These pull-apart stuffed rolls are like little calzone bites filled with spinach and sausage and warm melted cheese.
I consider my kids to be pretty good eaters, and although they usually eat whatever I serve them with a willing attitude, they aren’t necessarily always excited. Of course it’s reasonable for a nine and an eleven year old not to love everything, but still it can be disheartening after I spend my time lovingly preparing a meal. Sometimes though, when I want all the praise and thanks with smiles and hugs, when I want to be a hero, I usually make them something along the lines of the these mini calzone bites. Little pillows of bread wrapped around warm melty cheese- bread and cheese, the love language of my children.
The inspiration behind these come from the pizza bites over at Everyday Annie. We’ve made her version numerous times and loved them. Here I went with a ricotta based filling more similar to a calzone, added wilted spinach for some redeeming greens, and crumbled Italian sausage for extra protein and flavor. They’re fun to pull apart and even easier to eat. Dip each bite into your favorite red sauce and serve alongside a crisp salad for a complete meal to make the whole family happy.
Sausage and Spinach-Stuffed RollsEmily Nelson
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 Italian sausage link
- 4 ounces baby spinach
- 1/2 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
- heaping 1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese about 2 ounces
- 2 tablespoons grated parmesan plus extra for scattering on top
- pinch of kosher salt and black pepper
- 1 pound pizza dough
- pinch of garlic salt
- favorite marinara sauce for dipping
- Generously oil a 10-inch cast iron skillet or pie dish. Preheat oven to 400.
- Remove casing from sausage. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a skillet. Add sausage and use a wooden spoon to cook while breaking it down into crumbles. Once the sausage is cooked through, remove from heat and transfer sausage to a paper towel lined plate to cool.
- Without cleaning, add the spinach to the same skillet and cook until spinach is just wilted. Cool for a few minutes.
- In a medium bowl, mix the ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan, sausage, spinach, salt, and pepper until well combined.
- Divide dough into 20 pieces and shape each piece into a round ball. Flatten one piece into a round, place a tablespoon of filling in the middle and pull the dough around, pinching at the top to seal. Please seam side down in the prepared pan. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough and filling.
- Lightly brush the tops with olive oil, sprinkle with garlic salt and a scattering of parmesan.
- Bake until light golden brown, about 25-30 minutes. Serve warm with your favorite dipping sauce.
Emily is a self-taught cook and photographer with a passion for creating beautiful and wholesome food for the family. Her focus is mostly on whole grains, fresh and seasonal produce, and naturally raised meats. When she's not in the kitchen, she loves playing music and spending time with her husband and two children.