Specialty Flatbreads

     Broccoli Rabe Flat Bread
      Shrimp Scampi Flat Bread
      Fresh Roasted Pepper and Tomato Pesto Flatbread, with Ricotta and Other Cheeses
      Mushroom Flatbread with Tarragon, Sherry and Edam cheese
      White Flatbread with Roasted Garlic, Ricotta and Spinach
      Pot-roasted Garlic Flatbread  with Rosemary and Parmigiana Cheese
     Eggplant Parmigiana Flatbread
      Italian Sausage and Eggplant Flatbread
      Fresh Tomato Pizza with Prosciutto and Arugula


Broccoli Rabe Flat Bread
We often serve broccoli rabe with sausages, red pepper flakes, and pot roasted garlic and oil as a side dish but not as a flatbread until recently. 

Rabi is par boiled with chicken broth.  

Pete's Garlic and Infused Olive Oil adds robust deep flavors.        

Shredded Italian cheesed are also incorporated. 

This recipe makes two thick topping flatbreads with 1-pound of pizza dough.

Ingredients:
Pete's Garlic Oil
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 5 garlic cloves with skin
  • 1/2 teaspoon rosemary needles
  • 1/2 teaspoon sage
  • 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • pinch red pepper flakes
Broccoli Rabe and Sausage Topping
  • 1 bunch broccoli rabe
  • 1 13.5 oz. can chicken broth
  • 1/2-pound mild Italian sausage meat without casing
  • 2 cups shredded Italian cheese mix
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Flatbread Dough
  • 2 shaped flatbread dough from 1 16 oz. pizza dough ball.                                        Please see "Dough Basics" in "Flat Breads" section. 
Core garlic cloves and half lengthwise.  Place in a narrow butter melting pot with rosemary, sage, salt and red pepper flakes.  Cover with olive oil.  Place over medium heat until oil begins to sizzle.  Lower heat and retain a slow simmer.  Eventually garlic will tan and have the consistency of tender oven roasted garlic, about 2 hours.  Remove released skins.       

Remove about 1 1/2 inch of the rabe stems and any wilted leaves.  Chop rabe into 1 1/2 inch pieces.

Put the chicken broth in a pot large enough to comfortable hold all of the ingredients.  Once it reaches a boil add the rabe until the thicker stems start to become tender, about 3 minutes.  Remove the rabbi with a slotted spoon.  Lower the heat.

Add the Italian sausage meat to the remaining hot chicken broth.  Break the meat apart with a spatula while it is cooking.  When the chicken broth evaporates, add 2 tablespoons of garlic oil and cook for a minute longer.

Add rabe, 1 cup shredded cheeses, pot roasted garlic cloves from the garlic oil.  Mix well and remove from heat when the cheese begins to melt.   

Spread half of the rabe mixture on each flatbread within 3/4 inch of edges.  Spread the remaining cheese on top and lightly drizzle with garlic oil.  

Per "Dough Basic's" instructions, if the flatbreads are in a tray, place in the middle of a preheated 525º direct heat oven (NOT convection).  After about 10 minutes check to see if the top and bottom of the flatbreads are browning equally.  If not adjust height up or down.  Remove pan when flatbreads are crispy. 

Note: Rabe mixture can be made a day ahead and refrigerated.



Shrimp Scampi Flat Bread
If you like shrimp, you will love my Shrimp Scampi Flat Bread.  This recipe is elaborate yet surprisingly easy to prepare and assemble…and incredibly delicious. 

Flat Bread are coated with Italian cheeses then dusted with plain Panko bread crumbs help capture scampi’s flavorful juices.  Flat Bread are then topped with wild caught raw shrimp and my favorite Shrimp Scampi sauce finished with freshly crumbled feta cheese.

Flat Bread are then quick oven cooked with elevated direct heat, perfectly, crisping dough and shrimp.
     
Recipe will make 2 Flat Breads with one 1-lb. dough ball.

