The one nice thing I can say about this past winter is that it got me over my aversion to baking. Month after month of dark, bitterly cold days afforded ample time for experimentation–and a strong motivation to run the oven. I baked oatmeal-fig cookies, Meyer lemon gingerbread, and even a couple of yeasted breads.
But you don’t always have time for a proper rise, which is where your local pizza parlor is a great ally. In case you don’t already know, most pizza shops are happy to sell you a ball of the dough they had the foresight to start a few days ago. This means that homemade pizza can be yours in well under an hour.
Broccoli Rabe & Ricotta Pizza
- Grab some dough from the local pizza place on your way home from the subway.
- As soon as you walk in the door (yes, even before you remove your shoes), crank your oven up as high as it will go and pop a large cast iron skillet inside.
- Change into a caftan or other relaxation garment of your choice.
- Set a large pan over medium heat with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil.
- Crack open a beer and cue up some appropriate tunes–Fleetwood Mac, for example.
- Bring a large pan up to medium heat with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil.
- Peel and thinly slice several cloves of garlic. Rinse and roughly chop that bunch of broccoli rabe you bought on Sunday, when you mistakenly thought the week after vacation would be pretty chill.
- Add the garlic and a good pinch of crushed red pepper to the pan and stir continuously for a minute or two, taking care not to burn the garlic. Add the broccoli rabe in batches, starting with the stems. Cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Take the skillet out of the oven and drizzle a little olive oil into it. Grab the ball of dough and slowly stretch it into a circle approximately the size of your skillet by working your hands around the edges, pulling gently and allowing gravity to do its thing. Place the stretched dough into the skillet. Layer on the broccoli rabe and several dollops of ricotta cheese. If you happen to have some dessicated parmesan or romano lurking in the fridge, grate some over the top. A little lemon zest wouldn’t hurt either.
- Pop the skillet back in the oven and grab another beer.
- Your pizza will be ready in six minutes (or a little less if your oven doesn’t suck as hard as mine). You’ll know it’s ready because the edges of your crust will be brown and bubbly.
If you game it right, Stevie Nicks will be crooning “Angel” by the time you sit down to dinner, an old friend who lives too far away will call just as you finish eating, and the leftovers will make for a lovely brunch when topped with a fried egg.