Broccoli Rabe and Ricotta Toasts
Broccoli Rabe and Ricotta Toasts Reprinted from "My Pizza" by Jim Lahey with Rick Flaste. Copyright 2012. Photos copyright 2012 by Squire Fox. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, a division of Random House, Inc.

Jim Lahey's famous recipe for no-knead pizza dough has helped us make professional-quality pizza crust at home. But we always had trouble recreating the sauces and toppings the famed baker makes at his Manhattan pizzeria, Co.--that is, before My Pizza hit the shelves. In the new cookbook, Lahey reveals the secrets behind his classic pies alongside recipes for the starters, sides and sweets that bookend meals at Co. We're starting with these boldly flavored broccoli-rabe-and-ricotta toasts. It's the perfect snack to take the edge off guests' hunger at our next pizza party.

Makes 8 toasts
Start to Finish: 20 minutes

Ingredients

8 stalks broccoli rabe, trimmed

1½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves, sliced 1⁄8-inch thick, plus 1 clove, halved

Red-pepper flakes

Salt and coarsely ground black pepper

Eight ¼-inch slices crusty, slightly stale Italian bread, toasted

3 tablespoons fresh ricotta cheese

½ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

Directions

1. Bring a medium saucepan of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, fill a medium bowl with ice water and set aside.

2. Blanch the broccoli rabe in the boiling water until bright green, about 20 seconds. Transfer it to the ice bath immediately to halt the cooking. Drain the broccoli rabe, pat it dry and set aside.

3. In a medium skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Add the sliced garlic and a pinch of the red-pepper flakes and cook for 30 seconds. Slice the broccoli rabe into 2-inch pieces and add it to the skillet. Cook, shaking the skillet continuously, for about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the mixture to a plate and let cool slightly.

4. Rub each toast on one side with the garlic clove; discard the garlic clove. Spread the ricotta evenly over the toast and season generously with pepper. Divide the broccoli rabe evenly among the toast. Sprinkle with the lemon zest, additional red-pepper flakes and salt.

5. Arrange the toasts on a serving platter, drizzle with the remaining olive oil and serve immediately.

Finishing Touches

It's the details that count! Try these tips

  • Don't have ricotta on hand? Swap in a different soft cheese--like fat-free fromage blanc--for a flavor that's equally rich and creamy.

  • Project-oriented home cooks can try their hand at homemade ricotta, which is best served the day you make it.

  • Grab a meal at Co. the next time you're in the Big Apple.

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