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Chicken and Broccoli Rabe Pizza with Alfredo Sauce

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Garlicky broccoli rabe is paired with grilled chicken, alfredo sauce, and Parmesan cheese for an Italian restaurant classic in pizza form!

2 chicken and broccoli rabe pizzas sitting on a metal baking rack.

I’ve come a long way from my Midwest roots since moving to New York and marrying into an Italian family. I’ve been fortunate to learn a lot of Italian cooking techniques from my Calabrese father-in-law.

One of the things I’ve enjoyed most about this is trying out new (to me) ingredients that they have been enjoying in their family for years. Take broccoli rabe, for instance. Have you ever tried it? Broccoli rabe is a bitter vegetable (also known as rapini) that is similar to broccoli. Broccoli rabe has longer, thinner stalks like broccolini, and lots of edible leaves.

Broccoli rabe is popular in Italian cooking. My in-laws have been serving it for years, but I didn’t really appreciate bitter greens until recently.

A jar of alfredo sauce in front of a red and white checkered cloth.

This chicken and broccoli rabe pizza recipe came to be as a way of bringing one of my favorite dishes from a local Italian restaurant home to my own kitchen. So many dishes are great when pizza-fied, and this one was no exception.

When deciding what kind of “pizza sauce” to use with my chicken and broccoli rabe, I was inspired by one of my favorite brands of pasta sauce, Rao’s. And with all of the garlicky goodness going on in this pizza recipe I knew that their alfredo sauce was going to be the way to go.

I’ve been a fan of Rao’s for quite some time now. So I headed over to the pasta and tomato sauce aisle at my local Walmart to stock up. I was torn between using the standard Rao’s alfredo sauce or the roasted garlic alfredo, but since I knew I was going to be packing in the garlic with my broccoli rabe, I opted for the original.

Aisle at Walmart showing where to find jars of Rao's pasta sauce.

And while this particular recipe doesn’t call for Rao’s marinara sauce, I highly recommend picking some up to keep in your pantry. The price at Walmart was great, and I’m thrilled that they’re now carrying this brand.

Most jarred sauces are looked at as sub-par, or in need of lots of additions in order to become a proper, flavorful sauce by my Italian in-laws. But when I make Rao’s, all I have to do is pour in the jar and everyone loves it!

I also really like the fact that Rao’s products contain REAL ingredients that I can recognize. I appreciate that they use high quality, simple ingredients in their sauces and that you can taste the slow-cooked flavor in every bite.

Platter of chicken and broccoli rabe pizza with a jar of alfredo sauce and bowl of broccoli rabe in the background.

Rao’s sauces were created by Frank Pellegrino Sr. so consumers could enjoy the authentic Italian tomato sauce served at Rao’s acclaimed 10-table East Harlem, New York restaurant at home. You’d be hard-pressed to ever get a table at that restaurant, so why not bring that authentic taste to your own dinner table?

You can check out more delicious Italian recipes and meal inspiration over on Rao’s website.

The Walmart that I went to even offers the option to buy online and pick up in the store on the same day. They’ll even hold it for you for 7 days after you place your online order. So I was able to pay for my sauce ahead of time, skip the lines, and go right to grab it from the online order pickup area. Super simple!

Platter of chicken and broccoli rabe pizza with a jar of alfredo sauce and bowl of broccoli rabe in the background.

It’s already October, and that means it’s also Italian Heritage Month. There are a lot of fun festivals to celebrate that heritage here in New York, and they’re all packed with tents serving delicious Italian food classics.

I really love being able to have those authentic flavors at home whenever I want them, too. Not that I need a reason to celebrate all things Italian, but this pizza is a perfect way to do it!

Let’s start with cooking the broccoli rabe!

Broccoli rabe on a cutting board with a skillet of garlic and a pot of boiling water in the background.

How to Cook Broccoli Rabe

I like getting the garlic oil started first. I use 6-8 cloves of garlic for the broccoli rabe. It may seem like a lot, and it is, but the garlic gets gently heated in the oil and gets nice and caramelized and sweet. Feel free to cut back the garlic a bit, but I’m telling you that a lot is the authentic way to make it.

The sliced garlic and some red pepper flakes go into a skillet along with olive oil. After those things are in the pan, then you turn on the heat. This way it works up nice and gently and the garlic gets golden and delicious. This process usually takes 5-10 minutes.

Broccoli rabe is one of those vegetables that tastes best when it seems like it’s “overcooked”. I like to trim off a little bit of the stem ends, then slice the broccoli rabe into 2-inch lengths. I put it into boiling water for just 2-3 minutes before draining it and adding it to the skillet with the garlic.

Broccoli rabe on a cutting board with a skillet of garlic and a pot of boiling water in the background.

Once it’s in the skillet, season the broccoli rabe with salt and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Turn the heat down to low and let it cook for as long as you want, up to 30 minutes longer.

If you only have 10 minutes, that’s fine. But the flavor of the broccoli rabe definitely develops as everything melds together the longer it hangs out in the skillet.

