Grilled Italian Flatbread with Sausage, Broccoli Rabe, and Lemon-Chili Ricotta

By • May 4, 2013 • 4 Comments



Author Notes: The sandwich represents my grilling style. I enjoy grilling vegetables and bread as much as meat, and whenever possible, I use the grill to prepare an entire meal. For the flatbread, I adapted a recipe from Food & Wine for piadina, a rustic flatbread from the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy that’s similar to pizza dough but leavened with baking soda rather than yeast . It’s quick and easy to assemble and takes beautifully to the grill. For the filling, I decided to grill pork sausage, broccoli rabe, and red bell pepper – and then generously smear the flatbread with ricotta that’s heady with Aleppo pepper and lemon juice and zest. You can stuff the piadina and fold it like a sandwich or serve them open-faced. Either way, the combination of flavors and textures is downright addictive. While made-from-scratch piadina is hard to beat, feel free to substitute your favorite store-bought flatbread if you want to streamline preparation.EmilyC

Makes 6 big sandwiches or 8 slightly smaller ones

For grilling and assembling sandwiches

  • Rounds of piadina dough (recipe included below)
  • 1 large bunch broccoli rabe, trimmed
  • 3 to 4 T olive oil for broccoli rabe, plus additional for grilling
  • 1 T water
  • kosher salt
  • 6 good quality pork sausages
  • 2 large red bell peppers, each cut in half lengthwise, stems and seed removed
  • 1 cup whole-milk ricotta, cool or at room temperature (not straight from fridge)
  • 1 tsp Aleppo pepper, or to taste
  • zest and juice from 1 small lemon
  • About 3 tsp extra virgin olive oil, or to taste
  1. To prep broccoli rabe: Rinse thoroughly to remove any grit hiding among the leaves. Cut off the tough bottom ends, and split any stalks that are more than ½” thick. Toss the rabe with olive oil, water and salt. Leave to soften for 5 to 10 minutes at room temperature. (Technique for prepping and grilling broccoli rabe adapted from Judy Rodgers' The Zuni Cafe Cookbook.)
  2. To prep ricotta: Mix together ricotta, lemon zest, Aleppo pepper, 2 to 3 tsp extra virgin olive oil, and just enough lemon juice to loosen to a good spreading consistency. Cover and set aside.
  3. To get the grill ready: Prepare a gas grill with all burners on medium, or a charcoal grill with hot coals. Clean the grilling rack if needed, and brush it with olive oil.
  4. To grill piadina: Brush both sides of each round with olive oil and grill over moderate heat, turning once, until golden and cooked through, about 2 minutes per side. They should be crispy and charred in spots but still soft and pliable. Remove from grill, and wrap in foil or a dish towel to keep the flatbread warm while you continue grilling.
  5. To grill broccoli rabe: Arrange the broccoli rabe in a single layer on the grill. Grill about 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until tender and blistered in spots. (Taste if you're unsure if the stalks are tender.) If the stalks are charring quickly but aren't tender, spray or drizzle a few drops of water on them. Remove from grill onto a large platter or sheet pan to cool. (You don’t want to stack the broccoli rabe while it’s still hot because it’ll lose its crisp, papery texture.)
  6. To grill peppers and sausage: Brush each side of the red bell pepper halves with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt. Also brush the sausages with a small amount of olive oil. Grill until the red bell peppers are charred and tender, and the sausages are evenly browned and cooked through. Sausages are easy to overcook, so don’t feel shy about using a meat thermometer. You’re looking for about 140 degrees in the middle. Let the sausages rest for about 5 minutes, then cut each one down the middle lengthwise to open like a book. Cut each bell pepper into thin strips.
  7. To assemble sandwiches: Smear one side of each flatbread generously with the lemon-chili ricotta, then top with red bell pepper strips, sausage, and broccoli rabe.

For piadina

  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • ½ cup leaf lard, vegetable shortening, or butter, cut into ½-inch pieces, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup water
  • finely grated zest from 1 large lemon
  • 2 tsp finely chopped rosemary leaves
  1. In a standing electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, lemon zest and rosemary. Add the lard and mix at medium-low speed until evenly combined. Slowly add the water, mixing until the dough is a cohesive mass. Switch to the dough hook attachment and knead until smooth, 5 minutes, at medium speed. (Alternatively, the dough can be mixed in a large bowl and kneaded by hand.) Divide the dough into 6 pieces (or 8, if you want slightly smaller flatbreads) and form each piece into a ball. The dough can be rolled out right away, or cover each ball with plastic wrap and let rest for 30 minutes until ready to use.
  2. Roll out each ball to an 8 to 10-inch round, about 1/8inch thick, on an unfloured or very lightly floured work surface. (I like rolling the dough between two pieces of plastic wrap.) Stack the rounds on a tray, with a piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper between each round. Cover the top round as well. Set aside until ready to grill.
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Comments (4) Questions (0)

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about 1 year ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

LOVE THIS! Grilled goodness through and through and veggies to boot!!!

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about 1 year ago EmilyC

Thanks Abbie! The piadina is kind of a lazy man's dough, which probably explains why I like it so much! I also plan to play around with the toppings this summer, though this combo may be hard to beat.

3-bizcard

about 1 year ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I love everything about this, definitely on the menu, I love the broccoli rabe and the lemon chili ricotta.

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about 1 year ago EmilyC

Thanks so much Suzanne! I created the sandwich around the broccoli rabe -- it's my favorite vegetable to grill!