Putting a healthy twist on pizza
In honor of Natural Sausage Pizza Day, try a whole wheat sausage and broccoli baked calzone. | Photos by Melissa Elsmo
Whole Wheat Sausage and Broccoli Calzone
In keeping with Italian tradition this calzone is served with the sauce on the side rather than inside the dough. If you are pressed for time, feel free to use store bought roasted red peppers and adjust the filling ingredients to suit your personal tastes.
4 Italian turkey sausage links
1 broccoli crown, cut into small florets
1 red pepper, roasted and cut into strips
½ cup Parmesan cheese, divided
½ cup part-skim ricotta, divided
Salt, pepper, Italian seasoning blend and Red Pepper Flakes
1-16 ounce bag fresh whole wheat pizza dough (I purchased mine at Trader Joe’s)
Marinara or pizza sauce for dipping
Simmer the sausages in water until just cooked through (about 12 minutes) before browning them under the broiler or in a grill pan until golden brown on the exterior. Allow the sausages to cool and slice on the bias into 1/4-inch thick slices.
Meanwhile, bring a small pot of salted water to a boil and cook the broccoli florets for 3-4 minutes until crisp tender. Drain broccoli and toss with the sausage slices, roasted red pepper strips and 1/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese. Season the mixture to taste with salt, pepper, Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes. Set mixture aside.
Preheat the oven to 475 degrees
Divide the pizza dough into four sections on a floured cutting board and roll each section out into a 1/4-inch thick oval. Spread 2 Tablespoons of ricotta on one half of the oval leaving a 1/2-inch rim at the edge. Top the ricotta with a generous handful of the sausage mixture. Taking care not to tear the dough, pull the un-topped side of the dough up and over the filling to make a half moon shape. Pinch the edges to seal and roll them up to secure. Repeat with remaining dough sections.
Place the calzones on a parchment lined sheet pan. Poke a small hole into the top of each calzone to allow steam to escape. Brush the dough with olive oil and sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese and Italian seasoning if desired. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 15 minutes or until crust is crisp and browned. Serve calzones with warm pizza or marinara sauce for dipping.
Updated: November 8, 2012 9:10AM
As a voraciously hungry teenager, my husband had nothing short of an insatiable appetite.
As a result, his mother diligently stocked their freezer with Hot Pockets to quell his after-school cravings. My husband’s friends knew he had a stash of frozen microwaveable pizza-inspired pastries and took considerable advantage of his generous supply of convenience food goodies. Even now, my husband looks a little wistful when he passes the frozen food section of the grocery store.
Quite to the contrary, a Tuesday night roast chicken dinner with all the trimmings was common place in my childhood home; we had a Sunday-style supper nearly every night of the week. Not that I didn’t appreciate the meals my mom lovingly prepared for our family, but nothing felt as exciting as the evenings my dad would arrive home carrying boxes of sausage pizza from the local parlor. The smell of pizza would fill the house and I’d know instantly that we would be eating in the family room.
Whether a dependable dietary mainstay or an occasional decadent treat, pizza in any form offers a universal versatility that few other foods can claim, but all that ooey-gooey goodness can derail a healthy family dining routine in an instant.
We’re all trying to keep our family tables healthier these days. Conscientious home cooks attempt to steer clear of dinner delivery and frozen food pitfalls, but mid-week fatigue leaves even the most well-meaning folks looking to embrace a little comfort food and convenience.
Inspired by National Sausage Pizza Day (Oct. 11), I thought it would be fun to develop a healthier dish that honors my husband’s long time love affair with those portable pizza pockets. Even better, this comforting meal can be on the table in the same amount of time it takes to have a pizza delivered.
Italian turnovers, known as calzones, are half-moon shaped pastries that are jammed with all sorts of traditional pizza toppings. While many calzones are fried, my family friendly version is baked and takes advantage of readily available whole wheat pizza dough. Using flavorful turkey sausage and part skim ricotta, deliver bold pizza flavor without all the guilt. Adding a bounty of cooked fresh green vegetables to the mix adds vitamins, but doesn’t steal any of the comforting gratification in the dish.
Harness the fun of a fun pizza night in a hand-held package and give National Sausage Pizza day a healthy twist!