pizza with broccoli rabe and roasted onions

It’s not even January 1st yet and I’m already feeling the tug of healthier eating… or perhaps, more likely, a rejection of the butter and braise bender I’ve been on since Thanksgiving. Wait long enough to step up to the healthier plate and I think your body will do it for you; in my days off, I have only craved three things: greens, carrots and oranges. Okay, four if you count French toast from LeGrainne Cafe. But in my defense, they serve it with toasted almonds and a slice of orange and that’s healthy right? Right? [A pin drops.]

rapinipitting the olivescooked raberaab pizza, ready to bake

Well then. I think of homemade pizza as one of those perfect bridge foods, not excruciatingly unhealthy and yet it can be downright earnest if you do it right. We made Alice Waters’s Pizza with Broccoli Raab, Roasted Onion and Olives for dinner on Friday and it was delightful — chock full of greens with just enough indulgence (half a cup of cheese and a thin pizza crust) to have me vowing I would make it again, like this week, before we’d even finished our first slice.

onions roasting

This pizza also marks a tiny, silly triumph for me, and hopefully my first step on the road to liking broccoli rabe, something everyone in the world seems charmed by but me. I generally find it too tough (in an al dente kind of way) and too bitter for me, but here, contrasted with cheese, onions roasted until they’re sweet and briny, lightly crisped olives its bitterness was finally balanced out by its surroundings. I wish it were always this way.

rabe pizza slice

Pizza, previously: We are a little bit obsessed with pizza here at the Smitten Kitchen, so no pizza recipe on this site would be complete without a tour of the pizza madness that has come before it. First, there are two dough recipes on the site, a Really Simple Homemade Pizza Dough and a slightly stepped-up one that includes a splash of wine and honey. There’s also a post that includes lots of pizza-making tips in one place: 10 Paths to Painless Pizza Making. Beyond that, there are a ton of untraditional pizza recipes in the archives, from a Grilled Eggplant and Olive Pizza to an Acorn Squash and Gorgonzola Pizza, not to mention a Potato Pizza, which is exactly as transcendent as you would expect from carbs topped wtih carbs topped with rosemary, olive oil and sea salt. Check out the full list here, and don’t be surprised if you never order pizza delivery again.

One year ago: Robert Linxe’s Chocolate Truffles
Two years ago: Gougères and Roasted Mushrooms Stuffed With Feta, Spinach and Bacon

Party Food! I’ve organized all of the foods I wish you’d serve at a cocktail party and then invite me over in one place. I hope to add more to that list before New Years Eve. Planning a New Years Day Brunch? We’ve got some ideas for you there, too. [Party Food + Breakfast Ideas]

Pizza with Broccoli Raab, Roasted Onions and Olives
From Chez Panisse Vegetables

Makes one 12-inch pizza

1 medium yellow onion
Salt and pepper
Olive oil
2 sprig thyme (optional)
1 bunch broccoli raab (aka broccoli rabe or rapini)
1 clove garlic
1 pinch hot pepper flakes
Pizza dough for one recipes (super-simple recipe here and an almost as simple recipe here)
1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese
16 niçoise olives, pitted
1 lemon

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Dice the onion and toss it in a small ovenproof sauté pan with a pinch of salt and enough olive oil to coat lightly, and the leaves of the thyme. Put the pan in the oven to roast, stirring occasionally, until the onion is cooked and golden, about 30 minutes.

While the onion is roasting, wash and drain the broccoli raab, remove the heavy stems, and roughly chop the leaves and sprouts into coarse chiffonade. There should be enough to make about 2 cups. Peel and finely chop the garlic. Heat a large sauté pan and coat it with olive oil. Ad the broccoli raab, season with salt, pepper, and the hot pepper flakes, and fry over high heat until the broccoli raab is tender. Add the garlic and fry, tossing, for a few seconds.

When the onions are done, take them out of the oven and turn the heat up to 450° to 500°F. Put a pizza stone in the oven. Roll out of shape a 12- to 14-inch disk of pizza dough and slide it onto a floured pizza peel or the back of a baking sheet. Lightly brush the dough with olive oil, leave a 1/2-inch boarder dry. Evenly sprinkle the cheese on the oiled surface,spread the onions over, and top with the broccoli raab and the olives. Drizzle about 1 tablespoon olive oil over the pizza. Slide the pizza onto the preheated stone in the oven and bake from 5 to 10 minutes, until the crust is brown and crisp. Remove the pizza from the oven, sprinkle a few drops of lemon juice on it, slice and serve.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

New here? You might want to check out the comment guidelines before chiming in.

