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Food & Home

Roasted Broccoli Pizza with Tomato Butter and Olives

Alexandra Stafford

In its September 2020 issue, Food & Wine published a recipe from Philadelphia chef Greg Vernick for roasted broccoli steaks with tomato butter and olive tapenade, and I found the combination irresistible. This pizza captures all of those flavors: charred earthy broccoli, sweet fresh tomato, salty briny olives. The roasted tomato “butter” is a revelation: It’s one of the simplest, tastiest tomato sauce recipes I make.

1. Prepare the dough: Transfer the dough from its storage container to a roomier, lightly floured, covered container and allow it to proof at room temperature for 1½ to 2 hours.

2. Roast the broccoli: Preheat the oven to 475°F. Trim off the end of the broccoli stem and discard or compost. Peel the stem to remove the tough outer layer. Cut the head into small florets and the stem into ¼-inch-thick coins. Transfer to a sheet pan. Toss with the olive oil and a pinch of kosher salt. Taste a floret. It should be nicely seasoned. Add more salt if needed.

3. Roast until the broccoli is beginning to char at the edges, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.

4. Prepare the oven and pizza peel: About 1 hour before you want to bake the pizza, place a baking steel in the top third of the oven and preheat it to 550°F convection roast (or as high as it will go). Dust a pizza peel lightly with semolina flour or top with parchment paper.

5. Stretch the dough: Lightly dust a work surface with flour. Using lightly floured hands, pat the dough gently to flatten it, then stretch it into a 10- to 11-inch round by laying it on the back of your hands and gently rotating it, taking care not to depress the beautiful air pockets in the dough. If the dough begins resisting, set it down on the work surface to rest for 5 to 10 minutes, then continue stretching. Transfer the stretched dough to the prepared peel and give it a shake to ensure it’s not sticking.

6. Top the pizza: Spread the tomato butter (see below) over the dough, leaving a ½-inch border. Scatter the olives, roasted broccoli florets, and mozzarella evenly over the top. Drizzle with olive oil. Season with a pinch of flaky sea salt. Stretch the dough one last time by pulling outward on the edges. Redistribute the toppings as needed, then give the peel one last shake to ensure the dough is not sticking.

7. Bake the pizza: Shimmy the pizza (still on the parchment if using) onto the steel and bake until the cheese is melted and the edges are beginning to char, 5 to 6 minutes. (This may take 8 to 10 minutes, depending on your oven.)

8. Using the peel, transfer the pizza to a cutting board (discard the parchment paper). Cut and serve.

To make the Roasted Tomato “Butter”:

1. Preheat the oven to 475°F.

2. In a 9-inch square baking dish (or something similar), toss the tomatoes and onion with the olive oil and 1 teaspoon kosher salt. Season with pepper.

3. Transfer the dish to the oven and roast until the tomatoes are beginning to collapse and blister lightly in spots, 25 to 30 minutes.

4. Transfer the tomatoes and onions to a food processor or blender. Add the water and purée until smooth. Add the butter and purée again until smooth. Taste and adjust with salt if needed. The sauce should be pourable, so add water by the tablespoon to thin it. Store in the fridge for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

From Pizza Night, copyright © 2024 by Alexandra Stafford. Photographs copyright © 2024 by Eva Kolenko. Published by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Crown Publishing.