Wild shrimp are much more flavorful than farm raised.  Prices are reasonable.  Use an abundant amount, enough to crowd Flat Breads.  Each flat bread as pictured conveniently has a 12-ounce package of 21 to 30 count Shrimp.
Feta cheese, best to buy in moist blocks submerged in brine.  Most pre-crumbled feta tends to lack character.

Shaping flat bread, don’t fret.  After cooked and cut, no one will notice odd shapes (see photo).   

Note:  A cloud does surround this recipe.  My “Shrimp Scampi Flat Bread” infringe on a long standing Italian taboo.  Italian traditions reject combining seafood dishes with cheeses.  Growing up in Boston’s Italian North End, our most renown pizza restaurant only served anchovy pizza without cheese.  Grated cheese was never offered with seafood dishes at our home (sorry Mom).                     
Ingredients for 2 8-oz Flat Breads:
Scampi
  • 1 1/2 pounds of Shrimp. 
  • 1 quarter pound of butter, one stick
  • 1/2 cup of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup of finely chopped scallions
  • 1 tablespoon of finely chopped garlic
  • Salt and pepper
Flatbread Dough
  • 2 shaped flatbreads, dough from 1 16 oz. pizza dough ball.      Please see "Dough Basics" in "Flat Breads" section.
Other Ingredients: 
  • 1 ½ cups shredded Italian cheese mix
  • 1/2 cup plain Panko bread crumbs
  • Feta cheese crumbled
  • Optional, fresh chopped parsley
Remove shrimp shells including tail section; devein.  Rinse in cold water and pat dry.  Set them aside.

In a pot, large enough to comfortably hold all the shrimp and sauce, melt the butter over low heat.  Add and combine olive oil, lemon juice, scallions, garlic, salt and pepper.  Remove from heat. 

Preheat the oven to 525º direct heat, not convection. 

When ready to assemble, remove dough from refrigerator.  Cut dough in half and form into flat breads.  Place them in a rimmed cookie sheet or wooden paddle coated with course corn meal if cooking on a pizza stone.  Spread each with shredded cheese and sprinkle with bread crumbs.

Generously coat the shrimp in the sauce (if the butter has separated, warm the sauce slightly first).  Distribute shrimp within an inch of the outside crust, scooping solids with them.  Generously spoon some additional sauce and solids over the shrimp being careful not to leak under dough.    

Flat breads will brown, and shrimp will be cooked through in about 8-10 minutes.  Halfway through, sprinkle with feta cheese. 

Optional, finish with chopped parsley.  Cut into rectangles or squares.  Serve and enjoy. 



  
Fresh Roasted Pepper and Tomato Pesto Flatbread...
with Ricotta and Other Cheeses
This flatbread starts with homemade pesto made with fire roasted bell peppers and plum tomato, pot roasted garlic with infused olive oil, and sun dried tomato.  Additional toppings include ricotta, parmigiana and blended cheese mix.  The finished flatbread is cooked crispy, finished with torn basil.

You can convert this “crossover” flatbread to classic “white” by substituting this pesto with any combinations of other ingredients, mashed and flavored white cannelloni beans, basil pesto, Alfredo sauce, sautéed spinach or other greens, mushroom, anchovy, olives, simple garlic and oil (Bianca), etc. 

Top picture shows some of the ingredients, grilled peppers, tomatoes and pot roasted garlic in infused olive oil.  Garlic and infused oil enriches all other ingredients.    

Center, flatbreads ready for oven

Bottom, out of the oven with melted parmigiana and torn basil.            
Ingredients:
Pete’s Garlic Oil
  • 8 large garlic cloves with skin
  • ¾ cup of olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Tuscany seasoning (or several fresh sage leaves, a sprig of rosemary and a 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt)
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
Flatbread Dough
  • 2 shaped flatbreads, dough from 1 16 oz. pizza dough ball.      Please see "Dough Basics" in "Flat Breads" section.
Additional:
  • 2 Plum tomatoes
  • 2 Red, yellow or orange bell peppers
  • ¼ cup sun dried tomato in oil
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup shredded 5 Italian cheese
  • 1 cup shredded parmigiana cheese
  • Torn basil leaves
Remove rough end of garlic cloves and slice each in half lengthwise.  Do not remove skin (contributes favor).  Place them in a narrow stainless steel butter melting pot.  Add the rest of the ingredients.  If the olive oil doesn't cover the garlic, add more.

