Sunday, April 15, 2012

Another asparagus season, another asparagus pizza

At some point each spring, Jackie and I have asparagus pizza, most often with ricotta. Here’s an example from a couple of years ago. That one used little lengths of asparagus strewn over a buffalo-milk ricotta mixture.

Tonight – in mid-April, no less, very early for local asparagus – I did it differently: having used the top third of my asparagus stalks for another dish, which you’ll soon read about in The Washington Post’s “Cooking Off the Cuff,” I briefly boiled, then pureed, the other two thirds (barring a few tough and woody segments). Seasoned with salt and pepper, spread over pizza dough and drizzled with olive oil, this was baked for five minutes at 500 degrees F (260 C), then was topped with blobs of well drained sheep’s milk ricotta mixed with some grated pecorino, salt and pepper. The pizza went back into the oven and cooked for another six or seven minutes. If you have a real pizza oven, you’ll cut the 11- or 12-minute cooking time by two thirds, no doubt.

This worked very well: the asparagus puree was moist enough that it did not dry out during baking, and it made a more pizza-like dish than the scattering of asparagus tips had in my earlier version. And fluffy ricotta is a great topping, so long as you remember to season it well.

Yet another good way to use the rest of your asparagus (apart from just eating it, of course).

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