54 comments on pizza with broccoli rabe and roasted onions

  1. everything you make looks absolutely delicious! i’d have to say you’re my favourite food blogger. i subscribe to your rss feeds and love seeing a new message every time you post!

    i followed the link to your prints and they look amazing!! i love them every time i see them in your posts, but i like how you put them all in one place too. i love how you supply the full sizes of the images. i love food photography and like to use it as my desktop wallpaper but it’s hard to find full sizes of good quality prints. i’m making an entire album of your prints to use for my wallpaper. :) thanks!

    you’re very talented, in photography and cooking!

  2. Adrienne C

    To eliminate the bitterness from broccoli rabe, blanch it for 2-3 minutes in boiling water, then drain and rinse with cool water to stop cooking. Then proceed with whatever recipe you are making. I love the stuff but you can’t just saute it in the pan from raw. Have fun – the pizza sounds great. Happy New Year!

  3. My fiance loves broccoli rabe but I cannot get over the bitterness. I didn’t know that there was a way to get rid of that taste but I’ll try it sometime. The only thing I’d probably add to this is a layer of minced garlic as a first layer on the pizza dough.

  4. I love Alice Waters vegetable recipes.
    She pairs veggies w/ eachother like fine wines.
    My husband is not a broccoli rabe fan, too bitter for him.
    I LOVE IT! Sauteed w/ garlic and olive oil.
    On a roast pork sandwich, it’s the best!
    Happy New Year Debra, I am looking forward to healthier eating and posting in 2009.
    Believe me, I need it!
    Stacey Snacks

  5. deb

    Hi Tina — My photos aren’t available for download because, unfortunately, I need to protect myself from photo theft and make full-size high-resolution images available for free is a bit of a welcome sign. If you’re interested in a desktop wallpaper, shoot me an email (thesmitten at gmail) and I’ll be happy to send you the image you’d like.

  6. This looks scrumptious. I don’t mind bitter greens so long as they’re paired well with complementary flavors. This veggie dish is inspiring, as I’ve got a hunk of spinach that needs to be used ASAP. Perhaps I’ll make a cheesy creamed spinach side dish for tonight’s dinner.

  7. Tim

    so funny! i was looking at this recipe last night and thinking that i needed to try it soon. that book is amazing, the recipes are so elegant.
    thanks for trying this one out!

  8. Susan

    So I’m not the only one that thought broccoli rabe was ‘less than charming’. Good! I felt like a foodie failure! I only tried it once and it may have not been cooked well. I’ll try Adrienne C’s technique and add it to other ingredients, such as the ones here, and see if it makes a difference. I’m always glad to be proved wrong..sometimes!

  9. This pizza looks delicious! I have some taleggio stinking out my fridge right now which I think would go well with the broccoli.

    A question, Deb: Do you put the pizza straight onto the hot stone? Or on a pizza tray, on the stone? Is there some kind of semolina dusting involved?

  10. deb

    The flour on the pizza peel or baking pan should be enough to keep the pizza from sticking to the stone. No semolina dusting is necessary, though you can use that instead of flour if you prefer. Anyone who doesn’t have a pizza stone can bake the pizza directly on the back of the baking sheet.

  11. Ally

    i just found your blog. i’m in love with it. the recipes look awesomely awesome, and i can’t wait to get started trying them out. you’re also an incredibly exciting writer. this is by far my fav food blog, and i visit a lottttt. thanks for putting it out there!

  12. I can’t do cheese but think that this would be divine with a few slow-roasted roma tomatoes as the first layer. I second the blanching of broccoli rabe- it helps a lot. I’ve also given it a saltwater bath in an effort to remove the bitterness. Still, I would probably utilize beet greens in this recipe before broccoli rabe. That’s just me.

  13. Deb (not the author)

    I have a package of whole wheat pizza dough from Trader Joe’s in my freezer. This recipe sounds fantastic for next week sometime.

    BTW – I made your Boozy French Toast over the weekend at my ski house and it went over SO well. I added an extra egg and hardly measured the bailey’s (b/c seriously, could I really have added too much?) and served it with nutella and sliced banana. Not to condone binge-drinking – but it was the most PERFECT hangover breakfast ever (esp for me as the cook since all I had to do was preheat the oven, put in the pan and wait for the deliciousness to begin)

  14. This looks soooo good. I was just thinking this morning, I’m going to need to eat something like canned soup for dinner every night for the next two weeks to make up for all the extra holiday calories.

