Recipe of the Month: Broccoli Rabe & Caramelized Onion Pizza

Ingredients:

16 oz. dough ball
1 lb. broccoli rabe, coarsely chopped
2 tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp. garlic, minced
½ tsp. red pepper flakes
1 c. part-skim ricotta cheese
1/3 c. Parmesan cheese, grated
2-3 tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
1 tsp. black pepper, cracked
1 c. yellow onion, diced and caramelized
6 oz. fresh mozzarella, cut into chunks
Shaved or shredded Parmesan cheese (optional)
Toasted pine nuts (optional)

Instructions:

On a lightly floured surface, roll pizza dough into a 16” circle and place on a cornmeal-dusted pizza paddle. In a small stock pan, heat olive oil and red pepper flakes. Add broccoli rabe and chopped garlic and sauté for 3-4 minutes. Cover and cook for 2 minutes or until broccoli rabe is bright green and tender.

In a bowl, combine ricotta, Parmesan, parsley and black pepper. Spread ricotta cheese mixture onto the rolled-out pizza dough. Top with broccoli rabe, caramelized onion and mozzarella. Transfer pizza to a stone that has been preheated in a 400°F oven. Cook for 12-15 minutes or until crust is crispy and golden-brown. Remove pizza from heat and let it rest for 2-3 minutes. If desired, serve slices topped with pine nuts and extra Parmesan cheese.

The Artisanal Onion

Caramelized onions can transform any pie into a gourmet pizza. The caramelizing process brings out the natural sweetness of the onion, creating a savory treat that blends beautifully with other artisanal pizza ingredients, from goat cheese and Gruyère to prosciutto and roasted apples. Here’s how pizzerias around the country have incorporated caramelized onions into their gourmet recipes:

Folks at Wild Olive Pizzeria (wildolivepizzaspringfield.com) in Springfield, Massachusetts, can’t get enough of the Meatball & Ricotta, topped with meatballs, ricotta cheese, caramelized onions, fresh basil and grated Romano cheese.

Amici’s East Coast Pizzeria (amicis.com), with 14 stores in California, offers the Spicy Pepper Chicken, a white pie made with chicken breast slices, caramelized onions, roasted red peppers, cilantro, oregano and hot red pepper flakes.

Specializing in vegetarian and vegan fare, Blackbird Pizzeria (blackbirdpizzeria.com) in Philadelphia kicks up the spice level with the Nacho, featuring avocado, caramelized onions, jalapeño peppers, tomato sauce and cheddar-style Daiya nondairy cheese.

In Berkeley, California, Sliver (sliverpizzeria.com) keeps it simple, serving just one type of pizza each day to ensure maximum freshness and short waits. One recent special was topped with mushrooms, baby spinach, caramelized onions, toasted pine nuts, Italian parsley, garlic-infused olive oil, and mozzarella and Manchego cheeses.