Three days per week, as I head home from working downtown, I pass by the famous Gialina pizzeria. The homey scent and sight of their wood-fired oven is detectable right as I emerge from the BART station. As I walk past the cozy interior, I spy happy customers sipping red wine from low tumblers, and side-step a few people waiting outside for a table. If I walk home on the Gialina side of the street, I always get pizza on the brain. I start thinking about what produce we'll be receiving in our Friday organic delivery, because that's really what drives pizza for me: seasonal vegetables.
Last week, we received some young rapini (AKA broccoli rabe), with the tiniest florets. I really like a basic rapini pasta, but I think I had spied a rapini pizza on Gialina's menu a couple of years back, so that was the direction I was headed.
I think dark Italian greens go nicely with something spicy, especially sausage. So, I pulled a link of andouille out of our freezer stash. Beyond this combo, all this pretty pizza needed was simple sauce and cheese. Delicious.
Pizza with Rapini & Andouille Sausage
Do ahead: Blanch the rapini. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Prepare an ice bath and set aside. Trim the bottom off a small handful of very fresh, young rapini. I selected sprigs with florets, because they add visual interest. Cook the rapini in the boiling water for about 3 minutes, just until the stems are starting to soften but are still bright green. Plunge the rapini right into the ice bath until totally cooled. Remove to clean towels and pat dry.
Assemble the pizza: start with basic recipe. Smear a very thin layer of basic tomato sauce (described here) on your rolled-out dough. Sprinkle with a handful of grated mozzarella cheese. Arrange the blanched rapini in a pleasing composition. From one link of andouille (or any other spicy) sausage, make 6-8 thin slices. Reserve the remaining sausage for another use. Arrange the sausage slices in and around the rapini. Sprinkle entire pizza with thinly sliced garlic (~1 clove), plus a pinch each dried oregano and red pepper flakes. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and lightly season with sea salt. Bake according to basic recipe. Serve with grated parmesan cheese.