  15. Nishta

    Deb, whatever did I do without you? so far this season I have used your latke recipe (substituting sweet potatoes, yum!), gotten several friends addicted to chocolate-toffee cookies, & am very much looking forward to making this green pizza tonight!

    it has seriously made my life so much easier (and yummier!) to be able to come to sk, search for a recipe, hear your endearing voice, & know that whatever I make is going to turn out well and be impressive. in short, you are awesome, and discovering you was one of the best things that happened to me in 2008. cheers.

  16. JENI

    this reminds me that i have a huge bag of brocoli stalks sitting in the fridge. i got them from a farmer’s market and it comes in super long and lean stalks. i wonder if i can use those chopped up… maybe a quiche?

  17. genderoles

    Here’s how my Sicillian-American family (mom, late grandmom, aunts, cousins) deals with broccoli rabe: we cook it rather more than a Right Thinking Cook cooks a green vegetable these days. I mean, we don’t let it get grey and mushy, but we steam or boil it until it’s truly tender. Not crisp-tender. Not al dente. Bendy, but not quite soft. Then we fry a little chopped garlic in olive oil with some cracked red pepper, and add the broccoli rabe and some salt and warm it up in the oil and that is all. It comes out wonderful, and not too bitter.

  18. Sara

    Any advice on making pizza dough ahead and freezing it? I sometimes buy Trader Joes doughs and stick them in the freezer. Seems it should be just as easy to do the same with home made, but I’m not sure at what point in the process to freeze it! Thanks!

  19. deb

    You can actually freeze it at any point — before the first rising, after you deflate the first rising and before you let it puff up a second time, or even after you roll it out. The only thing that matters is that you let it fully defrost and then continue where you left off. I’ve got more pizza tips in this post.

  20. I wholeheartedly agree with adrienne and genderoles on blanching rapini. It really cuts the bitterness, and can easily be lightly sauteed afterward. What you’re left with is mild and flavourful enough to be used by itself as a sandwich filling… try it!

  21. kiki

    I made this last night and it was delicious! I could not find rabe, so I subsituted collard greens and it turned out great! Thanks SK!!

  22. Herzliche Grüße aus Gera, Germany…
    leider kann ich zu wenig Englisch reden und schreiben. Diese website finde ich sehr schön. Die fotos sind sehr gut. Sie machen appetit. Ich werde ab und zu schauen und dabei etwas Englisch lernen.

    Happy New Years sendet Kerstin Jecke (Monalisa50ff)

  23. chingonja

    Made it tonight, added some mustard greens in with the rabe, and subbed some habanero jam for the red pepper flakes. Also, put chunks of pecorino on top. A lot going on on that pizza, but it tasted pretty yummy. Thanks for the recipe!

  24. Yao

    Long-time reader, first-time poster here:

    My boyfriend and I made this last weekend, and it was spectacular. I don’t know why it took us so long to decide to make our own pizzas, but I can’t think of a better starting place than this. Now we’re off to try all the other pizza recipes on your site. Thanks!

  25. Chris

    I made this last night with a double recipe of Really Simple Pizza Dough and just had a slice for breakfast! Mmm. Very refined pizza with the addition of herbs. I used fresh mozzarella instead of shredded. The dough turned out a little thick, so I will probably use only one serving next time, and may look for a recipe that incorporates some sweetener (perhaps your wine+honey combination). I do not have a pizza peel, so I took your advice from 10 tips and made the pizza on a cornmeal-dusted wax sheet before transferring it to the pre-heated pizza stone in the oven. I over-cornmealed a bit this time so I will keep that in mind the next. Fabulous!

  26. This was the best pizza I’ve ever made, and some of the best I’ve ever had! I can’t get over how delicious it was. And that white wine pizza dough…amazing.

  27. Nice pizza! This is definitely one that I can pass off as “healthy”. Can’t wait to try this one out.

    I love all of those onions and especially that mozzarella, I can never get enough!

  28. Christine

    Finally found some local broccoli rabe and made this tonight. Did add 1 1/2 sausages (removed from casings) as well. And a light sprinkle of Parmesan. Seriously addictive! Can’t wait to toy with it again.

  29. Gail

    I was similarly unpersuaded by the charms of broccoli rabe until I started not feeling bad about cutting off the giant stems, and blanching it first, whatever the recipe. Blanching seems to make it less bitter, at least for me. Now that I do that, our relationship has definitely grown closer… and “broccoli Bob” definitely shows up more frequently on my table.