Jun 11, 2013

Pizza with asparagus

I wanted a pizza, I wanted my female friends, I wanted champagne. Saturday night. "Sex and the City", the movie, was coming on TV. Time to celebrate friendship, girl- power, food and drinks!
The whole thing really did start with my appetite for pizza. And then I remembered that I haven't seen the girls for some time. I started calling around. It takes some calling to get all of them together, which is my least favorite part of being the host. Half of them are teachers and, MAY THE GOOD POWERS BE WITH THEM, in June, the last month of school here, they are unreachable (read: going through hell). 

But at least they can read now what the rest of us had.

Green asparagus, parsley, lemon zest and Gorgonzola (piccante). Now and then, I get this impression that I can actually come up with a my own harmony on a plate. And that is very liberating!

The pizza turned out great. 

I've been using this recipe* since I put it on the blog in March this year. It calls for 1 kg (2 lbs) of flour, which makes four large pizzas (they are never all the same). Whether it's just for family, friends or friends and family, I go with "This pizza will taste great for breakfast" idea. No need to heat it up.

Recipe by me
time: 20 min preparation + 2 hrs inactive + 4x12 min baking

makes 4 large pizzas 


pizza dough
  • 1 kg (6 2/3 cups, 36 oz) flour
  • 600 ml (2 1/2 cups) tepid water
  • 25 g (1 oz) fresh yeast
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 6 Tablespoon olive oil + more for brushing dough
  • 1 kg (2 lbs) green asparagus, hard ends cut off
  • 2 cups chopped parsley (not packed)
  • 400 g (14 oz) Gorgonzola (piccante)
  • grated zest from 2 small lemons
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • salt, pepper

  1. For pizza dough. In a small bowl, dissolve crumbled yeast with sugar and a cup of tepid water (taken from the whole amount). In a jar, dissolve salt in the rest of water. Mix in oil.
  2. In a bowl of a standing mixer with a needle attachment, sift in flour. Pour in the yeast mix and, using your hands, combine it with flour (about 20 seconds). Turn the mixer on "stir", add water mix and let the mixer run for 10 minutes. Cover it with a cotton cloth and put it in  the oven with the light on for 2 hours (till it doubles or triples in size).
  3. For topping. Cut asparagus diagonally in 2 inch (5 cm) long and 1/2 inch (1 cm) thick pieces. On a large skillet, heat oil on medium/high heat. Add asparagus, a couple of pinches of salt. Cook for about 15 minutes, adding water if it's getting too dry, till tender. Take it off the heat, add lemon zest. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
  4. Preheat oven to 225C/430F (bottom grill only, fan forced function). Prepare 4 baking sheets brushed with oil.
  5. Divide the dough (that has doubled in volume) into 4 parts. On a rolling board, roll (or just stretch) each part and transfer it onto baking sheets. At that point, you can cover each pizza dough with a plastic wrap and wait till you're ready for baking. 
  6. Drizzle rolled pizza dough with a little oil, sprinkle with parsley, arrange asparagus and, working with your fingers, drop pieces of cheese on the pizza. Place it in a hot oven for 12 minutes till the edges are slightly golden. I prefer a lightly browned pizza, I don't want to burn the cheese. And I only put one pizza at a time in the oven. Take it out of the heat, eat it hot, warm or cold.

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