Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Spigarello (Heirloom Broccoli Rabe) Pizza

Our absolute favorite pizzeria in San Francisco has to be Pizzeria Delfina. And our absolutely favorite white pizza at Delfina is the broccoli rabe pizza- fresh mozzarella and parmesan topped with broccoli rabe sauted with garlic and red chili flakes and oil cured black olives. There is something wonderful about the combination of bitter, intense broccoli rabe and salty oil cured olives.

The best thing about powerfully flavorful broccoli rabe is that it is also intensely packed with sulforophanes and indoles, Vitamin K, A and C, folate, potassium, fiber and calcium.

I recently got a bunch of spigarello, a type of heirloom broccoli rabe, in my CSA box. Spigarello has a deep blue green color, similar to Tuscan kale, and far less bitter than broccoli rabe, almost sweet in flavor. It is considered the "granddaddy" of broccoli rabe and is a California favorite obsession. Seriously, ramps step aside, there is spigarello fever in this part of the country.

I prepared the spigarello in a similar manner as broccoli rabe: tough stems removed, quickly blanched the leaves for 2 minutes in boiling water, drained the leaves in a colander and sauteed it in olive oil with shallot, garlic and crushed red pepper for about 5 minutes, seasoning with salt and pepper.

I used about half of the sauteed spigarello for our version of a broccoli rabe pizza and tossed the rest with cannellini beans for a quick (and healthy) lunch.

For the pizza, we turned to our favorite pizza dough recipe, stretched it into a 12" round, and parcooked it in a hot cast iron pan. We mixed fresh mozzarella, parmesan, salt and pepper in a small bowl, sprinkled the parcooked crust with the cheese mixture, topped with sauteed broccoli rabe and split oil cured olives and placed it under the broiler for about 5 minutes. 

It was absolutely amazing and tasted very similar to Delfina's- minus the bitterness of typical broccoli rabe. Although we do love Mario Batali's pizza dough recipe, next time we are going to try Delfina's pizza dough recipe.

Broccoli rabe pizza (Inspired by Pizzeria Delfina)
8 oz fresh mozzarella, roughly 2 balls
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 large bunch broccoli rabe (or spigarello), tough stems removed and cut into 1" ribbons
2 garlic cloves
2 tbsp olive oil
about 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
freshly ground pepper
sea salt
1/4 cup oil cured black olives, pitted and torn in half
2 parbaked pizza crusts (see recipe for pizza dough)

Preheat broiler.

Dice one ball of mozzarella into 1/2" pieces and with a flat side of a chef's knife, mash the other ball flat. In a small bowl, mix both mozzarella cheeses with parmesan and season with sea salt and pepper.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Blanch broccoli rabe for 2 minutes. Remove with a spider or slotted spoon and drain in a colander.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes. Add 2 tbsp olive oil and then add shallot and garlic, stirring for 1 minute until fragrant. Add crushed red pepper, stirring for 30 seconds. Add broccoli rabe, season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Stir to coat well, continue to cook for about 5 minutes, until tendercrisp.

Sprinkle cheese mixture on a parbaked pizza crust. Top with sauteed broccoli rabe and scatter with oil cured black olives. Finish with a couple grinds of black pepper. Slide under the broiler for 5 minutes until the crust gets good color, moving around in the oven as needed.

Remove from oven and slice into quarters. Repeat with remaining crust. Serve hot.

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