Broccoli Rabe and Sausage Pizza

Broccoli Rabe Pizza TasteFood

~ Broccoli Rabe, Sausage and Three Cheese Pizza ~

Broccoli Rabe is like kale. If I can get my kids to eat it, then I win. I’m a huge fan of broccoli rabe, also known as rapini. While it resembles a spindly, leafy version of broccoli, rapini is actually a member of the turnip and mustard greens family, which accounts for its peppery and bitter flavor. And, like kale, rapini is a nutritional powerhouse, a rich source of vitamins A, C and K, and folate, calcium and potassium. The key is to get my family to eat it. And I think I’ve figured it out.

The first trick is to blanch broccoli rabe in salted boiling water, which will remove excess bitterness. Then briefly saute the dried stalks in olive oil with garlic, salt and red pepper flakes (everything tastes good with garlic and salt, right?) At that point the rapini is good to go as a simple side dish. But in this case I’ve taken it a step further, scattering it over pizza oozing with 3 cheeses and spiced with crumbled Italian sausage. The combination of salty, cheesy, spicy toppings perfectly balances the peppery rapini. My family gobbled it up. I like to win.

Broccoli Rabe, Sausage and Three Cheese Pizza

Feel free to use your favorite store-bought pizza crust dough. Makes one large rectangular pizza, about 10 x 15-inches

1/2 pound broccoli rabe, washed, ends trimmed
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 large garlic clove, minced, plus 1 garlic clove lightly smashed but still intact
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, plus extra for sprinkling
Salt
3/4 pound Italian sausage, casings removed, crumbled
1 pizza crust dough (recipe below)
6 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
1/2 cup grated Fontina cheese
1/2 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese
Freshly ground black pepper
Rosemary sprigs for garnish

Place pizza stone on lowest rack in oven. Heat oven to 475 F (240 C). Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add broccoli rabe and blanch just until bright green, about 30 seconds. Drain immediately and plunge broccoli rabe into a bowl of ice water to cool; drain again. Lay stalks in one layer on a kitchen towel and blot to thoroughly dry. Cut in 2-inch pieces.

Heat one tablespoon olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Add minced garlic and 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes. Sauté briefly, 30 seconds. Add broccoli rabe and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Sauté until slightly limp, 1 minute. Transfer to a plate. Add 1 tablespoon oil to the same skillet. Add sausage and saute over medium heat until cooked through, breaking up large pieces with a spoon. Transfer with a slotted spoon to another plate lined with a paper towel.

On a large piece of parchment paper, roll out pizza crust to about 10 x 15-inches in size. Lightly brush crust with olive oil. Rub all over with smashed garlic clove. Arrange one layer mozzarella cheese over crusts. Sprinkle with fontina. Scatter sausage and broccoli rape over the pizza and sprinkle with pecorino. Season with freshly ground black pepper.

Slide parchment with pizza onto pizza stone in oven. Bake until crust is golden brown and cheese is bubbly, about 15 minutes. Slice and serve warm with extra crushed chili flakes for sprinkling.

Pizza Dough Recipe

Makes enough for 2 large crusts

2 teaspoons dry yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm water
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup semolina flour
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cups cold water
1/4 cup olive oil

Stir yeast and lukewarm water together in a bowl. Add 1/4 cup all-purpose flour and semolina. Mix well. Let sit until bubbly, about 30 minutes. Combine remaining flour and salt in another bowl. Add to yeast with cold water and olive oil. Mix well to form a dough. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead with hands until dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Or use a mixer with a dough hook, and knead about 5 minutes. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl and turn to coat all sides with oil. Cover bowl loosely with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours. Punch dough down, and let rise another 45 minutes. Divide dough into 2 equal disks (or 4 if you would like small pizzas.) Let rest 30 minutes before shaping.

Pizza Night: Arugula and Prosciutto Pizza

Pizza Night: Arugula and Prosciutto Pizza

~ Arugula and Prosciutto Pizza ~

As the saying goes, the shoemaker’s children go barefoot. In my case, they eat pizza. I write about food and develop recipes, yet sometimes I am working so hard on a deadline I don’t have a dinner to feed my family. After a day spent in the kitchen developing a dessert, I would be remiss to feed chocolate cake to the kids for supper. I might spend an afternoon tweaking dressings, sauces and marinades, but I can not feed my family a bowl of vinaigrette. Or I may not make it to the kitchen at all, spending an entire day at the computer writing and researching recipes, only to realize that I never went to the store and the refrigerator remains neglected. As irony would have it, on days like these, once it’s dinnertime I can’t muster any excitement to make much of anything. So I make pizza.

Homemade pizza pleases everyone and is easy to make with a minimum of ingredients. When I make dough for the crust, I double the portion to freeze for emergency pizza nights. If you have a favorite store-bought crust, that’s fine too – just be sure to buy extra and pop it into the freezer. That way when Sunday night rolls around and everyone is asking what’s for dinner, the children (and adults) eat pizza.

Arugula and Prosciutto Pizza

The combination of salty prosciutto, creamy mozzarella and fresh arugula makes this pizza very popular in our home. Be sure not to overload the pizza with the toppings. The amounts below are approximations and will vary with the size of the crust. Makes 1 large rectangular pizza or 2 10-inch pizzas.

