Asparagus & Mushroom Pizza with Green Garlic Cream

        From the blog For Love of the Table

1 T. unsalted butter

1 stalk/head of green garlic—white/ivory and pale green parts—finely sliced

salt & pepper

1 T. white wine (see notes)

1/4 c. heavy cream

 

1 T. olive oil

3 1/2 to 4 oz. crimini mushrooms, sliced a scant 1/4-inch thick

1 T. unsalted butter

1 medium spring onion, white and an equal amount of the green, trimmed, halved and thinly sliced

 

4 to 4 1/2 oz. asparagus, trimmed, rinsed and cut very thinly—1/8-inch thick or less—on a long bias (about 2 to 2 1/4 oz. trimmed weight)—see notes

1/2 t. olive oil

1 oz. finely grated Parmesan

2 to 2 1/2 oz. coarsely grated Fontina or low-moisture mozzarella

1 ball of pizza dough (see below), rested

 

Preheat the oven and pizza stone to 500°F an hour before you plan to bake the pizza. If you made the dough ahead, pull it out of the refrigerator when you turn on the oven.

 

Place a tablespoon of butter along with a tablespoon of water in a small sauce pan and set over moderately low heat. When the butter has melted, add the green garlic along with a good pinch of salt.  Gently stew the garlic until it is softened and the water has evaporated/been absorbed and the garlic has softened (about 5 minutes).  Add the white wine and continue to simmer until the wine is reduced and the garlic is sizzling gently in the butter again.  Add the cream and simmer until thickened and reduced by one third to one half.  Taste and season with salt and pepper; set aside. 

 

Heat a tablespoon of oil in a medium sauté pan set over medium high heat.  Add the mushrooms and sauté until tender and caramelized.  If you like, add a splash of water, or white wine, to deglaze the pan...continue to cook until the water/wine has evaporated.  Transfer to a plate and season the mushrooms with salt and pepper.  Let the pan cool briefly before returning to moderate heat.  Add a tablespoon of butter.  When the butter is melted, add the spring onions along with a pinch of salt and cook until soft and tender (five minutes or so).  Return the mushrooms to the pan, toss to combine and continue to cook for a minute or two to blend the flavors.  Taste and correct the seasoning.  Set aside. 

 

In a medium-sized bowl, drizzle the olive oil over the asparagus and season with salt & pepper. Toss to coat. Add the cheeses and toss to combine.

 

To build the pizza: On a lightly floured surface, roll or stretch the dough out into a 12- to 13-inch circle. Transfer the dough to a pizza pan, baking sheet or peel that has been lightly dusted with semolina, fine cornmeal, or rice flour.

 

Spread the garlic cream over the crust, leaving a half inch border around the edges bare.  Scatter the mushroom/spring onion mixture over the cream, followed by the asparagus/cheese mixture.

 

If using a pizza pan or baking sheet, place the pizza in its pan on the pizza stone in the pre-heated oven. Bake until the crust is golden brown on the bottom and the cheese is bubbling, about 8 to 10 minutes. To insure a crisp crust, after the crust has set (5 to 6 minutes), slide the pizza off of the pan to finish cooking directly on the pizza stone.

If you are using a pizza peel, slide the pizza directly onto the hot stone and bake until browned and bubbling (about 8 minutes).

 

When the pizza is done, transfer to a cutting board and cut into wedges and serve.  If not serving immediately (if making a second pizza, for example), transfer to a wire rack so that the crust won't get soggy.


Note:

  • If you don't have an open bottle of wine on hand, simply start with 2 T. of water and cook the garlic until soft and sizzling in the butter.
  • It is very important to cut the asparagus on a long bias, thus exposing as much of the interior of the spear as possible. Asparagus that is cut straight across (even if it is very skinny) will not cook properly in the amount of time the pizza will be in the oven. Furthermore, the asparagus will not be able to release its fragrance (which will essentially be sealed in by the skin) into the other ingredients and the pizza will not taste like asparagus. 

(Garlic Cream adapted from Food & Wine)

 

Pizza Dough:

1/2 cup warm water (100º-110º)

1 1/8 t. (1/2 package) active dry yeast

1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

1 T. olive oil

1/2 t. salt

 

Combine the water, yeast, and 3/4 cup of the flour in a large bowl. Whisk until smooth. Add the oil, salt and another half cup of the flour. Stir with a wooden spoon to form a soft dough that holds its shape. Sprinkle some of the remaining quarter cup of flour on a smooth surface. Scrape the dough out of the bowl and sprinkle with a bit more flour. Knead the dough, adding just enough flour to keep the dough from sticking, until the dough is smooth and springs back when pressed lightly with a finger—about 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise until it has doubled in size—about 1 hour. Punch down the dough. At this point you may use the dough immediately or cover the bowl again with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for 12 to 24 hours. Pull the dough out of the refrigerator to let it warm up a bit, about an hour before baking the pizza.

 

When ready to make the pizza, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough into a ball. Cover with a towel and let rest for 10 to 20 minutes. The dough is now ready to be shaped, topped and baked.

 

(Crust adapted from The New Basics Cookbook by Julee Rosso & Sheila Lukins)

 

Food Processor Method:  Place the water and yeast in a small bowl and let sit until the yeast has dissolved.  Place 1 1/4 cups plus 2 T. of the flour and salt in the food processor fitted with the metal blade and pulse to blend.  Add the oil and yeast/water mixture and pulse until the dough is homogenous.  Begin to run the mixture in long pulses until the dough is smooth and elastic—it shouldn't take more than a minute.  If the dough seems wet and sticky, add some of the remaining 2 T. of flour a bit at a time, pulsing after each addition.  Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured counter and give it a few kneads by hand.

 

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