your mushrooms and chicken sausage.

When you're ready to start layering your toppings I find it helpful to use a calzone mold if you have one because it makes it a lot easier to fold in half. If you don't have one, you can just carefully lay one half over the other after adding your fillings. One important thing to remember to help avoid an abundance of all-crust pieces is to make sure your toppings are spread to nearly the edge of the dough, unlike when making a normal pizza.

Carefully seal the calzone and your work is done. Next it's as easy as popping it in the oven and patiently waiting. One thing to note is it's important to create a few small slits in the top, otherwise you will check on your calzone at one point and it may or may not resemble a blowfish, and I may or may not be speaking from experience.

And lastly...

Once it's nice and golden pop it out of the oven and let it rest for a few minutes. I know that is asking a lot but it helps the filling stay intact once you're ready to cut it. You can use this opportunity to dust it with some grated parmesan and get your dipping sauces set up.

And there you have it! For those partial to pizza, this flavorful calzone will open your eyes to the delicious folded and filled option. Get your marinara out and enjoy.

Roasted Red Pepper and Chicken Sausage Calzone with Spinach and Mushrooms

As easy as (pizza) pie, a cheesy chicken sausage calzone filled with the best veggie combo.

Author:
Jackie

Ingredients

Servings: 4

  • 4 tsp olive oil extra virgin, divided
  • ½ tsp garlic minced
  • ¼ tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 cup mushrooms thinly sliced
  • 1 link chicken sausage sliced
  • 1 pound pizza dough homemade or store bought
  • kosher salt
  • black pepper
  • ¼ tsp basil dried
  • ¼ tsp oregano dried
  • ½ cup roasted red peppers thinly sliced
  • ½ cup spinach
  • ¾ cup mozzarella shredded
  • ⅛ cup parmesan shredded
  • sprinkle of grated parmesan for serving
  • marinara or ranch for dipping

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

2. Heat 2 teapoons of olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and crushed red pepper, stirring until garlic is fragrant, 1-2 minutes. Add mushrooms and let cook for 2-3 minutes, undisturbed. Add chicken sausage and stir. Sauté until mushrooms and chicken sausage begin to brown. Remove to a bowl.

3. Lightly flour a calzone mold or work surface. Stretch pizza dough to fit calzone mold or into a circular shape. Drizzle 1 teaspoon olive oil over dough, and sprinkle with kosher salt, black pepper, basil and oregano.

4. Pat roasted red peppers dry with a paper towel. On one half of the dough, evenly layer spinach, roasted red peppers, and the mushroom chicken sausage mixture. Sprinkle on cheeses.

5. Carefully fold in half and lightly pinch edges shut. Place calzone on greased baking sheet. Cut a few small slits in the top of the calzone.

6. Bake for 15 minutes or until top is golden. Remove from oven, drizzle with remaining teaspoon of olive oil, and sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese. Let sit for 5 minutes, then cut into slices. Serve immediately with ranch or marinara and enjoy!

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes

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