Hey guys! Nicole from Cooking for Keeps, and I’m so excited to be back with another great recipe to share with you guys. When people find out I love to cook and have a food blog, their first question is almost always, “What’s your favorite food to cook?” or “What’s your specialty?” Oftentimes, I’m plagued for an answer, because, well, I love to cook EVERYTHING. And as much as I’d love to give a confident response, asking me to pick a favorite food to cook is like asking me to choose my favorite pair of shoes or favorite bag, I just can’t do it. My camel booties look super cute with black jeans, my sparkly wedding shoes make me feel like a princess and my black leather flats are so comfortable. I love them all for different reasons; some I wear more than others, but it doesn’t mean I love one shoe any more or less than the others. So rather than give a phony answer to appease them (the people, not my shoes), I talk about the foods I cook most often.
Right now, it’s a very close tie between Mexican and Italian, but since my hubby is Italian and can’t live without pepperoni, red sauce and spicy sausage, more times than not, I find myself cooking up a big batch of pasta, chicken parmesan or hearty Italian-inspired stew.
What I love about Italian cooking is its relatively simple and approachable attitude. Most dishes have few ingredients and an absence of long cooking processes you may find in other cuisines. I mean, boil a pot of spaghetti, toss it with a little bit of olive oil, red pepper flakes, bread crumbs and grated parmesan and you have yourself a gourmet meal that anyone can throw together and appreciate.
But with all the simple dishes and uncomplicated sauces, there is one dish that is still daunting to quite a few people.
Personally, I love making lasagna, but let’s be honest, sometimes I just do not have the patience to boil the noodles, separate the noodles, make sure the noodles don’t stick together, make the meat sauce, make the béchamel, make the ricotta filling, spend an hour layering each component ever so perfectly on top of the other and then bake it off for another hour.
So a few weeks ago, a rather strong hankering for lasagna coupled with an equally strong feeling of laziness generated the idea for these lasagna calzones. I wanted to encompass all my favorite things about lasagna (sauce, cheese, cheese and more cheese) into one tidy package that wouldn’t take hours to prepare, and didn’t fall apart the minute you tried to lift it out of the pan.
A quick meat sauce is thrown together by browning up some lean ground sirloin and Italian sausage, and then simmered for a few minutes in tomato sauce, a little sugar and Italian seasoning. Once it has cooled down a bit, the sauce is tucked into fresh pizza dough along with a little bit of ricotta and lots of fresh mozzarella cheese.
They’re folded into cute calzone shapes and baked off until you can see the cheese oozing out of the top a bit and the dough is golden brown.
There are a lot of reasons to love these guys. For one, from start to finish they only take about 35 minutes. Two, they’re in one pretty little package. Three, they taste EXACTLY like lasagna in calzone form. And, bonus? I can promise you, the whole family will love them.
What is a Calzone?
A calzone is basically an oven baked, folded pizza.
Calzone is made from salted bread dough, baked in an oven and is stuffed with a variety of meats or vegetables and cheese.
Can You Prepare Calzone Ahead of Time?
You can make the filling and dough ahead of time.
Assemble and bake when you are ready.
How Long Will Calzones Keep?
Baked calzones can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 3 months.
Cheesy Lasagna Calzones
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Cheesy Lasagna Calzones
- ½ pound ground sirloin
- 1 Italian sausage link removed from the casing
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 15 ounce can tomato sauce
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 cup ricotta
- 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cut into 6 slices and then halved
- 1 egg
- ½ cup parmesan cheese
- 1 ½ pounds store-bought or homemade pizza dough
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- Heat a skillet to a medium-high heat.
- Add olive oil, and brown sirloin and Italian sausage, breaking up the meat into small pieces as your go.
- Once the meat has browned add tomato sauce, sugar, salt and Italian seasoning.
- Bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer, about 7-10 minutes, transfer to a bowl to cool.
- While the meat sauce is cooking/cooling prepare the dough.
- Cut the dough into six equal pieces.
- Roll each piece of dough out into a circle on a floured surface.
- On each circle of dough, spread two heaping tablespoons of ricotta on once half of circle.
- Cover with a heaping ¼ cup of the meat sauce and then top with two pieces of fresh mozzarella cheese.
- In a small bowl mix egg and 1 tablespoon water.
- Brush the edges of each piece of dough with egg wash, fold empty half over and seal edges. Make sure to seal edges tightly, you don’t want the cheese or sauce to come out of the sides during cooking, I like to actually roll the edges up a bit to ensure this doesn’t happen.
- Brush tops with more egg wash and sprinkle with a little bit of parmesan cheese.
- Cut one small slit in the middle to let the steam escape.
- Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake until golden brown, about 10-15 minutes.
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