Thursday, May 19, 2005

Broccoli Rabe and Sausage Bread Pizzas

Broccoli Rabe and Sausage Bread Pizzas (Adapted from Rachael Ray)

1 large bundle broccoli rabe, trimmed, washed and coarsely chopped
1 loaf ciabatta bread, split horizontally, then cut in half crosswise
2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
12 ounces (3/4 pound) hot or sweet Italian turkey sausage, casings removed
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
salt and fresh ground black pepper
pinch fresh grated nutmeg
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/3 cup milk
2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
6 ounces (about 1 1/2 cups) shredded provolone cheese

Preheat broiler with a rack placed in the upper third of the oven.

In a large saucepan of boiling salted water, add broccoli rabe and cook for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and drain well, pressing out any excess liquid.

Place each section of bread, cut side up, onto a cooking rack, then place rack onto a large baking sheet. Place sheet into the oven and broil until the bread is lightly toasted, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 2 teaspoons oil over medium-high. Add sausage and cook, stirring to crumble, until browned and completely cooked through, about 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the sausage meat to paper towel-lined plate and let cool slightly. Add two more teaspoons oil into the skillet - reduce heat to medium and add garlic. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir in crushed red pepper and broccoli rabe - cook until heated through, about 1 to 2 minutes. Season with salt, fresh ground black pepper and nutmeg - remove from the heat.

In a medium bowl, whisk together ricotta, milk, thyme and remaining 2 teaspoons oil - season lightly with salt and fresh ground black pepper. Evenly divide and spread mixture over the portions of toasted ciabatta. Top each evenly with the broccoli rabe mixture, then with the sausage and cheese. Place back under the broil and heat until the cheese melts and begins to brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. Remove and let cool slightly before serving.

Makes 4 servings.

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