At this time of year, as the weather warms up, I tend to prefer light and delicate pizzas that aren’t too heavy. But once in a while you want to combine rich, bold flavors with a pizza that’s still fresh enough for late spring or early summer, and that’s what this one does. The broccoli rabe is bold and flavorful, the ricotta salata is bright and salty, the chili flakes add a punch of heat, and the tomatoes are sweet enough to balance everything out.
The only real trick to making this pizza is to ensure that you press down the broccoli rabe a little bit on the pizza as you make it. It has a tendency to poke up, which can lead to some charring in the oven. A bit of char is fine (and adds a delightful smoky dimension to the final flavors), but of course you don’t want the pizza to be covered in burned greens. So put it on the pizza, press it down, and use the mozzarella cubes to hold down any particularly stubborn bits that stick up, if necessary.
Pizza with Broccoli Rabe, Ricotta Salata, Grape Tomatoes, and Chili Flakes
Roast the broccoli rabe and halve the grape tomatoes:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit with your pizza stone inside. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Toss the 3 ounces of broccoli rabe with enough olive oil to generously coat, along with salt and pepper to taste.
- Arrange in a single layer on the baking sheet. Roast at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until tender, 10 to 15 minutes. As soon as the broccoli rabe is done, remove the baking sheet containing it from the oven and turn the heat up to 550 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Cut the 5 to 6 grape tomatoes in half from top to bottom.
Prepare and bake the pizza:
- Stretch the dough to an approximately 12” round. Brush with olive oil, then top with the 4 ounces of cubed mozzarella.
- Arrange the roasted broccoli rabe evenly over the pizza. Top with the halved grape tomatoes.
- Bake the pizza on the stone until the cheese is melted and the crust is golden-brown, turning once halfway through.
- When the pizza is done, shave 1 ounce of ricotta salata on top. Sprinkle with chili flakes to taste.