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Pizza with Broccoli Rabe, Fontina and Meyer Lemon

Pizza with Broccoli Rabe, Fontina and Meyer Lemon

There is something of a mythology around the art and craft of baking. Consider this gorgeous video about Chad Robertson and his wildly successful Tartine, for instance. Or this piece on the relationship between bread and craft written by my former advisor at CCA, maker and bon vivant Donald Fortescue. Or consider Tucson’s legendary pizzaiolo Chris Bianco. People are dedicated.

For this pizza, I followed Nate Appleman’s long rise method, leaving the dough to rest overnight in the fridge, then bringing it out the following morning to let it grow and stretch over the course of another four hours. I divided the dough, shaped it into four balls, cranked the oven to its maximum, and let the dough rest and rise again. It’s so easy to opt for the shortest or the fastest method, but the beauty of this dough is that it won’t let you. It demands patience.

Pizza with Broccoli Rabe, Fontina and Meyer Lemon

As for the toppings on the pie, they live in that indeterminate zone between late winter and early spring – lighter than a winter dish but employing the best of the season. Don’t be put off by the Meyer lemon – it’s mellowed by the heat of the oven and provides a bright citrus note that works well with the Fontina and ricotta cheeses. The broccoli rabe is sauteed first in some olive oil with chile flakes, so that once every few bites you get a tingle of heat. It’s finished with a sprinkle of fresh thyme. (And if you want to throw some pancetta on there, I doubt anybody will mind.)

This Pizza with Broccoli Rabe, Fontina and Meyer Lemon recipe is part of The February Seasonal Food Guide.

Adapted from Chris Bianco’s recipe and A16: Food + Wine
Yield: 4 10-12″ pizzas

4 cups 00 flour (this is the quintessential pizza flour)
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water (105-115)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons sea salt

1 bunch broccoli rabe, tough stems discarded, chopped
12 ounces ricotta, drained
8 ounces Fontina, grated
1 Meyer lemon, thinly sliced and then quartered
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon chile flakes

To prepare the dough:

In a large mixing bowl, sprinkle yeast over the warm water and let sit for 10 minutes. Add the olive oil and salt. Slowly add the flour to the yeast mixture, in 1/2-1 cup increments, stirring constantly to combine. (You can also use a stand mixer if you have one.)

Turn dough out onto a floured surface, and knead for 10 minutes, using a pushing and pulling motion. (Again, if you have a stand mixer, use that.)

Lightly oil a large bowl. Place the dough in the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, remove the dough from the fridge. Punch it down, re-shape into a ball and let stand, covered, for at least 4 hours.

When dough is ready, divide into four. Shape into rounds. Cover with a damp cloth and let rest for at least 1/2 hour more.

One hour before you are ready to bake the pizza, turn your oven to its highest temperature, which is generally between 500-550 degrees. Place oven rack at lowest position, and slide pizza stone onto rack.

At this time, you can prepare your toppings.

To prepare the topping:

Drain the ricotta by placing in a cheesecloth or dish towel in strainer over a bowl. Let it drain until you are ready to use it.

Heat a large pan over medium heat. Add the olive oil and chili flakes and stir. When the oil is hot, add the broccoli rabe and stir again. Keep covered and saute for about 4-6 minutes, until the greens are wilted and tender. Set aside.

Grate the Fontina cheese. Mince the thyme, thinly slice the lemons. Have all of your toppings ready and at hand.

Take one ball of dough and place it on a well-floured surface. Press into the center of the round with your palm to flatten. Using a rolling pin, roll from the center of the dough outward in all directions, working to maintain a circular shape. When the dough is between 10 and 12 inches, transfer to a pizza peel or a rimless baking sheet.

Apply your toppings like so: begin with 1/3 cup ricotta, smoothing it over the dough with a spatula. Next, sprinkle 1 teaspoon thyme over the ricotta. Follow with 1/4 of the lemon, 1/2 cup of grated Fontina, and finish with 1/4 of the broccoli rabe.

Open the oven and gently slide the pizza off the peel and onto the baking stone with a jerk of the arm.

Bake pizza for 6-8 minutes, depending on the temperature of the oven, until pizza is golden and cheese is bubbling. Enjoy hot!

  • The February Seasonal Food Guide » The Year In Food - […] MONTH: PIZZA WITH BROCCOLI RABE, FONTINA AND MEYER LEMON […]ReplyCancel

  • Tami - Simple, but beautiful. Put in my ‘try soon’ pile.ReplyCancel

  • Ayesha - Your dishes look yum … loved the presentation of the food ! good work ReplyCancel

  • Jenné @ Sweet Potato Soul - This looks delicious. I love the toppings you used. I’m going to give this a try, i’ll feel as though I’m eating a healthier pizza than what I order at a pizzeria; and it seems like it’s worth the practice in patience.ReplyCancel

  • Sasa - My “try-soon” pile too! We’ve been on a bit of a pizza jag at our house this month, trying new doughs.ReplyCancel

  • Kulsum at JourneyKitchen - Simplicity at its best. Love the crust!ReplyCancel

  • Joanne - I find when it comes to bread that low and slow is always the best way to go. It allows so much flavor and texture to come out of a simple dough!

    You picked some beautiful toppings for this pizza They really embody the month of February!ReplyCancel

  • alyce - nice flavor profile.ReplyCancel

  • Lynda - Oh, this sounds and looks so good. You are using some of my most favorite flavors in this pizza. Plus, I will try the slow and low method for the crust. Thanks for a lovely recipe.ReplyCancel

  • Yasmeen - another one of your recipes on my “must make” list. i especially love the addition of meyer lemon as opposed to the regular variety… tartness is the key to my heart!ReplyCancel

  • Nicole Franzen ` - Looks great! I really suck at baking. I have tried to make pizza dough and it always ends up tough and cooking unevenly. Kuddos for being able to do it :)ReplyCancel

  • NicoleD - Can I seriously come eat at your house every day?? Wowza.ReplyCancel

  • Caitlin @ Amuse-bouche - I just came across this blog and am already drawn in by the beautiful photos. I’m always looking for new pizza recipes and this one sounds delicious!ReplyCancel

  • Caitlin - Do you know how much my heart goes pitter-patter for broccoli rabe pizza? Delfina’s is my fave, and I cannot wait to now try this one at home. Fab – again!!ReplyCancel

  • kimberley - Thanks all!

    @Joanne and Lynda: Slow and low indeed, until, of course, it gets that brief blast of high, high heat in the oven. :)ReplyCancel

  • Sasa - Right, about to give this a crack now ^_^ Wish me luck, looking forward to pizza tomorrow night!ReplyCancel

  • kimberley - Oh boy! I hope it turns out perfectly.ReplyCancel

  • Sasa - And now to shape and bake!ReplyCancel

  • Sasa - Oh my god. Definitely on my next Sasasnippets, things making me happy lately. Happy mouth.ReplyCancel

    • kimberley - Yay! I love the live progress reports, S!ReplyCancel

  • The Year in Food: Delicious Seasonal Eats | The Family Kitchen - […] to recipes that use them. Her recipes run the gamut, from simple (and delectable) dinner ideas like pizza with broccoli rabe, fontina and meyer lemon, to vibrant, flavorful desserts like rhubarb sorbet and a classic rugelach with pecans, brown […]ReplyCancel

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