Sausage & Squash Calzones

Sometimes, I like prepping a bit of meal plan for later in the week over a lazy weekend. I'll chop veggies for a soup or get meat marinating for a stew that I plan to make mid week. And that's how I've come to make calzones a perfectly reasonable weeknight meal. I prep the fillings over the weekend and assemble and bake them when things get decidedly busier during the week.

This particular filling is one of my favorites. Packed with sweet, tender butternut squash and spicy Italian sausage (though you can opt for mild sausage if you prefer), the filling is lick it off the spoon good and if you happen to have any left after making your calzones (it happens sometimes), toss it with hot pasta or serve it over rice. Or, you know, eat it with a spoon!

I love putting together a fresh salad with sliced black olives, tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, and a light vinegar-based dressing to have alongside calzones. They are heavy enough on their own, so the fresh vegetables and tangy dressing helps cut through that a bit to bring balance back to your meal. Then add a glass of your favorite wine and enjoy a simple weeknight meal that is here as a result of your clever planning!

Sausage & Squash Calzones

Advance Prep (complete up to 2 days in advance):
  • 1 medium butternut squash
  • ½ c. water
  • 1 lb. mild or spicy Italian sausage
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • ½ c. grated parmesan cheese
  • ½ c. chopped fresh sage, optional
Assembly/Baking Day:
  • 2 lbs. pizza dough (use homemade or store-bought)

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Split the squash in half, lengthwise, and scrape out and discard the seeds. Place the squash halves cut side down in a large baking dish; carefully pour the water around them. Bake in the preheated oven for about 45 minutes or until the flesh of the squash is soft before removing to cool for 10 minutes.

While the squash is baking, brown the sausage with the onion until the sausage is cooked through and the onion is softened. While the sausage is still warm, but not hot, add the parmesan cheese and, if desired, the chopped sage and stir to combine. Set aside.

When the squash has cooled a bit, remove the flesh from the shell and mash with a fork in a large bowl. Add the meat mixture to the squash and stir until combined. If desired, place in a food-safe container and refrigerate for up to 2 days before using as a calzone filling.

When you are ready to assemble the calzones, preheat the oven to 400° F. Split the pizza dough into 4-6 equally sized balls of dough. Press each ball into a round measuring 6-8" and about ¼" thick. Using a spoon, add enough filling to the center of one side of the round that it will make a generous pocket sandwich when the other side of the round is closed around it. Close the rounds, creating 4-6 crescent-shaped calzones. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until the dough is golden and fully cooked and the fillings are warm. Serve warm.

  • Yields: 4-6 servings
  • Preparation Time: 50 minutes advanced prep and 30 minutes assembly and baking

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