One-Pan Pizza Broccoli makes pantry-friendly cooking a quick and tasty convenience
This week, you might be tempted to write me a note like, hey, just putting the word pizza in front of something doesn’t make it pizza. Fair enough, but as a colleague noted, this broccoli pizza recipe from writer and editor Dawn Perry was devoured by her family, including her 6-year-old. She pushed me to do it. I did and was convinced by the recipe and subsequently by Perry’s new cookbook “Ready, Set, Cook”.
If de-stressing or simplifying your life is one of your 2022 resolutions, then Perry’s dinner-prep philosophy of stocking your pantry and fridge with foods you really love, then cooking dinner with what is at hand could be one of the keys to success. Yes, it may seem obvious, but really putting this into practice takes, well, practice.
“Pantry cooking isn’t just a hook for this book — it’s the way I cook in real life,” writes Perry, who has two young children and a career. She sympathizes with busy people and those without access to specialized markets (or equipment). The economy and the reduction of waste are also at the heart of its concerns.
Reading Perry’s cookbook, I was inspired to adopt some of his recommendations to set myself up for success. I started, as she recommends, with an assessment of the contents of my cupboards, fridge and freezer.
I checked the labels and the dates on everything. We finished this frozen squash soup and chili, grilled the various chicken thighs, chops and sausages. We quickly marinated fresh peppers in the crisper drawer and made Perry’s Veggie Fritters with Sad Carrots and Squash. I made hummus from some of the six (six!, how did that happen?) cans of garbanzo beans.
That meant a few weeks of meals with minimal cooking and shopping. Best of all, in the end, I had room to restock smartly and really knew what I had on hand. Goal!
Another piece of advice from Perry: if you’ve bought canned or canned food that, if you’re honest, you’ll never eat, donate it to a food bank or give it to a friend – don’t let it expire or spoil.
Her tips for restocking and reordering cover basic oils, vinegars and flours, but she also recommends long-lasting flavor boosters, such as miso, kimchi and sauerkraut, as well as coconut milk and fish. canned for long shelf life. If you are starting from scratch, its basic equipment list is also perfect.
The cookbook is then loaded with over 125 adaptable dishes that require few fresh ingredients. Most are ready in about 30 minutes. They include great toast ideas, soups and salads, as well as several one-pot dishes.
Take this broccoli pizza: I had to buy broccoli, fresh mozzarella and optional but wanted fresh basil. The rest of the ingredients I had on hand: oil, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, onion and a can of whole peeled tomatoes. Bonus: All fresh ingredients were used in this recipe.
I really enjoyed the manufacturing process. Searing the broccoli until it had a golden crust on both sides was a great tip, giving the dish a nice smoky flavor and texture. I loved crushing the whole tomatoes on the pan with my hands. (No sauce.) It’s finished in the oven, so you get the nice melty cheese on top.
Do you miss crispy pizza dough? Perry recommends serving it with your favorite crusty bread. (Also try toasted pita bread.) What, no sausage? She advises carnivores to start the dish by removing a link or two of fresh sausage from its casing, frying it, then searing your broccoli in the melted fat.
In other words, make it your own, just like you would a pizza.
“I don’t know if this recipe came to me in a fever dream or a divine vision. All I know is that one day I saw it, sold out, and had to make it ASAP,” Perry writes of the dish.
Here’s my theory on why it sprang from his subconscious: Practice. Practice. Practice. Yes, Perry is a food writer, but she’s also set herself up for success by training herself to think simply and deliciously and preparing her cooking to make it a reality.
I bet with a little practice and preparation, I can tone that pantry kitchen muscle. I decided to try to do just that in 2022.
Time: 35 minutes
Makes: 4 servings
If you love pizza, but want something a little lighter, this vegetable-based, pantry-friendly dish is worth a try. The recipe is taken from “Ready, Set, Cook” by Dawn Perry, who also recommends making it with cauliflower florets. If you want a meatier version, try adding sausages removed from their casing and fried. Use the sausage juice, adding oil if needed, to cook the vegetables, then continue the recipe by adding the sausage just before the tomatoes.
Storage Notes: Refrigerate leftovers for up to 3 days.
- 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 white or yellow onion (about 10 ounces) or 2 shallots, thinly sliced
- 1/2 tsp fine salt, divided
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 bunch broccoli (about 3 crowns), trimmed and cut into spears
- 1 can (28 ounces) whole peeled tomatoes, drained
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, optional
- 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, torn into bite-sized pieces
- Torn fresh basil leaves (optional)
- Place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 450 degrees.
- In a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat, heat 2 tablespoons of oil until shimmering. Add the onion, season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and several black peppercorns and cook, stirring, until the onion begins to blacken around the edges, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a plate.
- Add 2 tablespoons of oil to the pan and heat until it comes to a simmer. Add half the broccoli and cook, turning once, until browned on both sides, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer to plate with onion and repeat with remaining oil and broccoli. Season the vegetables with the remaining salt.
- Return the cooked vegetables to the pan and use your hands to smash the tomatoes on top. Season with several black peppercorns and red pepper flakes, if using. Top with mozzarella and transfer to the oven.
- Roast for 8 to 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted and broccoli is just tender.
- Set the oven to broil. Carefully raise the rack 5 to 6 inches from the broil element and return the pan to the oven. Broil for 1 to 2 minutes, or until golden brown. (If your grill is on the bottom, transfer the baking dish to the grill drawer.)
- Let the dish cool for 1-2 minutes, then garnish with basil, if using, and serve.
Nutritional information per serving (1 1/2 generous cups) | Calories: 415; Total fat: 31 g; Saturated fat: 10 g; Cholesterol: 50mg; Sodium: 536mg; Carbohydrates: 20g; Dietary fiber: 7g; Sugar: 11g; Protein: 15g
This analysis is an estimate based on the available ingredients and this preparation. It should not replace the advice of a dietitian or nutritionist.
Adapted from “Ready, Set, Cook” by Dawn Perry (Simon Schuster, 2021).