Need a crowd pleaser, and an (almost) guaranteed way to get your kids to eat their veggies? Look no further than Broccoli Cheddar Pizza, complete with a magic cheese sauce and just a hint of mustard for extra flavor.
Broccoli with cheese sauce was the first recipe I learned outside of my mother's kitchen. I remember making the sauce in a quart-size Pyrex in my junior high school's Home-Ec microwave, following instructions much like these. The broccoli was steamed separately (also in the microwave), then dumped into a bowl of our choosing. Pouring the sauce over the cooked broccoli felt like an accomplishment. I'm sure I wasn't the only student who tasted sweet independence in every bite. Look, Mom! I can cook!
On more occasions than I like to admit, I find myself daydreaming about this little meal. Maybe it's the comfort food factor or that it was my first, practically unsupervised attempt at cooking. Either way, I knew I'd have to pizzafy it eventually. In this Broccoli Cheddar Pizza, the sauce is created like magic right on the pizza, as heavy cream coagulates with melting cheese, and the broccoli is blanched and then tossed with some whole-grain mustard for a little extra flavor.
Looking for more kid-friendly pizza recipes? Here are a few of my (and my son's) faves:
Broccoli Cheddar Pizza
- Cutting board and knife
- Large pot
- Wooden spoon
- Large rimmed baking sheet or baking stone/steel
- Pizza peel (optional)
- 1 pound broccoli crowns, cut into bite-size florets (stems discarded or saved for another use)
- 1 tablespoon whole grain mustard
- 1 (14- to 16-ounce) ball pizza dough
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 to 6 ounces sharp cheddar cheese (preferably orange), shredded
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Preheat the oven to 500°F (if using a baking sheet) or as high as it will go (if using a baking stone/steel; place the stone/steel in the bottom third of the oven before you start preheating). Let the oven preheat for at least 30 minutes. Then, if you’re using a baking stone or steel, switch the oven to Broil on high.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the broccoli and boil for 3 minutes. Drain the broccoli well in a colander, then transfer it to a large bowl, add the mustard, and toss until the mustard is evenly incorporated.
- Stretch or roll out your dough to a 12- to 14-inch circle, then transfer it to an oiled or parchment-lined baking sheet or a lightly floured pizza peel (if using a baking stone/steel).
- Brush the dough lightly with olive oil, making sure to get all the way to the edges. Scoop the broccoli onto the dough and spread it out, then top with the cheese and drizzle with the cream. Season with a pinch of salt and a grind or two of black pepper.
- Transfer the pizza to the oven and bake until the crust is golden and the cheese has browned in spots—8 to 10 minutes on the baking sheet, 6 to 8 minutes on the baking stone/steel. Remove the pizza from the oven.
- Let the pizza rest for about 5 minutes, then slice and serve.