Place on medium heat until the olive oil begins to lightly sizzle.  Reduce heat to a low simmer.  It will take a couple of hours before garlic richly tans and becomes soft and sweet.  Discard garlic skins when released.

Core and half tomatoes lengthwise.  Brush with garlic oil and char both sides (grill, pan, or broiler). 

Char peppers all around.  Cool in a covered bowl or paper bag.  When cool to touch peel skin, remove core and seeds. Reserve peppers and their natural juices.

Combine 6 garlic cloves halves (3 cloves), charred tomatoes, roasted peppers, sun dried tomatoes and a drizzle of garlic oil in a food processor.  Process slightly course.

Combine ricotta cheese with about 1/3rd cup of the shredded Italian cheese mix, 4 pot roasted garlic clove halves mashed and up to a tablespoon of the infused olive oil.     


Remove defrosted dough from refrigerator (see “Dough Basics”) when the oven is preheated to 525º direct heat not convection.  Rest for about 15 minutes. 

Cut dough in half and form into two flat breads.  Place them into an oiled cookie tray or a cornmeal dusted wooden pizza “peel” (paddle) if cooking on a stone.

Spoon pesto within 3/4 inch of their edges.  Sprinkle with remaining shredded Italian cheese mix.  Mash remaining roasted garlic cloves, stir with some of the remaining olive and drizzle over cheese. 

Equally distributed dollops of ricotta cheese mix and a final drizzle of the infused olive oil. 

Immediately place in a 525º preheated oven, direct heat not convection.  After 6 minutes, top with shredded parmigiana.  Flatbread will be ready when nicely toasted top and bottom about 5 more minutes.  Remove and garnish with fresh shredded basil.    



                     
Mushroom Flatbread with Tarragon, Sherry and Edam cheese
Using simple techniques and perfectly matched ingredients, bland white mushrooms are intensely flavored helping create incredible flatbread. 
  
Butter, sherry, and tarragon are exceptional with Mushrooms.  Edam cheese noted for its nutty flavor and extra melting creaminess perfectly
complements. 

Finished flatbread is incredibly impressive and delectable. 

Topping is simply prepared in a single pot.  Mushrooms are sautéed until their earthy liquid is released, evaporated, and mushrooms are lightly browned. 

Their texture becomes somewhat exotic and their hidden flavor concentrated.  Chicken broth, sherry, butter, tarragon, and Edam cheese are systematically incorporated.  

Flatbreads are baked with high direct heat, beautifully crisped, cheese creamed and lightly toasted, ready in only about 8 minutes.   

Mushroom topping can be made ahead, briefly reheat the mushroom mix to reincorporate cheese.     
Ingredients:
Mushroom Topping
  • 1 ½ pounds white mushrooms
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 ½ cup low salt chicken broth
  • ½ cup sherry plus extra for brushing
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • 1 tablespoon fresh tarragon or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 5 oz. Edam cheese (often available in 7 oz. rounds)
  • Pinch of salt and a couple grinds of black pepper. 
Flatbread Dough
  • 1 shaped flatbreads, dough from 1/2 16 oz. pizza dough ball.      Please see "Dough Basics" in "Flat Breads" section.
Shave about 5 ounces of Edam cheese from a 7-ounce round. 

Wipe mushrooms and remove their rough tips.  Thick slice and place in a pot with olive oil.  Sauté until all their liquid is released and evaporated.  Stir mushrooms until they just begin to brown.

Add chicken broth and about half of the sherry.  Cook until liquid is reduced by about three quarters.  Add remaining sherry and tarragon.  Continue cooking until liquid is mostly evaporated; lower heat.

Add butter, about 3 ounces of the shaved Edam cheese. Pinch of salt and a grind or two of black pepper.  Stir until butter and cheese are melted and incorporated.  Remove from heat.  

