One of the things I miss most about living in New York was the calzone. When I think of a pizzeria, all I see is a calzone oozing white ricotta and mozzarella… so delicious! I haven’t made calzone in such a long time, and I had some pizza dough in the fridge so I figured I’d change it up with a calzone. JJ told me he wanted sausage in them, and while pork sausage is great, it’s really high in fat and can make the calzone oily. He really likes the little sausage balls, so I told him I would make some with turkey and come up with a sausage spice blend and he wouldn’t know the difference. The predominant flavor in sausage is fennel seed, so I went from there and came up with a spice blend. I made a whole pound of sausage, half will be used next week so I froze it. These little sausage balls are great to keep on hand for soups, pastas, frittatas, and pizza.
The calzone should be closed, but I used to much dough on one and ran out on the other, which is why you can see the filling!
Spinach and Sausage Calzone
1 ball of pizza dough
Flour for rolling
2 cups ricotta cheese
1/2 8 oz. box chopped frozen spinach, thawed and drained
½ lb. sausage (I made mini sausage balls, recipe follows)
½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
¼ cup shredded parmiggiano reggiano
Salt and Pepper
Crushed Red Pepper flake
1 cup basic marinara, warmed through
1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Combine ricotta, spinach, sausage, cheeses, seasonings and egg in a bowl.
Roll out pizza dough into 2 rounds. Place half the filling in each round, fold over and seal the edges. Place on a pizza pan, brush with olive oil. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.Serve with warm marinara for dipping.
Turkey Sausage Balls
1 lb. 99% fat free ground turkey breast
1 tbsp. kosher salt
2 tsp. black pepper
2 tbsp fennel seed, toasted
1 tsp. sugar
2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
Toast fennel seeds in a nonstick skillet for 2-3 minutes on medium heat. Add all spices to a coffee grinder or blender and grind to desired consistency. I leave some fennel seeds intact, but mostly ground. Mix 2-3 tbsp. of the mixture to the ground turkey, combine thoroughly, but do not overwork the meat. Roll into balls and bake at 375 for 15 minutes.