Weekday Vegetarian: Broccoli Rabe, Potato and Rosemary Pizza

weekday vegetarian broccoli rabe pizza photo

Photo: Kelly Rossiter

I once had a party where I had my guests make their own dinner. I covered my kitchen counter with plates and bowls containing every pizza topping I could think of. At the front of the lineup was a stack of aluminum pie plates with pizza dough lining the bottom. Next came a big pot of tomato sauce for those who wanted a more traditional pizza. Then people just moved down the line and added whatever toppings their wanted. With all this customizing, I learned something important in pizza design. Moderation is everything.Put too much tomato sauce, or too many wet toppings on your pizza and the crust gets soggy and you end up eating it with a knife and fork. Put too many toppings in general, and you get too many flavours vying for your attention. The best pizzas were those made by people who showed some restraint and kept their toppings to 3 or 4 ingredients, allowing for some focus of taste, as well as a nice crispy crust. This party was about twenty years ago before the onset of designer pizzas, and I have to admit that adding broccoli rabe and potatoes to a pizza hadn't occurred to me. Now of course, the toppings you can use are only limited by your imagination.

I followed the original recipe and baked the potatoes for 20 minutes, after which they were a lovely dark brown colour, just short of carbonized. After starting over with a new potato, I baked them for ten minutes and they were fine. I cut the potato with my with a mandoline, so the slices may have been thinner than the potatoes that the recipe writer used. I also cut out the step of blanching the broccoli rabe. This removes some of the bitterness, but my husband and I both like that, so I just sauteed it. I was lazy and bought the pizza dough, but you can find a recipe for it here. You can also make this on flatbreads, which works really well for customizing.

This recipe is from the website Food52.

Broccoli Rabe, Potato and Rosemary Pizza

2 uncooked pizza crusts (recipe below)
1 large yukon gold potato, very thinly sliced
Extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 pound broccoli rabe, washed, ends trimmed
1 large garlic clove, minced, plus 2 garlic cloves lightly smashed but still intact
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves
1/2 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese
Freshly ground black pepper
Rosemary sprigs for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Toss potatoes with 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Arrange potatoes in one layer on a baking tray. Bake until edges begin to turn golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. Increase oven temperature to 475 F.

2. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add broccoli rabe and blanch 30 seconds; drain. Plunge broccoli rabe into a bowl of ice water. Cool and drain again. Lay in one layer on a kitchen towel to thoroughly dry. Cut in 2" pieces.

3. Heat one tablespoon olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Add minced garlic and red pepper flakes. Sauté briefly, 30 seconds. Add broccoli rabe and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Sauté one minute. Remove from heat. Taste and add more salt if necessary.

4. Lightly brush pizza crusts with olive oil. Rub all over with smashed garlic cloves. Arrange one layer mozzarella cheese over crusts. Top with one layer of potatoes and broccoli rabe. Sprinkle one tablespoon rosemary over each crust. Top with grated Pecorino cheese.

5. Bake on pizza stone or on tray on lowest rack in oven until crust is golden brown and cheese is bubbly, about 15 minutes. Before serving, sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper. Garnish with fresh rosemary leaves and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil.

More Pizza Recipes
Pizza with Matsutake Mushrooms
Caramelized Red Onion Relish Mini Pizzas
Wild Leek Pizza

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