I must admit. I am a total broccoli addict. I eat broccoli every day. Roasted. Steamed. With cheese melted over it on a potato and this way: on a white pizza. This is pretty guilt free. As long as you don’t eat half the pizza, like I sometimes do. But because low-fat ricotta stands in for most of the cheese, the calorie count on this dish is not terrible.
I was first introduced to white pizza in college outside of Philadelphia. Renato’s in Swarthmore used to make an awesome pizza with ricotta, Mozzarella, and lots of garlic. I’m pretty sure there was broccoli on that one too. So basically, I wanted to recreate that pizza here.
I’ve been eating this broccoli pizza almost once a week for about a month now, so I figured it was time to do a post.
I use freeze-dried garlic in this recipe, because it’s so much faster to just sprinkle it over the pizza, than it is to chop fresh garlic. The flavor is great. I don’t miss the fresh garlic at all. I use Litehouse brand, but you can find this other brand at Amazon:
You can make the crust yourself, as I used to do a lot (I just realized I’ve never posted by pizza dough recipe, which is weird), but lately, I’ve just been buying whole wheat pizza dough at the grocery store. Mollie Stone’s now carries Il Fornaio pizza dough in the frozen section. It tastes just like my homemade version, so I’ve been hard pressed to go to all the trouble of making it from scratch. Just make sure that you let the dough sit out long enough to come to room temperature, because if you’re not careful, you can run into the problem of having the toppings cook before the dough is ready, and then it just sticks to the pizza pan like crazy.
To help with making sure the pizza doesn’t stick, I use a nonstick, perforated pizza pan like this one available at Amazon.com (just click on it). I also spray it with a little nonstick spray:
- 1 package of pizza dough (I use whole wheat)
- Semolina or whole wheat flour to handle the dough
- 2 heads of broccoli, chopped into florets (about 3 cups)
- 1 Tablespoon freeze-dried garlic
- ¾ cup reduced fat ricotta cheese
- ½ cup shredded part-skim Mozzarella cheese
- Salt to taste
- Preheat the oven to 500˚F
- If you have purchased frozen pizza dough, make sure it thaws overnight. Then let it rest on the counter for at least 20 minutes before shaping it into a pizza.
- While the pizza dough is resting on the counter, you can steam the broccoli. Put the florets in a medium saucepan with 2 cups of rapidly boiling water. Steam for 3-4 minutes. Watch carefully. When the broccoli is ready, it will be bright green still, and tendercrisp. It is better for it to be undercooked than overcooked. Remove from the heat and drain completely. Then rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process and drain again. Pour the broccoli out onto some paper towels. You don't want to transfer any water to the surface of the pizza.
- When you are ready to shape the dough, put a couple of tablespoons of flour (semolina or wheat) onto a large cutting board. Coat the dough ball with the flour. Flatten the ball into a disc. Then with your fingertips, work your way around the edges, stretching it all out as you go. Put your fist in the middle of the growing circle and let the sides stretch down. Move your arm up and down to help it stretch out. Then work your fingers around the edge of the circle one more time.
- Spray the pizza pan with a little nonstick cooking spray and spread the circle of dough onto the pan. With the back of a spoon, spread the ricotta evenly over the pizza. Then sprinkle with the dried garlic. Arrange the broccoli pieces over the surface evenly. Sprinkle with the Mozzarella. Season with salt.
- Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes. Watch carefully. If the cheese starts to brown too quickly (before the crust has had a chance to brown), back off the heat a little bit. When the cheese and the crust are just starting to brown, remove from the oven and let cool for 2 minutes. Then slice and serve immediately.