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Pizza with Broccoli Rabe (Rapini)

Makes two 12-inch round or 15x10-inch pizzas

I think I say it about every pizza I make, but this really is one of my favorites. It was many years ago when I first had pizza with broccoli rabe and I loved it instantly, but it took a long time to make my own because I could not find broccoli rabe, sometimes called rapini, where I lived. Now it is easy to find in any grocery store with a well-stocked produce department. This pizza is especially good with a multigrain or whole wheat pizza crust, as in the similar and related recipes, but use whatever you prefer. The recipe can easily be halved to make one pizza. The Italian family who first introduced me to broccoli rabe often made the pizza with a double-crust, placing half of the dough on top of the greens to form sandwiches when it was cut. That was delicious, similar to calzones that were not sealed around the edges, but I usually just make the pizza this way. For a different but equally good presentation, chop the broccoli rabe into small pieces before cooking and use as a topping for bruschetta, served as an appetizer or party finger food.

Ingredients

Heat the 1/4 cup olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and sauté about 1 minute. Add the broccoli rabe and a little water for moisture. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook until very tender, about 20 minutes, adding more water if needed. When done, remove the lid and let all of the moisture evaporate. Remove from heat and cool.

If using pizza dough, preheat oven to 425° F. (Follow package directions if using store-bought crusts.) Lightly spray pizza pans or baking sheets with cooking oil. Spread half of the dough in each pan, making a small ridge around the edges. Top each with half of the cooked broccoli rabe. Lightly press on the greens so they will stick to the dough. Top each pizza with 2 tablespoons each of the Parmesan and Romano. Lightly drizzle each with olive oil. Bake until crust is lightly browned and crispy on the bottom, about 20 minutes, switching racks half way through. Transfer the pizzas to a cutting surface and let cool at least 5 minutes before slicing. This is good hot, warm or room temperature.

Notes: If you have pizza stones, use those instead of the pizza pans. Transfer the pizza to and from the ungreased stones with a pizza peel dusted with cornmeal.