Saturday, July 3, 2010

Recipe: Pizza Crust topped with Lemony Grilled Asparagus and Ricotta

This delicious recipe was adapted from the July/August issue of Everyday Food. They grilled the pizza, but I've just been too lazy. So, this is what I've come up with instead of using the grill:

Pizza Dough

1 tsp. Sugar
1 packet of Active Dry Yeast
2 tsps. Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, plus more for the bowl
1 tsp Salt
2 ¼ c. All-Purpose Flour (I use unbleached), plus more for work surface

1. Mix 1 cup warm water and sugar in a bowl. Sprinkle top with yeast. Let stand for 5 minutes, until foamy.
2. Whisk oil and salt into the yeast mixture. Put flour in a large bowl, then slowly pour in the yeast mixture, stirring with a wooden spoon until incorporated (dough will look dry).
3. Turn dough mixture onto a floured work surface and knead (fold ends in toward the middle) until it comes together in an elastic ball (about 2 minutes).
4. Transfer to an oiled medium bowl and brush top of dough lightly with oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, set it in a warm, draft free place, and let it sit for 45 minutes, until dough has doubled in size.
5. Punch the dough down and re-cover. Let it rise another 30 minutes.
6. Turn dough onto a lightly floured work surface and divide into 4 equal pieces for individual pizzas, or use whole round to make a huge pizza. Any leftover dough can be wrapped in plastic and stored in the fridge up to 2 days or frozen for up to a month.
7. Let rest 15 minutes before using.

To Cook…
I use a pizza stone and have not used a metal pan, so I don’t know how the results will be otherwise. Try it and let me know!
1. Heat oven to 500 degrees.
2. Lightly brush pizza stone with olive oil.
3. Form dough into the size and thickness you want it to be, trying not to leave tears in dough.
4. If you are using heavy toppings or a thick sauce that may keep the dough from cooking all the way (or making a thicker crust pizza), bake crust for 8 minutes, pull out and top, then return to the oven for another 8 minutes. Otherwise, top before baking, and then cook for 12 minutes.
5. Let cool for 8 minutes before eating, or the roof of your mouth will regret it!

For the Grilled Asparagus and Ricotta…

Depending on how many you are making:
8 Asparagus stocks for each pizza
½ Lemon, for juice and zest
1 tbsp Extra-Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper, to taste
3 Tbsp Ricotta per pizza

1. While dough is rising, trim ends off of Asparagus, place in a container, and squeeze lemon juice and olive oil over the top. Sprinkle with Salt and Pepper. Set aside for 10 minutes to marinate.
2. Use either an outdoor grill or stovetop grill pan, and grill until Asparagus is flexible (pick it up with tongs and lightly shake it. If the asparagus moves, then it is ready!). About 6-8 minutes, depending on the thickness of your asparagus.
3. You will want to bake dough for about 8 minutes before adding topping.
4. Remove crust from oven, spread ricotta over the crust, arrange the asparagus, and then sprinkle the lemon zest across the top. Salt and pepper, to taste.
5. Bake for another 9 minutes. Remove and let sit for 5 minutes.

I’ve made this crust several times over the past few weeks with different toppings, but this was the first time with the asparagus and ricotta. The only thing I would do differently would be to cut up the asparagus into smaller pieces before I put it on the pizza. It’s pretty to have them whole, but not easy to eat!