Split dough and form into two flatbreads.  Place both on a rimmed cookie sheet lightly sprayed with nonstick.  If cooking on a stone, place flatbreads on a wooden paddle with course corn meal. 

Spread mushroom mixture onto flatbreads within three ¾ inch of edges.  Lightly drizzle with more sherry and top with 2 more ounces of Edam cheese.

Bake in a preheated 525º direct heat oven for about 8 minutes or until crust is toasty, cheese melted, and slightly tanned.  Cool slightly, cut and serve. 



White Flatbread with Roasted Garlic, Ricotta and Spinach
White pizza or flatbread usually means without tomato sauce.  As discussed earlier, we’ve been somewhat conditioned and expect flatbreads toppings to be different.  This is one of my favorites. 

Base topping is made with sautéed spinach flavored with Italian sausage, cheeses, pot roasted garlic and infused olive oil. 

Ricotta cheese dots its top. The flatbread is finished with shredded parmigiana cheese midway through cooking to melt without burning. 

These proportions create a thick flatbread with ½ pound of dough.  
Ingredients:
Pete’s Garlic Oil
  • 4 large garlic cloves with skin
  • ½ cup of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Tuscany seasoning (or ½ teaspoon dry rosemary needles, ¼ teaspoon dry sage, ¼ teaspoon of kosher salt)
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
Topping
  • 1 pound spinach leaves
  • ¼ pound mild Italian sausage meat  
  • 1 cup shredded Italian cheese
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
  • ¼ cup shredded parmigiana cheese
Flatbread Dough
  • 1 flatbread shaped from 8-oz. pizza dough.  Please see "Dough Basics" in "Flat Breads" section.
Pete's Garlic Oil
Remove rough end of garlic cloves and slice each in half lengthwise.  Do not remove skin (contributes favor).  Place them in a narrow stainless steel butter melting pot.  Add the rest of the ingredients.  If the olive oil doesn't cover the garlic, add more.

Place on medium heat until the olive oil begins to lightly sizzle.  Reduce heat to a low simmer.  It will take several hours before garlic richly tans and becomes soft and sweet.  Discard garlic skins when released. 

Topping
Rinse spinach in cold water.  Remove any thick stems.  Once dry sauté with half the garlic oil until all liquid is released and evaporated.  Mash 2 pot roasted garlic cloves (4 halves) with a folk and mix into spinach.  Reserve mixture.  

In the same pot, brown sausage meat while breaking apart with the edge of a spatula.  When just browned, add  spinach mix, ½ cup of the shredded five Italian cheeses and the pinch of red pepper flakes.  Combine until well blended and cheese is melted and incorporated.  Set aside. 

In another bowl, combine ricotta with ¼ cup shredded cheese.  Stir the garlic oil, scoup about 1 tablespoon of the garlic oil and some of the solids and add.      

Form the flat breads as discussed under dough basics and place either in a cookie sheet brushed with garlic oil or wooden paddle with course corn meal if cooking on a stone.   

Brush shaped dough with garlic oil and spread spinach mixture within a half inch of edges.  Evenly spoon dollops of the ricotta mixture.  Sprinkle remaining ¼ cup of shredded Italian cheeses and drizzle with garlic oil.

Immediately place in a preheated 525º direct heat (non-convection) oven.  After about 5 minutes, add the shredded parmigiana cheese and return to oven. 

Flat breads will be ready in about 8 to 10 minutes total. 


                    
Pot-roasted Garlic Flatbread  with Rosemary and Parmigiana Cheese
This flatbread is similar to focaccia.  It can be eaten as an appetizer, served with antipasto, as finger food with cocktails, or simply in a basket accompanying dinner.

Fresh garlic is slow simmered in a pot of olive oil with fresh rosemary, a pinch of pepper flakes and Kosher salt.  After a few hours, oil becomes infused with garlic and rosemary.  Garlic tans, softens and becomes sweet like oven roasted. 