Pizza crust (recipe below)
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2  cup tomato sauce (recipe below)
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, shredded
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes, or to taste
8 slices (3 ounces) prosciutto
4 cups fresh arugula
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano cheese

Preheat oven to 500 F. Using your hands, stretch crust to desired shape and place on parchment paper. Combine 2 tablespoons olive oil and garlic clove in a small bowl. Lightly brush crust with oil. Smear a thin layer of tomato sauce over the crust, leaving one inch clear around the edges. Scatter a layer of mozzarella over the sauce. Sprinkle with chili flakes. Top with a layer of prosciutto. Sprinkle Parmesan over the pizza. Brush the exposed edges with a little more olive oil.
Slide the parchment and pizzas onto a baking stone on lowest rack in oven. Bake until crust is beginning to color, about 10 minutes. Slide pizza out of the oven and spread arugula over the pizza. It will look like a lot, but will cook down. Return to oven and bake until crust is golden brown, about 5 minutes. Serve immediately, drizzled with olive oil.

Tomato Sauce
Makes 1 cup

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 15-ounce can crushed Italian plum tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Heat olive oil in a saucepan. Add garlic and saute until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until sauce is thickened, about 30 minutes. Add salt and pepper. Taste for seasoning.

Pizza Dough Recipe
Adapted from a recipe by Alice Waters. Makes 2 – 10 inch pizza crusts.

2 teaspoons dry yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm water
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup semolina flour
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cups cold water
1/4 cup olive oil

Stir yeast and lukewarm water together in a bowl. Add 1/4 cup all-purpose flour and semolina. Mix well. Let sit until bubbly, about 30 minutes. Combine remaining flour and salt in another bowl. Add to yeast with cold water and olive oil. Mix well to form a dough. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead with hands until dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Or use a mixer with a dough hook, and knead about 5 minutes. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl and turn to coat all sides with oil. Cover bowl loosely with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours. Punch dough down, and let rise another 45 minutes. Divide dough into 2 equal disks. Let rest 30 minutes before shaping. Lightly flour a work surface. Using your fingers or heels of your hands, stretch the disks out to 10-inch shapes.

Cherry Tomato, Coppa and Arugula Pizza

~ Cherry Tomato, Coppa and Arugula Pizza ~

Try this pizza on for a weeknight dinner. Homemade pizza is fun to make and with a little organization a breeze to pull together on a school night. The best part is fiddling with different ingredients depending on what’s in season and what’s in the refrigerator. We made this pizza the other night, making use of the abundance of cherry tomatoes we have at the moment, some coppa (which may be substituted with prosciutto or a dry salami) and handfuls of fresh arugula.

When I do have time on my hands, I will make a double portion of crust and sauce. The extras are portioned and frozen for easy use. Just pull them out of the freezer early in the morning or the night before you plan to use them to defrost in the refrigerator.

Cherry Tomato, Coppa and Arugula Pizza

Be sure not to overload the pizza with the toppings. The amounts below are approximations and will vary with the size of the crust. Makes 2 10-inch pizzas or 4 small pizzas.

2 uncooked 10-inch pizza crusts (recipe below)
2/3 cup  tomato sauce (recipe below)
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
8 slices (3 ounces) coppa, torn in half
2 cups arugula
1 heaping cup small cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
Olive oil

Preheat oven to 500 F. Roll out crusts on parchment paper.
Spread a thin layer of tomato sauce over each crust, leaving one inch clear around the edge of the crust. Arrange one layer mozzarella over the sauce. Top with a layer of coppa. Scatter tomatoes and arugula over the coppa. Sprinkle with pecorino. Brush the exposed crust with olive oil.
Slide the parchment and pizzas onto a baking stone on lowest rack in oven. Bake until crust is golden brown and cheese is bubbly, about 15 minutes. Serve immediately as is or topped with additional fresh arugula and a drizzle of olive oil.

Tomato Sauce
Makes 1 cup

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 15 ounce can Italian plum tomatoes, with juice
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Heat olive oil in a saucepan. Add garlic and saute until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add tomatoes. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally and breaking up tomatoes, until sauce is thickened, about 30 minutes. Add salt and pepper.

Pizza Dough Recipe
Adapted from a recipe by Alice Waters. Makes 2 – 10 inch or 4 mini pizza crusts.

2 teaspoons dry yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm water
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup semolina flour
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cups cold water
1/4 cup olive oil

Stir yeast and lukewarm water together in a bowl. Add 1/4 cup all-purpose flour and semolina. Mix well. Let sit until bubbly, about 30 minutes. Combine remaining flour and salt in another bowl. Add to yeast with cold water and olive oil. Mix well to form a dough. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead with hands until dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Or use a mixer with a dough hook, and knead about 5 minutes. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl and turn to coat all sides with oil. Cover bowl loosely with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours. Punch dough down, and let rise another 45 minutes. Divide dough into 2 equal disks (or 4 if you would like small pizzas.) Let rest 30 minutes before shaping. Lightly flour a work surface. Using your fingers or heels of your hands, stretch the disks out to 10-inch shapes.