About a year ago, my life changed in a big way. I discovered this recipe for no-knead pizza dough that yields my favorite kind of restaurant-pizza crust, right out of my home oven. It’s thin in the middle, chewy and bubbly around the edges, and a total cinch to make. I’ve been talking it up to friends and family (come on, Dad–try it! I know you’ll love it!), but somehow we haven’t talked about it here since my initial discovery.
Well, let’s change that! Let’s talk pizza today. We’ll definitely use my go-to dough and I’m thinking some garlicky sautéed broccoli rabe, spicy Italian sausage, and ricotta cheese sound like awfully good toppings for this chilly evening. A bottle of red? Maybe a movie? Good, I’m glad you’re on board.
The only catch with this dough is that you have to get it started the night before you plan to eat it. Or you can mix it up whenever you have a free moment, days or weeks in advance, and keep pre-portioned balls portioned in the freezer, ready to access when your pizza cravings hit. Since I discovered this pizza dough, I don’t like to be without a few balls in the freezer. It’s always a treat and an excellent way to use up odd bits of cheese, a few olives, or some leftover veggies.
I’ll walk you through the basics of this dough, but if you want to see how it comes together in more detail, click back to when I first mentioned it.
All you need is flour, a bit of yeast, salt, and water, plus a big bowl, a whisk, a wooden spoon, and a strong arm. Whisk together the dry ingredients.
Slowly pour water into the flour mixture and stir with the wooden spoon until it all comes together in a big, messy clump.
Okay, now all you have to do is cover it and let it take a long, leisurely rest. When it has doubled in size and is covered in tiny bubbles, turn it out onto a floured board.
Divide the mass into however many pizza you’re making. A full recipe will yield enough for 8 personal-sized pizzas or 4 shareable pies. Shape each portion into a ball and allow to rest for an hour or so while you preheat the oven and pizza stone and prep your toppings.
Now for the toppings! I’ve got some spicy Italian sausage, a big bunch of broccoli rabe, and ricotta cheese.
Cook the sausage, breaking it up into bite-sized pieces as you go. Be sure to get every side nice and crispy.
Pull the sausage out of the pan so we can reuse it for the broccoli rabe. I’m just using the leafy parts and some of the thinner stalks for my pizza. The thick stalks will go back into the veggie drawer and I’ll blanch them and use them in a less exciting dinner later in the week.
If there’s a lot of fat left from the sausage, drain some off; if there’s not much at all, add a little olive oil to the pan. Saute a few cloves of sliced garlic until they start to sizzle and your kitchen starts to smell like the pizzeria it has become for the evening. Add a pinch of red pepper flakes for heat and toss in the chopped broccoli rabe. If it doesn’t look like way too much at this point, you’re probably not using enough. Give the greens a few flips and in 2 minutes they’ll wilt and absorb all of that good garlicky flavor.
Time to put it all together. Stretch a ball of dough into a thin round. Keep the perimeter a bit thicker so you’ll have some good chewy crust to gnaw on after you’ve devoured the center. Drizzle the crust with a bit of olive oil, then scatter broccoli rabe and a few pieces of sausage around. Top with a few dollops of ricotta and get that pizza into the oven.
5 minutes later, you’re digging in to a little slice of heaven, right in your own kitchen. We need to do this more often!
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