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Quick Calzones with Sausage and Peppers

Calzones are trendy turnovers. I consider them unique sandwiches. They are a little fancier looking, great for a party or picnic, or just a diversion from the ordinary. Fillings can be just about anything from this spicy sausage and tomato combination to vegetarian offerings. Using store bought pizza dough delivers good eating in no time at all. Saving Time: make the filling several days ahead; keep a supply of pizza dough and tomato sauce in the freezer. Use a food processor to
chop and dice the vegetables and garlic. Assemble and freeze the unbaked calzones ahead.

Makes 8

Ingredients

3/4 pound sweet Italian sausage, casing removed

1 small red bell pepper, cut, seeded and chopped

1 small yellow bell pepper, cut, seeded and chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 small red onion, chopped

1 1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds

1 cup diced mozzarella cheese

Salt to taste

Ground black pepper to taste

1/2 cup tomato sauce (p.000)

1 pound package store bought pizza dough, at room temperature

Directions

Get a 10-inch sauté pan hot over medium heat. Add the sausage and brown it well in its own fat. If the sausage is too lean, add a little olive oil to the pan. Use a slotted spoon and transfer the browned meat to a dish. Drain off all but 1 tablespoon of the fat in the pan. Add the peppers, garlic and onion to the pan and cook over medium heat just until they soften, about 4 minutes. Return the sausage to the pan and still in the fennel seeds, cheese, salt and pepper and tomato sauce. Allow the mixture to cool 10 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 375F
Lightly spray two baking sheets with olive oil and set aside.

On a floured board knead the dough for a minute or two. Divide it into 8 pieces. Roll each piece into a 7-inch diameter. Divide and place some of the filling on one half of each circle. Fold the other half over the filling and seal the edges with a fork. Place 4 calzones on each baking sheet, spacing them 2 inches apart.

With a scissors make an x in the center of each calzone. Cover the baking sheets with clean towels and allow them to rise for 20 minutes.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until nicely browned on top and bottom. Serve warm.

To make them ahead of time, allow them to rise as directed then place the sheet in the freezer until the calzones harden; wrap each one individually in aluminum foil and pop them into a zip lock bag. When ready to bake, simply take out what you need, and bake. They will take about 5 minutes longer.

Variation; cut the dough into 24 pieces and make mini calzones for a buffet party. Bake for 15 minutes.

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