Flatbread are topped with these delicious garlic cloves mashed, spread and drizzled with the infused oil. 

Midway through cooking, flatbreads are sprinkled with parmigiana cheese.         

Note, don’t confuse these flatbreads with “Pizza Bianca”, the famous Roman street food.  Although Classic Bianca is simple salted flatbread, making them right isn’t so easy. 
Ingredients:
Pete’s Garlic Oil
  • 6 large garlic cloves with skin
  • ¾ cup of olive oil
  • Needles from a 2-3” sprig of fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
Flatbread Dough
  • 2 shaped flatbreads, dough from 1 16 oz. pizza dough ball.      Please see "Dough Basics" in "Flat Breads" section.
Other
  • Shredded parmigiana cheese
Remove rough end of garlic cloves and slice each in half lengthwise.  Do not remove skin (contributes favor).  Place them in a narrow stainless steel butter melting pot.  Add the rest of the ingredients.  If the olive oil doesn't cover the garlic, add more.

Place on medium heat until the olive oil begins to lightly sizzle.  Reduce heat to a low simmer.  It will take several hours before garlic richly tans and becomes soft and sweet.  Discard garlic skins when released. 

Preheat oven to 525º direct heat oven (NOT convection). 

Form two flatbreads as discussed under dough basics and place either in a cookie sheet brushed with garlic oil or wooden paddle with course corn meal if cooking on a stone.  Prick dough either with a folk or a docker tool (roller with spikes and a handle to uniformly prick dough).

Brush surface with garlic oil.  Smush garlic and thinly spread over surfaces.  Spoon more olive oil and solids (rosemary needles and pepper flakes) over. 

Place in the preheated oven.  After about 4-5 minutes, halfway through cooking, sprinkle with shredded parmigiana cheese and resume cooking.  Total cooking time will be 8-10 minutes.  Cut and serve. 



          
Eggplant Parmigiana Flatbread
Few vegetables have the versatility, unique texture, and exotic taste of eggplant.  Melanzane alla Parmigiana”, Eggplant Parmigiana is my favorite preparation.  Although I often combine simple eggplant dredged in flour and sautéed in olive oil with a variety of other pizza toppings, this flatbread gives eggplant center stage and takes full advantage of the very best eggplant has to offer. 
  
Eggplant is first disgorged to release any bitterness (see below).  Once dry, eggplant is floured, and sautéed; can be done well ahead.  When ready to assemble, formed flatbread are topped with ground tomatoes, basil, Italian cheeses, and a drizzle of olive oil.  Eggplant is double layered on top, each also flavored with tomatoes and cheeses. 

Flat breads are crisped over high direct heat while flavors of tomato, basil, olive oil and Italian cheeses are wonderfully blended.  Results, one of the most flavorful flatbread ever; simply delicious.

Disgorging: eggplant benefits from disgorging, techniques used to “sweat” eggplants to eliminate their bitter juices.  Mom simply sprinkled salt on both sides of sliced eggplant and set them on towels for at least a half hour releasing bitter liquid.  Salted rounds can also be layered in a pasta strainer over a pan or sink and weighted down with a partially filled water bowl.  After disgorging, salt and sweat are wiped off or slices rinsed and dried on paper towels. 
  
Tomatoes, for flatbreads you can choose among Italian style ground tomatoes with or without puree or one of my newer favorites, fire roasted crushed tomatoes. 
             
My family traditionally used fresh mozzarella with grated parmigiana cheese in theirs Eggplant “Parm”.  As the picture above shows, I use shredded Italian cheese blend, but the choice is up to you. 

This recipe makes two flatbread with a pound of pizza dough.    
Ingredients:
Preparing eggplant
  • 3 medium firm eggplants
  • Kosher salt for disgorging
  • flour for dredging
  • olive oil or vegetable oil
Remaining Ingredients:
  • 1-pound pizza dough
  • 1 can ground Italian style tomatoes plain or with puree or ground roasted tomatoes.
  • Fresh basil leaves or Italian seasoning blend   
  • 1-pound shredded Italian cheese blend (4 cups) or mozzarella cheese
  • Grated parmigiana cheese
  • Olive oil
Preheat oven to 525° direct heat, NOT convection

Peel eggplant and remove tips.  Cut into ¼-inch rounds.  Lightly salt both sides and place them single layer on paper towels.  In about a half hour, wipe both sides of eggplant with additional paper towel.  

