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Potato, Leek, Sausage and Broccoli Rabe Pizza

Potato, Leek, Sausage and Broccoli Rabe Pizza

I was brought up with the idea that a proper dinner plate has three elements: meat, vegetables (preferably green) and "a starch" -- potatoes, rice, or maybe pasta -- with bread or rolls within easy reach.  (This was in the meat-and-potatoes American Midwest, in the fifties and sixties.) I've since learned that deviations are possible from that formula, but I will admit that life seems to me to be in complete balance if my plate holds the basic and infallible trinity, so that was one of the themes of this pizza. Sort of a one-pot meal -- which was an idea dear to the heart of my mother, who said I should do it now and then (or at least use less pots!). 

Now, I don't need an excuse to make pizza, and I seem to cook something with broccoli rabe in it at least twice a month, but this pizza was created specifically for the Broccoli Rabe Festival that's going on all this month over at Alanna's blog A Veggie Venture. A few weeks ago she didn't know how to pronounce it or where to buy it -- but now, just a few days after jumping on the rabe bandwagon, there's Alanna, waving a baton, tooting a whistle and highstepping down Main Street at the head of the parade! We expect nothing less, of course, from our favorite and most enthusiastic veggievangelist!  (She is, after all, the Chairman, CEO, Editor-in-Chief and Executive Chef of Kitchen Parade, a food column service for small-town newspapers!)

So here it is, a full meal pizza, complete in one slice: meat, potatoes and your green vegetable, all sitting on top of your bread. A layer of potatoes and leeks, some broccoli rabe and pork sausage, topped -- to keep everything in flow -- with smoked cheese, garlic and roasted peppers. Needless to say, a slice of this pizza, with a simple salad and a glass of wine, is about all you need for a tasty supper with all the requisite parts.

Potato, Leek, Sausage and Broccoli Rabe Pizza

Makes a 12 - 14" pizza, or 4 individual size (6 - 7") pizzas

1/2 recipe pizza dough
2 medium leeks, white parts only
2 medium boiling potatoes
1/4 lb broccoli rabe
1 roasted pepper (recipe follows), cut in 1/4" strips
6 oz sweet Italian sausage
2 cloves garlic, sliced
3 oz Parmigiano Reggiano, shredded
2 oz smoked Gouda, shredded
1 oz sharp imported Provolone, shredded
olive oil

Slice the leeks very thinly. Boil the potatoes in salted water about 20 minutes, until just starting to be fork tender. Force cool the potatoes in cold water, then slice very thinly. Wash the rabe, trim it, cut it in thirds and blanche in rapidly boiling salted water, about 90 seconds. Drain in a colander and spray with cold water. When cool, gather up the rabe in your hands and squeeze out all the moisture you can get. Allow any residual moisture to drain out in a colander while preparing the other items.

Remove the casing from the sausage and sauté until it just starts to lose the pinkness. Break up into chunks and set aside.

When the dough has completed the first rising, turn the oven on, with the baking stone in place, and preheat at least 30 minutes at 450º. Punch down and then stretch out the dough into a pizza shell (or 4 individual-sized pizza shells) and cover with a clean cloth. Allow to rise 30 more minutes while the oven is preheating. Then spread a few tablespoons of olive oil over the dough with the back of a spoon and spread the sliced leeks evenly over the surface. Season with a little salt and bake ten minutes on the stone.

Lay the potato slices on top of the onions in concentric rings of overlapping slices. Scatter on the cheese and garlic slices and then spread the broccoli rabe over the middle third of the pizza. Crumble and scatter on the sausage. Top with roasted pepper strips. Return to the oven, lower the temperature to 400º and bake another 8 - 10 minutes, until the cheese is melted and the crust is starting to brown.

Roasted Red Pepper

1 red pepper
2 tsp balsamic vinegar

Roast the pepper on a grill until charred on the exterior surfaces. Place in an air-tight container until cool. Being careful to capture the juices, remove and discard the charred skin, internal membranes and seeds. Marinate the pepper in a mixture of its juices and the balsamic vinegar overnight.


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OK the second paragraph got a BIG GRIN (thank you, you capture that Music Man small-town business perfectly!) but it was the first that got an OUT-LOUD LAUGH, remembering how my mother would simply 'sniff' at meatless suppers during my vegetarian years and then, once I started eating meat again, would be sooo quiet at a meaty but breadless supper til I finally had to ask if anything were wrong. "Your father likes bread with his meals," she'd say. Moms, they sure know how to put it!

Thanks for the broccoli rabe contribution -- except I've decided to call it rapini because it's easier to spell and pronounce! ;-)

This looks absolutely fantastic. I'm a huge rabe fan, and this pizza sounds like the perfect showcase.
Another great recipe and picture!

Is the meat, veggie and starch combo an American thing? Our family were really into the balance of meals and we followed this very closely but we're not American, despite my father.

I really like the look of the pizza but must admit that I am intimidated by the idea of making my own pizza for some reason. Maybe one day I will be brave enough. And I love broccoli rabe - I ate that almost every day in Germany.

here's a new one

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