chèvre and rapini pizza with red onion, lemon, and pine nuts

April 11th, 2010 § 13

We’re hugely inspired at the moment by the writings of Ethné and Philippe de Vienne, a pair of spice hunters whose two boutiques at the Jean-Talon market are so full of thrilling ingredients that we are faced with the choice of having to stop shopping there, or moving into a larger house.


The pizza we made this weekend as the opener at a collaborative dinner party doesn’t actually use any of their incredible ingredients, but our current zest for novelty, and this new recipe in particular, are guided by the sense of adventure that the de Vienne’s boutiques and writings inspire.


rapini and red onion.

Their philosophy is perennial – the dishes we most love to eat feature a variety of contrasting flavours that are presented in artful balance. And they challenge cooks to refine their sense of taste balance by experimenting with simple recipes that showcase contrasting flavours, like a Thai vinaigrette, where the flavours of fish sauce, lime and chili create a magic kind of synergy. Alice Waters is also eloquent on this topic, and will have you obsessing over the salt-vinegar balance in your home-made salad dressings. Because once you’ve tasted that magic point of equilibrium, it becomes a kind of culinary holy grail.


Slice the lemons very thin before dressing the pizza.

Anyway, when Rob said he wanted to put raw lemon on pizza, I was quite skeptical that it could taste anything but bitter, or sour, until we started discussing how the flavour might be balanced. We thought it through – there would need to be a richness under the brightness (creme fraîche) a light sweetness around it (onion) , something bitter (rapini) and some complementary tartness (goat cheese). Add the roasted flavour of pine nuts and a crispy crust, and shazam. A beautifully light appetizer that really awakens the senses.


chèvre and rapini pizza with red onion, lemon, and pine nuts

130 grams pizza dough
2-3 tablespoons crème fraîche (or sour cream, or thick yogurt)
one lemon, very thinly sliced
1 cup of rapini florets
100 grams of unripened chèvre, cut into small pieces
1/4 C thinly sliced red onion
2 tbsp. pine nuts
olive oil
salt and pepper

NOTES: As you’re rolling out your crust, keep in mind that it will rise as it sits, and as it cooks. You can replace the red onion with a clove of garlic, finely sliced right onto the creme fraîche. (A truffle shaver works great for this.)

1. Slice the lemon as thinly as you can. Slice the onion and cut the rapini into small florets. Toss the onion and rapini with a bit of olive oil, and a small amount of salt and pepper.

2. Roll out the dough, and spread it with a thin layer of crème fraîche, then a single layer of lemon slices. Add the rapini, onions, chèvre, then drizzle with some olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.

3. Cook at 375 F for 8 minutes, then sprinkle with the pine nuts and cook a further 8-10 minutes, or until the crust is lightly golden around the edges. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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§ 13 Responses to “chèvre and rapini pizza with red onion, lemon, and pine nuts”

  • oh, this sounds perfect for spring al fresco dining. do you gentlemen have a wine recommendation for this pizza?

  • Ladygrey says:

    Yummmm! This looks delicious!
    Do you guys have a particularly good pizza dough recipe?

  • Cherine says:

    This looks yummy!

  • Rob says:

    My sister makes her own pizza dough all the time, and says it makes a huge difference. She swears by the Fine Cooking recipe.

  • David says:

    If you’re already eating outside in your part of the word, then why not serve this with a rosé, like the Marques de Caceres? It has enough minerality for the rapini. My first pick, though, would be a Sauvignon Blanc, to underline the tartness of the goat cheese and shine a halo around the lemon. I love the Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc for special occasions, otherwise à Premières Côtes de Blaye or another good white Bordeaux will do the job nicely.

  • arugulove says:

    I make a very similar pizza to this – just no onions – and it’s delicious. Love the lemon, chevre, and bitter greens combo. It’s completely magical.

  • Patricia Doiron says:

    Thanks for letting me be the guinea pig for this one. Pizza al limone is now my absolutely favourite but doubt I’ll find it at any pizzeria any time soon. Luckily I know where you live… xxxxxx

  • Mark Schembri says:

    I like the recipe and wanted to make it for dinner tonight but I was looking to make some changes based on ingredients I have available… I was going to sub the dough for flatbread, ricotta for the creme fraiche, go with carmelized yellow onion instead of red. sliced almonds instead of pine nuts. Hopefully it turns out as deliciously as your version!

    I did have one question though… I’m assuming the cooking time would be less if I use the flatbread… should I saute/blanch the rapini a bit first before placing on the pizza? I don’t know that I’d want the flatbread to cook more than 10 minutes… should I broil instead of bake? mess with the temp or time? Any ideas would be appreciated.

  • David says:

    Sounds delicious. I would blanch the rapini for a minute or so. And go light on the ricotta if you’re also using goat cheese. Have fun!

  • nakedbeet says:

    This looks so lovely. I have a lemon freak at home, so I’ll be making this soon. I was going to ask the same question about pizza dough, so I’ll take a look at the Fine Cooking one.

  • sandra says:

    I like to eat pizza, but we do not have tools to do pizza at home.

  • Monika says:

    I love flavor experiments like this….you never know what wonderful new dish you might create :)

  • Definately going to try this! It looks fantastic.