Legacy of Passion

Pizza with Broccoli Rabe and Sausage


A pizza topped with broccoli rabe and sausage is both alluring and substantial. It’s a real crowd pleaser in my house, neck and neck with the iconic tomato and mozzarella original of Neapolitan fame. For a quick meal, use good store-bought dough (or, for full ownership and raves from your eaters, make your own). Then prepare just the topping from scratch. All you’ll need to do is toss sauteed sausage with the cooked greens and top the pie. Children love it, too, and you can feel good knowing that they’ll be eating their veggies.

Recipe by Julia della Croce
Julia is one of America’s foremost authorities on Italian cooking. She is a James Beard Award winning author and has written over 15 cookbooks.

Serves: 4
Prep: 1 hr 20 mins
Cook: ~7 mins
Total: ~1.5 hrs


  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • About 1-1/2 pounds purchased pizza dough or equivalent home-made dough
  • 1 Bunch broccoli rabe or 1 package pre-washed broccoli rabe
  • Fresh hot chili pepper such as Fresno or jalapeño to taste, sliced (optional)
  • 1/2 Pound crumbled sweet Italian pork sausages
  • Cornmeal
  • 1 Cup semi-soft sheep cheese, sliced or shredded (optional)


1. Lightly oil a large mixing bowl and place the ball of dough in it. Brush the surface with more olive oil. Cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let rise in a draft-free place until doubled, about 1 hour.

2. Prepare the broccoli rabe according to Basic Recipe for Sauteeing Broccoli Rabe, or for Extra-Virgin Olive Oil-Poached Broccoli Rabe, and drain off any excess liquid before topping the pizza with the greens.


3. Warm a stick-proof skillet over medium heat and toss in the chili pepper, if using, and the crumbled sausage. Sautee until sausage is lightly browned, about 6 minutes.

4. Preheat an oven to 500 degrees F. Stretch the dough onto a lightly oiled, cornmeal-dusted pizza pan or baking sheet. Prick the surface. Brush the rim lightly with olive oil and arrange the cooked broccoli rabe and sausage on the pie and over that, the cheese, if using.


5. Slide the pizza onto the middle rack of the oven and bake until the edges are puffy and browned and the dough is cooked through, about 7 minutes. Allow to settle for 5 minutes before cutting.


VARIATION: Substitute crumbled fresh chorizo or lamb merguez for Italian pork sausage.

VEGETARIAN OPTION: Eliminate the sausage; layer 2 cups of the shredded or thinly sliced cheese directly on the pizza base; top with the broccoli rabe and drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil.

Get the scoop on Broccoli Rabe: recipes, health benefits, & nutrition information. Learn more