Ricotta Calzones with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe

Ricotta Calzones with Sausage Recipe

Calzones are similar to pizza. The dough contains the same ingredients, just in slightly different proportions, and the “toppings” are enveloped within the dough, thus becoming filling.–Editors of Cook’s Illustrated

LC A Calzone Is A Calzone Is A Calzone Note

A calzone is a calzone is a calzone, except when it’s not. See, some folks on the East Coast refer to a similar pizza-like concoction of dough and tomato sauce and cheese not as a calzone but as stromboli. Sounds sorta like something that you’d find in Geppetto’s workshop, doesn’t it? It’s actually distinct from a calzone, and it’s relatively common in Philadelphia and the surrounding area. As to the precise difference between the two, we defer to food writer Bill Daley and this uber-helpful explanation. Essentially, a calzone is what you find here, in this recipe. It’s a sort of stuffed pizza of sorts. So is a stromboli, though it seems more rolled than stuffed. It also seems more persnickety in terms of what it can or cannot contain in terms of ingredients. Honestly? While we prefer to be accurate in our depiction of anything food-minded, parsing definitions isn’t our favorite thing. We prefer to just pass the napkins and tuck into whatever’s on the plate in front of us.

Ricotta Calzones with Sausage Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 1 H, 15 M
  • 3 H
  • Serves 6


  • For the dough
  • 4 cups bread flour, plus more for the work surface
  • 1 envelope instant yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon warm water (about 110° F [43°C])
  • Nonstick spray oil
  • For the filling
  • 15-ounce container whole-milk ricotta cheese
  • 8 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded (2 cups)
  • 1 1/2 ounces finely grated Parmesan cheese (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon chopped oregano leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces hot or sweet Italian sausage
  • 12 ounces broccoli rabe
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon cold water
  • 1/8 teaspoon table salt
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing the calzones
  • Kosher salt


  • Make the dough
  • 1. In the bowl of a standing mixer, whisk the flour, yeast, and salt to combine. Attach the bowl and dough hook to the mixer and, with the mixer running on medium-low speed, add first the olive oil, then gradually add the water in a slow steady stream, continuing to mix until the mixture comes together and a smooth, elastic dough forms, about 10 minutes.
  • 2. Lightly spray a large bowl with the nonstick spray oil. Form the dough into a ball, transfer it to the bowl seam-side down, then cover the bowl with plastic wrap lightly sprayed with the spray and let rise in a warm spot until double in size, 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
  • Make the filling
  • 3. Meanwhile, while the dough rises, combine the cheeses, egg yolk, oregano, salt, and black pepper in a medium bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.
  • 4. Remove the casing from the sausage. Wash and dry the broccoli rabe and trim the stalks about 1 inch below the leaves, discarding the ends. Cut the broccoli rabe crosswise into 1-inch pieces. Cook the sausage in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon and breaking the sausage into 1/2 inch crumbles, until it’s no longer pink, about 4 minutes. Stir in the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook until fragrant, about 10 seconds.
  • 5. Stir in the broccoli rabe, water, and 1/8 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring constantly, until the broccoli rabe is still slightly crisp but almost tender and the water has evaporated, about 4 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a paper towel-lined plate and let cool to room temperature. Once cool, pat dry with paper towels to absorb any excess moisture. (This prevents the calzone from becoming soggy.)
  • 6. Adjust the oven rack to the lowest position, place a pizza stone on the oven rack, and preheat the oven to 500 °F (260°C) for at least 30 minutes. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spray the parchment lightly with nonstick cooking spray.
  • 7. Turn the risen dough out onto an unfloured work surface. Divide the dough in half, and then cut each half into thirds. Gently reshape each piece of dough into a ball. Transfer to the baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap lightly sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Let the dough rest at least 15 minutes but no more than 30 minutes. Cut eight 9-inch squares of parchment paper. Working with 1 piece of dough at a time and keeping the other pieces covered, roll the dough into a 9-inch round. Set the dough round onto a parchment square and cover it with another parchment square. Roll out another dough ball, set it on top of first dough round, and cover it with a parchment square. Repeat to form a stack of 3 dough rounds, covering the top round with a parchment square. Form a second stack of 3 rounds with the remaining dough balls and parchment squares.
  • Assemble the calzones
  • 8. Remove the top parchment square from the first stack of dough rounds and place the rounds with parchment beneath on the work surface. (If the dough rounds have shrunk, gently roll them out again to 9-inch rounds.) Arrange 1/6th of the ricotta mixture in the center of the bottom half of each dough round, leaving a 1 inch border uncovered. Place 1/6 of the sausage mixture on the cheese filling. Fold the top half of the dough over the filling-covered bottom half, leaving 1/2 inch border uncovered. Using your fingertips, gently press around the silhouette of the filling and out to the edge to press out any air and to lightly seal the dough.
  • 9. Beginning at one end of the seam, place your index finger diagonally across the edge, gently pull the bottom layer of the dough over the tip of your index finger, and press the dough to seal. Repeat the process until the calzone is fully sealed. With a very sharp paring knife or razor blade, cut 5 slits, each about 1 1/2 inches long, diagonally across the top of the calzone, making sure to cut through just the top layer of dough and not completely through the calzone.
  • 10. With a pastry brush, brush the tops and sides of the calzones with olive oil and lightly sprinkle with kosher salt. Trim the excess parchment paper and slide the calzones and their parchment onto a pizza peel or baking sheet turned upside down. Slide the calzones and their parchment paper onto the hot pizza stone, spacing them evenly. Bake until the calzones are golden brown, about 11 minutes. (You’ll probably need to bake the calzones in batches. If desired, while the first batch of calzones bakes, form the second batch.)
  • 11. Use a pizza peel or rimless baking sheet to remove the calzones and the parchment to a wire rack. Remove the calzones from the parchment and let cool 5 minutes. Serve hot.
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