Deep-Dish Pizza with Italian Sausage and Broccoli Rabe

  • Italian Sausage and Broccoli Rabe Filling:
  • For the dough
  • For the tomato sauce
  • For assembly:
  • 1 large bunch broccoli rabe, washed and coarsely chopped
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chilli flakes
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 pound hot Italian sausage links, casings removed
  • Tomato Sauce:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 (32-ounce) can plum tomatoes coarsely chopped, no juice
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh oregano leaves
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil leaves
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Dough:
  • 2 packages quick-rise dry yeast
  • 2 cups warm water (90 degrees F)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, plus more to oil the pans
  • 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, slightly softened
  • Assembly:
  • 1/2 pound aged provolone, coarsely grated
  • 1/2 pound fontina cheese, coarsely grated
  • Sausage and Broccoli Rabe filling
  • Tomato Sauce
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • For the filling
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil, add the broccoli rabe and blanch for 2 minutes. Drain in a colander and run cold water over. Drain well again and squeeze out excess liquid.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil, chili flakes and garlic in a large saute pan over medium heat and cook for 1 minute. Add the broccoli rabe, salt and pepper and cook until slightly tender, about 5 minutes.
In a separate large saute pan, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil over high heat until the oil begins to shimmer. Add the sausage links and using a wooden spoon, gently break up the meat into coarse pieces. Cook until deep golden brown. (You do not need to cook all the way because it will continue to cook in the oven.) Combine the sausage and the broccoli rabe and let cool slightly.

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and oregano, bring to a boil and cook until the mixture thickens, about 15 minutes. Stir in the basil and season with salt and pepper. Let cool slightly.

Dissolve the yeast and water in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the oils and mix for 30 seconds. Add the cornmeal, 3 cups of the flour and salt and
beat for 5 minutes. Switch to the dough hook and mix in the remaining 2 1/2 cups of flour and knead, using the dough hook for 2 minutes. Add the butter and knead until incorporated. The dough is a very moist dough so do not add more flour unless absolutely needed.
Place the dough in a large bowl lightly oiled with vegetable oil, cover with plastic wrap or clean kitchen towels and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 45 minutes. Punch down the dough and allow to double in size again.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Place 2 pizza stones into the oven to preheat as well. Generously oil 2 (9 or 10-inch) deep dish pie pans with olive oil (about 2 tablespoons for each pan).
Divide the dough in half and press the dough out slightly on the counter top. Place the dough in the prepared pans and push out to cover the bottom and up the side of the pans. (If using the 9-inch pans, pinch a 2-inch ball off each dough to make a better fit.)

Combine the cheese in a bowl. Place half of the cheese of the bottom of each pie crust. Divide the sausage filling over the cheese and then top with the remaining cheese, patting the cheese firmly down over the filling. Spoon some of the sauce over the top of the cheese to cover completely. Place the pans into the oven on the pizza stones and bake in the oven until golden brown, about 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle the top with Parmesan. Let the pizza rest on a baking sheet for 5 minutes before slicing.

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