When I started menu planning a few months ago, I decided to make things easier for myself by designating Friday as Pizza Night. Since pizza is such a versatile dish, Stephen and I would be able to experiment with different topping combinations, allowing us the freedom to create everything from a simple Margherita Pizza to a pizza featuring slightly more gourmet ingredients.
One of our favorite ways to top our pizza is to use crumbled Italian sausage (preferably spicy) and sauteed broccoli rabe. Usually, those two toppings are enough to create a pizza that's both substantial and filling, but there are times when I want to balance out the spiciness of the sausage and the bitterness of the broccoli rabe even further. Adding caramelized onions is the perfect way to inject a bit of sweetness into each bite.
On the nights when Stephen and I are unable to come to agreement about the use of tomato sauce, we'll divide the pizza dough and make two smaller pizzas. When working with this particular combination of toppings, he prefers to use sauce while, when given the opportunity, I prefer to skip the tomato sauce in favor of making a white pizza (or pizza bianca).
Seriously, when it comes to pizza-making, there are no wrong choices. Just stay true to the topping combinations that make you happy.
It's my hope that you use this pizza recipe as a guide or a starting point for your own pizza. Depending on your personal tastes, you'll undoubtedly adjust the amount of sauce you use, how long you bake the pizza, and your ratio of toppings. Have fun with it and don't be afraid to experiment with new flavors!
The instructions below will yield a crispier crust, so if you want to be able to easily bend your pizza slices, then keep the oven temperature at 400°F throughout the entire baking period.
Pizza with Italian Sausage, Broccoli Rabe, and Caramelized Onions
Prep time: 20-25 minutes | Cook time: 20 minutes | Total time: 40-45 minutes | Yield: 4-6 servings | Printable Recipe
- 1 large white onion, peeled and sliced
- Extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 pound Italian sausage links, casings removed
- 1 bunch broccoli rabe, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 pound pizza dough
- Tomato or pizza sauce (optional)
- Shredded mozzarella
- Preheat oven to 500°F.
- Place a large skillet over medium-high heat. Pour enough olive oil into the pan to cover the bottom of it. When the oil begins to ripple, add the onion and allow to caramelize.
- In another large skillet, cook the sausage oven medium-high heat until browned. Use a wooden spoon to break apart the meat as it cooks.
- Drain the sausage on a paper-towel-lined plate. Wipe the sausage grease (if any) out of the pan with a paper towel and return the skillet to the heat.
- Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan. After about 1 minute, add the broccoli rabe and saute until the leaves have wilted and the stalks are cooked but still have a slight bite to them. Remove the pan from the heat to allow the broccoli rabe to cool.
- On a floured surface, roll out the pizza dough to your desired thickness. Lightly oil a baking sheet and place the rolled dough onto the sheet.
- Top with sauce (if using), mozzarella, and the sausage, broccoli rabe, and caramelized onions. You don't have to use the full pound of sausage or all of the broccoli rabe or caramelized onions if you don't want to! Base the amount you use on your personal preference.
- Bake for 10 minutes.
- Reduce the heat to 400°F and continue to bake for an additional 10 minutes.
- Remove the pizza from the oven and allow to cool for 2-3 minutes before slicing into 8 pieces.
Recipe by Michelle Rittler, Taste As You Go
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