Food, Yoga and Travel in Brooklyn
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I really woke up on the wrong side of the bed yesterday. The wrong bed, wrong apartment, and wrong continent. Things were a mess and I was not feeling any of it. The apartment was cold; it was cold outside, but too cold for my super warm jacket. I’m out of clean pants, my morning smoothie was NOT good and when I got into the office early, people were already there waiting to be let in. Everything was just off.
I did have TV night with M to look forward too but even the trip leaving the city was a bit harrowing. I stopped by Eatly for our cheese and bread and it was filled to the brim with crazy Europeans and mid-westerns shopping drunk with a basket in one hand and a half filled glass of chardonnay in the other. Then the packed F train took 15 minutes to come. Really MTA? 15 minutes during rush hour on a major train? That’s like waiting 15 minutes for a red light to turn green on a major Atlanta Highway. It just doesn’t happen. ANYWAYS, as you can see, yesterday was upsetting.
So, when I got to M’s, I was in the mood to get a glass of wine in me and get that pizza in the oven. While, yes, this a recipe I selected, I was still startled when M was reading it and said:
“Toss potatoes with 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Arrange potatoes in one layer on a baking tray. Bake until edges begin to turn golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes.”
“Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add broccoli rabe and blanch 30 seconds; drain. Plunge broccoli rabe into a bowl of ice water. Cool and drain again. Lay in one layer on a kitchen towel to thoroughly dry. Cut in 2″ pieces.”
“Whhaaa? I’m sure we don’t have to do that,” I replied. “Lets just cut it up and put it on the pizza.”
“I’m sure that if it’s in the recipe, it’s there for a reason,” she replied.
Again, Humph. But she’s right.
It’s one of the reasons I like cooking with M in the first place. She has complete faith in the recipe. I, on the other hand, do not. I am always more than willing to cut corners, change steps and make additions. Sometimes, I will admit, this is a problem. So when we cook together, it’s a refreshing change. It allows me to slow down just a little bit and really see how things should be before I start meddling with it. It also helps me realize that some things don’t need to be meddled with. Like this pizza. (It would be beneficial to carry this into life outside the kitchen.)
So, with this pizza I took a deep breathe and we followed the recipe to a T. Which I am glad for because it was pretty amazing. Almost as amazing as The Greatest Show of Our Time. (Poor Chuck!)
M got new knives, which allowed her to slice the potatoes super thin. (Yeaaa Costco!) The potatoes were salty with a nice heartiness that counter acted the greenness of the broccoli rabe. Blanching the broccoli rabe took out the initial bitterness. The mix of mozzarella and Pecorino Romano was very good. The freshness of the mozzarella enhanced the tang of the Pecorino. My only mistake was grated the Pecorino coarse instead of fine. It doesn’t really melt so it got a little brown.
For the crust, we used my whole wheat I had in the freezer. I like to use the no-knead method for pizza crust, substituting ½ of the flour for whole wheat. It gives you a thin crust that’s crunchy. If thin and crunchy isn’t your thing, use all white flour. You can check out the recipe for that at my old blog here.
Here’s the original recipe with the recommended pizza dough. We just used one crust that was about 10-12 inches. To be honest, I’m not sure how much broccoli rabe we put on because I had a big bunch and we just ate whatever didn’t fit on there.
Serves 2 10″ Pizzas or 4 mini-pizzas
Broccoli Rabe, Potato and Rosemary Pizza:
• 2 uncooked pizza crusts (recipe below)
• 1 large yukon gold potato, very thinly sliced
• Extra-virgin olive oil
• 1/2 pound broccoli rabe, washed, ends trimmed
• 1 large garlic clove, minced, plus 2 garlic cloves lightly smashed but still intact
• 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
• 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
• 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves
• 1/2 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese
• Freshly ground black pepper
• Rosemary sprigs for garnish
1. Preheat oven to 375 F.
2. Toss potatoes with 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 teaspoon salt in a large bowl. Arrange potatoes in one layer on a baking tray. Bake until edges begin to turn golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. Increase oven temperature to 475 F.
3. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add broccoli rabe and blanch 30 seconds; drain. Plunge broccoli rabe into a bowl of ice water. Cool and drain again. Lay in one layer on a kitchen towel to thoroughly dry. Cut in 2″ pieces.
4. Heat one tablespoon olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Add minced garlic and red pepper flakes. Sauté briefly, 30 seconds. Add broccoli rabe and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Sauté one minute. Remove from heat. Taste and add more salt if necessary.
5. Assemble pizzas: Lightly brush pizza crusts with olive oil. Rub all over with smashed garlic cloves.
6. Arrange one layer mozzarella cheese over crusts. Top with one layer of potatoes and broccoli rabe. Sprinkle one tablespoon rosemary over each crust. Top with grated Pecorino cheese.
7. Bake on pizza stone or on tray on lowest rack in oven until crust is golden brown and cheese is bubbly, about 15 minutes.
8. Before serving, sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper. Garnish with fresh rosemary leaves and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil.
Pizza Dough Recipe:
• 2 teaspoons dry yeast
• 1/2 cup lukewarm water
• 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1/4 cup semolina flour
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 3/4 cups cold water
• 1/4 cup olive oil
1. Stir yeast and lukewarm water together in a bowl. Add 1/4 cup all-purpose flour and semolina. Mix well. Let sit until bubbly, about 30 minutes.
2. Combine remaining flour and salt in another bowl. Add to yeast with cold water and olive oil. Mix well to form a dough.
3. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead with hands until dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Or use a mixer with a dough hook, and knead about 5 minutes.
4. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl and turn to coat all sides with oil. Cover bowl loosely with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours. Punch dough down, and let rise another 45 minutes.
5. Divide dough into 2 equal disks (or 4 if you would like small pizzas.) Let rest 30 minutes before shaping. Lightly flour a work surface. Using your fingers or heels of your hands, stretch the disks out to 10″ shapes.