broccoli rabe, potato & rosemary pizza

White pizza at its best.  The crust is hearty and crisp.  The fresh mozzarella and roasted potatoes combine to create the melt-in-your-mouth base with no need for a creamy base sauce.  The final topping of the slightly bitter broccoli rabe creates the perfect balance.  

This dough is wonderful to work with but does require a substantial amount of time before you are actually creating your pizza.  Allow about 3 hours total for the proof/rise process.  Keep in mind that most of that time is hands off and you can work on the toppings while you wait.

When the mixture looks like this, the yeast is activated and you can proceed with the addition of the remaining dough ingredients.

The dough is kneaded by hand for about 10 minutes until it is smooth and elastic.  If you have a stand-up mixer with a dough hook, use it now!  In about 5 minutes, you will have a perfect ball of dough.

Place the dough ball in a lightly oiled, large glass or metal bowl.  Cover tightly with plastic and place in a warm, draft-free place to rise.  If you have a drafty kitchen, why not place it in your microwave oven?

Time to get to work on the toppings.  Start with the potatoes.  While they are in the oven, you can prepare the broccoli rabe.

I tend to slice my potatoes on the very thin side so that the pizza isn’t too heavy.  If you prefer, they can be sliced a bit thicker.  Just add an extra potato to the mix and allow for more baking time.  Of course, using a mandoline for this is so advisable.  

While the potatoes are in the oven, let’s cook the broccoli rabe.  Since this requires a two-step process, why not make some extra while you’re at it?  The recipe calls for 1/2 pound but I always make at least a full pound, then set the extra aside for another time.  Broccoli rabe is so delicious when prepared the right way …try it with your favorite pasta or just on its own.

You can see why it’s important to line the pan with parchment paper …it really makes a difference when transferring the roasted potato slices from the pan to your work surface.  Just lift the crinkled paper and the slices will peel right off.

By now, the dough should have risen to at least double its original size.  You started off with this…

And it should now look like this…

It’s now ready to be “punched down” before the final rise.  After 45 minutes, you are ready to move on.

Separate the dough into 2 equal rounds (for 2-10″ pizzas) or 4 equal rounds (for 4 mini-pizzas).  Let them rest for 30 minutes then finally …you’re ready to make some pizza!

This pizza should be baked directly on a preheated pizza stone.  The crust will have the perfect crunch.  It’s always a challenge when trying to “slide” the prepared pliable pizza onto the super hot stone.  I’ve found that there are two ways to make it work.  The easiest method is to line the work surface with parchment paper, form your dough, arrange the toppings and lift the creation, with the paper, onto the stone.  The paper will brown significantly but that’s okay.  You’ll still achieve the dark crunchy crust you may desire.

The other method is to place the pizza pan or baking sheet holding the prepared pizza directly on the stone.  After 3 to 4 minutes, remove it from the oven and using a large spatula, slide the partially cooked pizza from the sheet directly onto the stone to finish baking.

This is delicious served right from the oven.  As is.  But then again, it would be pretty good served with some sort of dipping sauce on the side.  Maybe some marinara.  Then there’s always smoky red pepper sauce.  Slim wedges are always welcome as an appetizer.

I came across this recipe (so glad I did) on Food52.  It was posted by TasteFood back in 2010 and was the winner of Food52’s Best Pizza Contest that year.  Give it a try and you’ll totally see why it won!

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broccoli rabe, potato & rosemary pizza

Adapted from TasteFood on Food52

Delicious white pizza without the heavy cream sauce.

Servings 2 medium pizzas or 4 mini-pizzas

Ingredients

For the pizza dough

  • 2 teaspoons dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup lukewarm water
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (500 grams)
  • 1/4 cup semolina flour (50 grams)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup cold water
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

For the pizzas

  • 2 uncooked pizza crusts
  • 1 large yukon gold potato, very thinly sliced (8 ounces)
  • kosher salt
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 pound broccoli rabe, ends trimmed
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 large peeled garlic cloves, lightly smashed but still intact
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • rosemary sprigs for garnish (if desired)

Instructions

For the pizza dough

  1. Stir the yeast and lukewarm water together in a large bowl or mixer bowl.  Add 1/4 cup all-purpose flour and semolina.  Mix well.  Let sit until bubbly, about 30 minutes.

  2. Combine remaining flour and salt in a separate bowl.  Add to the yeast mixture along with the cold water and olive oil.  Mix well to form the dough.

  3. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead with hands for about 10 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic.  Or use a mixer with a dough hook and knead about 5 minutes.

  4. 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.

  5. 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" shapes.

For the pizzas

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

  2. Toss potatoes with 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 teaspoon salt in a large bowl.  Arrange potatoes in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.  Bake until edges begin to turn golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes.  Remove from oven and let cool.

  3. Place the pizza stone (if using) on a shelf positioned in the lower third of the oven.  Increase the oven temperature to 475°F.

  4. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil.  Add broccoli rabe and blanch for 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 into 1 1/2" to 2" pieces.

  5. Heat one tablespoon olive oil in a 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.

  6. To facilitate the transfer to the preheated pizza stone (if using), line work area with a large sheet of parchment paper.  Or place prepared dough directly on baking sheet.   Lightly brush pizza crusts with olive oil.  Rub all over with smashed garlic cloves.

  7. Arrange one layer mozzarella cheese over crusts.  Top with one layer of potatoes and broccoli rabe.  Sprinkle one tablespoon chopped rosemary over each crust.  Top with grated Pecorino cheese.

  8. Transfer pizza to preheated stone with the parchment paper.  Or place the baking sheet on the rack placed in the lowest third of the oven.  Bake until the crust is golden brown and cheese is bubbly about 15 minutes.
  9. Before serving, sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper.  Garnish with fresh rosemary leaves, if desired, and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil.

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