Shaved Asparagus Pizza

Back in May I made a raw asparagus salad, but I never thought to throw it on top of pizza. Deb did, and I'm so glad, because it makes a wonderful dinner and gets me out of the mozzarella and tomato sauce pattern that sometimes takes over.

During the course of making this pizza, I found myself pulling a few asparagus ribbons out of the bowl and snacking on them while I waited for the dough to rise. Then I left the kitchen to avoid eating the majority of our pizza topping. Takeaway: More asparagus is always better, if you have it.

We usually have pizza every Friday night, but this past Wednesday, pizza just felt right. It might have been because I came home with a bunch of bright green asparagus from a vendor who sent fresh fruit and vegetables to my office that afternoon. I took it as a sign.

SHAVED ASPARAGUS PIZZA

Recipe inspired by Smitten Kitchen

1 bunch asparagus
Salt and pepper
Olive oil
Cornmeal, for dusting
4 cups mozzarella cheese
Pizza Dough (recipe follows)
1 Green Onion, finely sliced

Make pizza dough (recipe below). With the pizza stone inside, preheat oven to its highest temperature for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour.

One at a time, place an asparagus spear on a cutting board. Hold it down by the tip, and using a vegetable peeler, make asparagus ribbons until you can't peel anymore. Place ribbons in a bowl and discard the remains. Repeat until every asparagus spear is sliced. Add some salt, pepper, and olive oil to the bowl with asparagus and stir it together with your hands.

When the dough is ready, roll is out on a floured surface. Remove the pizza stone from the oven and sprinkle some cornmeal down. Gently place the dough on the stone and proceed with adding 2 cups of grated mozzarella cheese, and half of the asparagus. Drizzle olive oil on the edges of the pizza to help with browning. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the cheese is brown in places. Immediately add half of the green onions, slice and serve hot. Repeat with remaining dough.

PIZZA DOUGH

Sometimes flour doesn't want to cooperate, so while abiding by these measurements, always have some flexibility depending on how the dough is coming together that day. 

Makes 2 large pizzas

2 cups flour

1 packet active dry yeast

1 teaspoon salt

Pinch of sugar

1/2 to 1 cup warm water

3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for the bowl

In the bowl of a stand mixer, add flour, yeast, and sugar. With the paddle attachment, mix ingredients together on low speed. Slowly add 1/2 cup water, olive oil, and salt. If the dough isn't coming together and looks dry, add additional water a tablespoon at a time (I find myself doing this more often than not).

Once the dough comes together, switch to the dough hook and knead on medium speed for about 5 minutes, until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl. Grab the dough, add a small amount of olive oil, and put the dough back in the bowl, coating it on both sides. Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise for 40 minutes to an hour, until doubled in size.

After the dough has risen, turn it out on a floured cutting board and slice it down the middle. Knead once or twice and form each half into a ball. ´╗┐Let the dough rest for another 10 to 15 minutes. Roll out as desired.