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Focaccia with Broccoli Rabe and Sundried Tomatoes

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Adapted from Gourmet 

I’ve never made focaccia before, and I got it into my head that tonight was the night I was going to try it. I had some broccoli rabe in the refrigerator and thought it’d make a good topping. Also, because it was raining outside and there was nothing else going on. Keep your comments to yourself. 

So I started flipping through my cookbooks. And every recipe said to use one of those big cookie sheets. And every recipe said that the cooking time was three to four hours. And every recipe said that, and this was practically bolded-underlined-and-italicized, focaccia is best eaten straight from the oven

From which I concluded:

  1. I won’t be eating until after midnight. Again. And,
  2. I’ll have to eat the entire pan of focaccia in one sitting. All ten to twelve servings of it. 

There had to be a better way. And thank you Internet for showing it to me. 

This recipe is adapted from Gourmet, It takes about half the time to make, and makes about half the amount of focaccia. It’s perfect to make for just yourself. You can top focaccia with a lot of different things, so you’re only limited by your imagination and the stuff in your refrigerator. 

Ingredients (makes about four to six servings):

  • 1 bunch of broccoli rabe, washed and with part of the stems removed
  • 1/2 cup of sun dried tomatoes
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 3/4 cup warm water, plus 1 cup to soak the tomatoes
  • one 1/4 ounce package of yeast 
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 2 cups of all purpose flour, plus more for your hands and the board
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of grated pecorino or parmesan (optional)

Make the focaccia:

Heat 3/4 cup of water in the microwave for one minute. Then, stir the water, yeast and the sugar together in a bowl until it is foamy and bubbles develop on the top, about five minutes. Add the flour and the salt to the yeast mixture and stir until it forms a tacky dough. 

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Lightly flour a wooden board and your hands. Dump the dough onto the board and knead for a few minutes, until the dough is smooth, elastic, and ball shaped. The dough will be really sticky, so try to use add as little extra dough as possible to either your hands or the board. 

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Take the bowl your dough was in, invert it, and put it on top of the the ball of dough. Let the dough rest, covered by the inverted bowl, for about ten minutes.

Coat a nine-inch square pan with one tablespoon of olive oil. When the dough has rested, transfer it to the pan and press down so that it is evenly spread throughout the pan. Add another tablespoon of olive oil over the top and press down so that your fingers make indentations in the dough. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place for about an hour. 

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Meanwhile, prepare the toppings for the focaccia and preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 

Heat another cup of water in the microwave for one minute. Add the sundried tomatoes to the water and let soak while the dough is rising.

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Chop the garlic and add it to a pan along with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Cook the garlic over medium heat for a few minutes, and then add the broccoli rabe. Cook the broccoli until it is tender, including the stems, about fifteen to twenty minutes.

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After the dough has risen an hour, remove the plastic wrap. Drain the water from the tomatoes and place them over the top of the focaccia dough. Then, top the dough with the broccoli rabe. 

If you don’t want to keep it vegan, sprinkle a tablespoon of grated parmesan or pecorino over the top.

Bake the focaccia at 400 degrees for about half an hour. Start checking it at the twenty minute mark, since everyone’s oven is different (mine cooked for almost forty minutes). You’ll know it’s done when the dough is golden brown. Let cool for at least another ten before eating. 

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