I made a double batch because we love this stuff so much, and I wanted to have extra after making the pizza. I had to put my broccoli rabe in the boiling water in 2 batches, but both bunches fit in the skillet afterward. It really cooks down quite a bit and you’re rewarded with some seriously delicious greens.

Overhead view of a bowl of broccoli rabe and garlic with a serving fork.

While the broccoli rabe was sautéeing, I seasoned 2 chicken cutlets with salt and pepper and cooked them on an oiled grill pan. I set them aside and sliced them right before assembling the pizza.

I used small pizza crusts when I made this recipe, so I made 2 instead of 1. They were a little on the thin side, so I’d recommend using a larger, thicker crust to hold up well to the alfredo sauce with this pizza recipe. You could even use a few pieces of naan if you wanted to do individual pizzas.

A thin layer of the alfredo sauce goes on top of the crusts, then a layer of the cooked broccoli rabe, and finally the sliced chicken. Pop it into a 400°F oven until the crust is heated through – about 5 minutes (or as directed on your pizza crust package).

Hand placing grilled chicken onto pizza crust with alfredo sauce and broccoli rabe.

I baked my pizza on a baking sheet lined with a wire rack to prevent the bottoms from getting soggy with alfredo sauce.

After the pizza comes out of the oven, transfer to a pizza peel or cutting board and sprinkle with some freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

This components of this pizza can be made in advance and held in the fridge so that dinner can come together quickly. If you happen to be grilling chicken earlier in the week, throw a couple extra pieces on the grill and reserve them for this pizza another day.

Overhead view of chicken and broccoli rabe pizza.

The broccoli rabe holds well in the fridge for several days IF it lasts that long. Theoretically, you could have the components ready and then the day you want to make this pizza, you just drizzle the sauce on the crusts top them with the veggies and chicken and heat it through. Really easy!

My Italian husband absolutely LOVED this pizza, and I’m excited to make it for my in-laws again, soon.

And I’m glad that the Rao’s sauces are available at Walmart because it gives my family in the Midwest easy access to buying some of that authentic Italian sauce even though they live far away.

I’d love to hear about some of your favorite non-standard pizza toppings. Drop a comment below and let me know what you gravitate toward.

Chicken and broccoli rabe pizza cut into slices with Parmesan cheese and a jar of alfredo sauce in the background.

Looking for more pizza and flatbread favorites? Check out these 5-star recipes:

Recipe for Chicken and Broccoli Rabe Pizza with Alfredo Sauce

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2 chicken and broccoli rabe pizzas sitting on a metal baking rack.

Chicken and Broccoli Rabe Pizza with Alfredo Sauce

  • Author: Big Flavors from a Tiny Kitchen - Ashley Covelli
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 4 Servings
  • Category: Pizza
  • Method: Stovetop, Oven
  • Cuisine: Italian

Description

Garlicky broccoli rabe is paired with grilled chicken, alfredo sauce, and Parmesan cheese for an Italian restaurant classic in pizza form!


Ingredients

For Broccoli Rabe:

  • 1 bunch broccoli rabe, ends trimmed, cut into 2-inch lengths
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6-8 cloves garlic, sliced into 1/4-inch thick pieces
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper

For Pizza:

  • 2 chicken breast cutlets
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil, for the grill pan
  • 1 store-bought pizza crust (about 14 ounces total)
  • 5-7 ounces Rao’s Homemade Alfredo Sauce
  • 2-4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add broccoli rabe to the boiling water and let cook until slightly softened, about 2-3 minutes. Drain well and set aside.

     

  2. Meanwhile, heat oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté until the garlic starts to get some caramel-brown bits, about 5-10 minutes. Add the broccoli rabe, season with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and sauté, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low and continue to sauté, stirring occasionally, for an additional 20-30 minutes.

     

  3. When the broccoli rabe is almost done, preheat oven to 400°F, and preheat a grill pan over medium-high heat. Line a rimmed baking sheet with a wire rack.

     

  4. Pat chicken dry and season with salt and pepper. Brush the grill pan with oil, then cook the cutlets until fully cooked, about 3-5 minutes per side, covering with a lid or tenting with foil if needed. Remove to a cutting board and slice into strips.

     

  5. Place pizza crust on the wire rack-lined baking sheet. Drizzle a thin, even layer of alfredo sauce onto the crust, leaving around 1/2 to 1 inches clear around the edge. Top the sauce with a layer of broccoli rabe, then top with sliced chicken strips.

     

  6. Bake pizza in preheated oven until heated through and the crust is crisp, about 5 minutes (or as directed on the pizza crust package). Remove to a pizza peel or cutting board and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Cut into slices and serve.

Notes

Make sure you wait until after your oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes are in the skillet to turn the heat on the stovetop.

Cast iron grill pans work best when preheated over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes. This allows it to heat up evenly.

The amount of alfredo sauce you will need depends on the size of your crust.


Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 2 slices

Keywords: pizza, alfredo sauce, broccoli rabe

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