Sauté eggplant: Pour olive oil in a large pan over medium heat.  Dredge eggplant in flour.  Shake off excess and place them single layer in heated oil.  When the top side of eggplant becomes moist, flip over.  When both sides are tanned and cooked through, place them on paper towels.  Repeat, adding more olive oil as needed while adjusting heat.  This can be done well ahead.   
 
When ready, form flatbread as discussed under section on “dough basics”.  Place flatbread either in a lightly oiled cookie sheet or on a wooden paddle dusted with course corn meal if cooking on a stone.
Spread ground tomato on flatbread to within ¾ inch of dough’s edges.  Sprinkle tomato with torn basil or with dry Italian seasoning.  Spread both with about a third of the shredded 5 Italian cheeses and sprinkle with grated parmigiana.  Lightly drizzle with olive oil. 

Evenly layer both flatbread with half the eggplant.  Lightly cover both with more ground tomatoes, the next third of shredded cheeses, and grated parmigiana.

Repeat with remaining eggplant, tomato and shredded Italian cheeses.  However, don’t top with grated parmigiana.  Finely grated parmigiana cheese exposed to high heat easily burns.

Finish with another light drizzle of olive oil.  Bake until crust is crisp, cheeses melted and browned on top.   Let flatbread rest about 5 minutes before cutting.
Italian Sausage and Eggplant Flatbread
(As delicious as it looks!)
I love the combination of eggplant, sausage and blended Italian cheese.  

Select eggplant that are ripe and mature.  To help ensure eggplant isn’t bitter, I also disgorge them.  One technique is to salt eggplant that are cubed or sliced.  In time and through osmosis, they “sweat” their bitterness out. 

Finishing with parmigiana cheese is optional and offers an additional punch of flavor.  I apply about halfway through cooking to prevent burning.

Recipe will make one flatbread for 8 to 10 ounces of pizza dough.  Easily increase proportions for larger pizza or multiple flatbread.

Ingredients:
  • 1 medium eggplant
  • Kosher salt
  • Flour for dredging. 
  • Vegetable oil
  • 8-10 ounces pizza dough formed into a flatbread
  • Tomato, preferably from San Marzano Italy
  • Dry Italian seasoning mix or oregano
  • ½ cup shredded 5 Italian cheeses
  • ½ pound ground Italian sausage meat
  • Olive oil
  • ¼ cup shredded parmigiana cheese (or more to taste) 
Remove eggplant tips and peel.  Cut into ¼ inch rounds.  Lightly salt slices and place in a pasta strainer over a bowl or the sink.  Eggplant will begin to sweat, releasing their bitter liquid.  After about an hour, wipe slices with paper towel removing most salt and moisture.      

Dredge slices in flour and lightly brown both sides in a sauté pan with oil.  Tip, when eggplant’s uncooked surface becomes moist, time to flip.  Remove to paper towel.               

Preheat oven to 525º , direct heat not convection. 

When ready, form flatbread as discussed under dough basics and placing either in a cookie sheet brushed with oil or wooden paddle with course corn meal if cooking on a stone.

Spread dough with ground tomato to within ¾ inch of dough’s edges.    Sprinkle with Italian seasoning or dried oregano.  Sprinkle with shredded 5 Italian cheeses.  Place eggplant over cheeses and dot with pinches of ground Italian sausage.  Drizzle with olive oil.        

Spread with shredded 5 Italian cheese.  Layer with eggplant and top with pinches of sausages.  Drizzle with olive oil and place in the oven. 

After about 5 minutes, top with shredded parmigiana cheese.  Finishing bake until parmigiana is melted and flatbread is toasted on top and bottom.  Please see picture.