Move over, basil pesto. Chimichurri sauce has come to play, catapulting broccoli rabe pizza to exciting new heights of flavor.
I first created this pizza as an homage to Philly's other iconic sandwich, roast pork with broccoli rabe and provolone. I even cooked a pork roast to test it out, but when I mixed my homemade chimichurri sauce with broccoli rabe on a whim — to add a tangy zing of vinegar and garlic and fresh herbs — I realized the meat would only detract from this glorious pairing. And just like that, one of my all-time favorite vegetarian pizza recipes was born.
What is Chimichurri Sauce?
Also known as Argentinean pesto, chimichurri is a vinegary, herbal sauce used most frequently as a marinade or condiment for grilled meats. It can be green or red, and it contains a mixture of fresh parsley and oregano, raw garlic, olive oil, and red wine vinegar. For more info about chimichurri and ideas for using up the extra sauce, visit this post on my sister site, Every Night Meals.
Chimichurri Broccoli Rabe Pizza, Step by Step
Time needed: 30 minutes.
There are a few extra steps in this recipe, but it's easy to make! Just preheat the oven, grab your food processor, put a pot of water on the stove for the broccoli rabe, and get ready for some serious deliciousness.
- Preheat the oven.
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. If you're using a baking stone/steel, switch the oven to Broil about 10 minutes before you're ready to bake the pizza.
- Make the chimichurri sauce.
Buzz some parsley, oregano, red wine vinegar, garlic, dried chile flakes, salt, black pepper, and olive oil in a food processor until you've got a sauce that looks like loose pesto.
- Blanch and drain the broccoli rabe.
Put a pot of water over high heat. As soon as the water is boiling steadily, toss in a chopped bunch of broccoli rabe and blanch for 2 to 3 minutes. Then, immediately drain the broccoli rabe and dunk it in an ice water bath or shock it under cold running water. Drain, squeeze out as much liquid as you can with your hands, and squeeze the broccoli rabe one more time in a few layers of paper towels. In a medium bowl, mix the broccoli rabe with ¼ cup of the chimichurri.
- Stretch and top the dough.
Stretch or roll out a ball of pizza dough. Then, dump the broccoli rabe mixture onto the dough and spread it out. Finally, top with slices of smoked or regular provolone cheese.
- Bake the pizza.
Transfer the pizza to the oven and bake until it's golden around the edges and the bottom of the crust is evenly browned.
- Slice and serve!
Take the pizza out of the oven and let it rest for a few minutes. Then, slice it up! Serve the pizza with a ramekin of extra chimichurri sauce for dipping.
Broccoli Rabe Chimichurri Pizza with Provolone Cheese
- Cutting board and knife
- Food processor or mortar and pestle
- Large pot
- Large bowl
- Large rimmed baking sheet or baking stone/steel
- Pizza peel (optional)
- Rolling pin (optional)
For the chimichurri sauce
- 1 cup packed fresh parsley leaves
- 3 tablespoons packed fresh oregano leaves
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 5 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 1 teaspoon (or up to 1½ teaspoons) dried red chile flakes
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
For the pizza
- 1 bunch broccoli rabe (about 1 pound)
- 1 (14- to 16-ounce) ball pizza dough
- 7 slices smoked or regular provolone cheese
- 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.
To make the chimichurri sauce
- In a food processor, combine the parsley, oregano, vinegar, garlic, chile flakes, salt, and a few grinds of black pepper. Pulse until everything is very finely chopped, then add the olive oil and process until the mixture looks like a looser pesto.
- Pour the chimichurri sauce into a small bowl and set it aside while you prep the broccoli rabe. (This recipe makes about 1 cup of chimichurri, which is more than you need for the pizza. Store leftover sauce in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.)
To prep and cook the broccoli rabe
- Fill a large pot about halfway with hot water and bring it to a boil over high heat.
- Meanwhile, rinse the broccoli rabe and trim an inch off of the stem ends. Chop the broccoli rabe into roughly 1-inch pieces.
- Fill a large bowl with ice water.
- When the water comes to a boil, add the broccoli rabe and let it cook (a.k.a. blanch) for 2 to 3 minutes. Immediately drain the broccoli rabe and dump it into the ice water. Let it chill in the water for a few minutes, drain it again, and use your hands to squeeze out as much water as possible. Then, wrap the broccoli rabe in paper towels or a clean kitchen towel and squeeze it one more time.
- Place the drained broccoli rabe in a medium bowl. Add ¼ cup of the chimichurri sauce and stir until it is evenly incorporated.
To make the pizza
- If you’re using a baking stone or steel, switch the oven to Broil on high.
- Stretch or roll out your dough to a 12- to 14-inch circle, then transfer it to a baking sheet / pizza pan or a lightly floured pizza peel (if using a baking stone/steel).
- Dump the chimichurri–broccoli rabe mixture onto the dough and spread it out evenly. Top with the sliced provolone.
- Transfer the pizza to the oven and bake until the crust is golden around the edges and evenly browned on the bottom—8 to 10 minutes on the baking sheet, 6 to 8 minutes on the baking stone/steel.
- Remove the pizza from the oven. Slice and serve with extra chimichurri sauce for drizzling or dipping.