Charred Broccolini and Lemon Pizza is THE pie for summer. A trip through a hot oven turns lemons from puckeringly sour to jammy and sweet. Pile that on a pizza with charred broccolini and all the cheese and you have my go-to weeknight dinner.
This post was originally published on May 1, 2018. It has been updated with new content and photos. Enjoy!
Pizza is one of those foods that will never go out of style. So barring the random zombie apocalypse, pizza is forever food IMO. And of course we all know the classics: pepperoni, sausage, and that old standard – the plain cheese. But when I want to go outside of the usual pizza offerings, where do I go? Well honestly,when I want to try something really out of left-field, I’ll head out.
Restaurants tend to do the zanier things when it comes to pizza – perhaps out of boredom? But it’s a good way to try something new without putting in more effort than ordering and handing over some dolla dolla bills, y’all. But obviously I’m not going to forsake my DIY pizza regimen completely. No, these trips out serve as great inspiration for when I want to switch things up at home. And this one in particular has made it into my regular rotation*.
Charred Broccolini and Lemon Pizza
It’s summer, so naturally I want something a little lighter, a bit brighter, and easy as (pizza) pie. This definitely ticks all those boxes AND is insanely delicious to boot. No sauce to cook and nothing to saute before it hits the oven makes this recipe perfect for a quick, weeknight dinner. Even better – I HIGHLY suggest using store bought pizza dough for this. Because, why not?
Uh, heck yeah, lemon pizza! For any skeptics out there, hear me out. Thinly sliced lemons, when run into a hot oven, undergo a magical transformation. What was sour and bitter becomes sweet and jammy, and just sharp enough to counteract all of that melty, gooey cheese. Pair it with toasty pine nuts, roasted broccolini, and a glass of white wine and well dinner sounds pretty awesome if I do say so myself. And all in well under 30 minutes.
Also, what’s broccolini?
Ah broccolini. Think of it as broccoli’s taller, skinnier cousin – like Luigi to his good friend, Mario. It’s technically a hybrid of regular broccoli and Chinese broccoli, but taller, skinnier, and a little sweeter. I love broccolini because it cooks up FAST. Also, it looks a bit more elegant draped onto a pizza. If you can’t find it, feel free to substitute regular old broccoli instead. It will pretty much be the same. But if you do spy some, try it. It’s great sauteed with garlic and olive oil, roasted with parmesan, or duh, charred on a cheesy, lemony pizza.
How to make the BEST broccolini lemon pizza
This is hella easy, so tips are so not necessary. But for those of you who are pizza perfectionists here’s a little knowledge drop.
- Buy organic lemons, and slice them thin. Regular lemons are OK too, but make sure to give them a good wash first.
- Split any thick stems of broccolini, lengthwise. We don’t pre-cook the broccolini here, so you want to make sure it’s thin enough that the oven can do the job.
- Always buy whole milk ricotta (or make your own) – the skim stuff is totally not worth the calories.
- If you buy mozzarella packed in water or a brine, make sure to slice or tear it into pieces and then give it a good drain on some paper towels. Water logged pizza is not so cute.
- Don’t pre-toast your pine nuts – they’ll get plenty toasty in the oven.
- Broiling the pizza at the end is not entirely necessary. For instance, I didn’t broil mine for these photos, because well – lazy. But the browner your lemons become (before they go to the dark side of burned) the sweeter they will be. So if you’re looking for that real jammy flavor, run your pie under the broiler for a minute or two. But don’t walk away because that’s when burning happens.
So take a chance on a pizza that’s a little off the beaten path. It’s never a bad idea to try something new, different, even mildly uncomfortable. It’s how we grow, after all. And if personal growth means more pizza…well I’m so down with that.Print
Charred Broccolini and Lemon Pizza
A few things: 1. The broccolini can totally be substituted with plain, old broccoli here. But because broccoli is a bit beefier, I’d give it a head start by blanching for 2 minutes and draining well before putting it on the pizza. 2. Broccolini is prettier when left whole, but for ease of eating you may want to give it a rough chop. 3. You should probably buy an organic lemon for this, seeing as how you’re going to eat the skin and all. To be honest though I didn’t and we are not dead, but in the future I will.
- Prep Time: 5 Minutes
- Cook Time: 20 Minutes
- Total Time: 25 minutes
- Yield: 2 large servings 1x
- Category: Pizza
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: Italian
A ball of pizza dough, homemade or store-bought
⅓ C whole milk ricotta
2 T olive oil, divided
4–5 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced thin
½ bunch broccolini, washed and stems trimmed
½ lemon, washed and sliced thin
½ tsp kosher salt
¼ tsp red chili flake
1 T pine nuts, untoasted
Preheat your oven to 475° F.
Stretch pizza dough onto a rimmed baking sheet that has been greased with non-stick spray.
Combine 1 T olive oil with ricotta and spread over pizza dough, leaving a half inch rim.
Layer on mozzarella, broccolini, and lemon slices. Sprinkle with kosher salt, chili flake, and pine nuts. Drizzle with remaining tablespoon of olive oil.
Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until the underside of the crust is a light, golden brown. Remove pizza from oven and turn on your broiler. Broil pizza for 3-4 minutes or until the lemons pick up a little color. Do not walk away from this. It will be bad news.
Remove from oven and let cool for five minutes. Garnish with fresh basil and serve.
Keywords: vegetarian pizza, lemon recipes, unique pizza recipe
*note I say “my” regular rotation – because as charming, intelligent, and handsome as he is, Eddie does not care for lemons, and thusly is not a fan of this particular pie.