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Ciabatta Bread Pizza with Ricotta, Kale, and Sausage

(Serves 4)
Ciabatta Bread Pizza with Ricotta, Kale, and Sausage
Ciabatta Bread Pizza with Ricotta, Kale, and Sausage

1 ciabatta bread, cut in half horizontally
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 large garlic clove, minced
Pinch of red pepper flakes
4 cups coarsely chopped kale leaves
Salt and pepper
10-12 ounces hot or sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
1-1/2 cups ricotta cheese
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 cup shredded Italian Fontina cheese


Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
Add the minced garlic and red pepper flakes; saute for 30 seconds.
Add the chopped kale; use tongs to gently toss the kale with the oil.
Saute until all of the kale is wilted, about 3-4 minutes.
Season with salt and pepper.  Transfer the mixture to a plate. Set aside.

Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet over medium-high heat.
Add the sausage and crumble it with a wooden spoon.
Cook until brown, about 5 minutes. Set aside.

Preheat  the oven to 425 degrees F.
Line a baking sheet with foil.

In a bowl, combine the ricotta, 1/2 cup of Parmesan, and oregano; season with salt and pepper.  Spread the cheese mixture evenly over the cut side of both bread halves.  Then evenly top with the sausage and kale.  Sprinkle the remaining Parmesan over the top and evenly divide the Fontina on top.
Bake until golden and bubbly, 12-15 minutes.  Cut into 4 pieces to serve.
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Ciabatta Bread
Ciabatta bread has a crisp crust and a minimal amount of bready interior, making it a perfect base for creating a quick and easy pizza.  In this recipe a combination of ricotta and Parmesan create a creamy base for the sauteed kale and Italian sausage over the crisp bread crust. It makes a great lunch with a side salad or cut it into strips and served as an appetizer or a snack.  Ciabatta bread can vary greatly in size so you may need to adjust the amount of ingredients accordingly. This recipe was made with a 14 x 4-inch bread and can serve 4 as a lunch entree.
Shopping Tip
Fontina Cheese

Tucked into the northwest corner of Italy bordering France and Switzerland, the Aosta Valley is the smallest of Italy's twenty regions.  Valle d'Aosta is situated in the Alps and surrounded by some of the highest mountains in Europe.  As a result of its mountainous geography, cattle and sheep-raising have traditionally been the region's most important agricultural activities.  Many cow's milk cheeses are produced here, one of which is Fontina.  Fontina is a semisoft cheese with a mild buttery flavor. This versatile cheese makes delicious sandwiches and grilled cheese and melts easily for fondues and sauces. Always look for a true Italian Fontina when shopping. Fontina-like labeled cheeses are produced in other countries but they can be much milder in flavor.
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