While desperately awaiting the arrival of local spring greens, we’ve been buying broccoli rabe at our Whole Foods because Michelle can no longer tolerate the taste of the usual bland broccoli flown in all winter from god knows where. The stuff comes in giant bunches, and we were faced with a pile perilously close to becoming chicken food. Thinking about the rabe’s bitter green flavor and seeking a simpler way to get the potato-like taste she got from Jerusalem artichokes in her recent effort, Michelle suggested a rabe-and-choke pizza. It has, in the last couple of weeks, become our favorite combination. The blanched, bitter greens and florets stand up well to a 500° oven, and the potato-y sunchokes add a touch of astringency under a blanket of mozzarella cheese.
Tomorrow we’ll put down the money for this year’s farm share, and given the creepily warm winter we may see local green stuff soon. And if there’s anything broccoli-like in our basket at all, we will want to make this pizza again—and will lay waste to its deliciousness once more.
BROCCOLI RABE AND SUNCHOKE PIZZA
(for one 12-inch pizza)1/3 of Steve’s pizza dough recipe (freeze the other 2/3 for later use)
olive oil 1 onion, sliced thin 3 garlic cloves, sliced 3 or 4 sunchokes (Jerusalem artichokes), sliced very thin (no need to peel) 1/2 bunch broccoli rabe, chopped red pepper flakes balsamic vinegar 1 cup white pizza sauce (or any béchamel) Parmesan cheese mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 500°, preferably with a pizza stone placed in the lower part of the oven.
Sauté onion slices in olive oil in a skillet until caramelized. Add garlic slices near end of cooking time. Set aside.
Boil sunchoke slices in salted water until tender. Drain. Dry on paper towels.
Blanch broccoli rabe in salted boiling water. Drain in a colander, rinsing with cold water. Sauté in olive oil along with some red pepper flakes. Splash on some balsamic vinegar.
Roll out pizza dough. Place on a sheet of parchment paper. (Or directly into a pizza pan if you don’t have a stone and/or a peel.) Fold over edges of dough and brush them with olive oil. Poke crust with tines of fork. Sprinkle some Parmesan cheese over.
Spread white sauce over bottom of crust. Top with sunchoke slices, then with onions and garlic, then with mozzarella cheese, then with broccoli rabe. Sprinkle with more Parmesan cheese.
Use a peel to place the pizza (with the parchment paper still under it) onto the heated stone. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes until crust and cheese are browned.