just so i’m clear from the get-go and you don’t think i’m trying to pull a fast one on you, this asparagus ricotta pizza is lifted straight from one of my favorite spring pastas, asparagus ricotta pasta (are we sensing a similarity, based on the names?).
asparagus is always one of the things i most look forward to each spring. i think it’s because asparagus is one of those vegetables that the food industry has not yet managed to pervert into a yummy year round crop. i can buy decent broccoli year round at my local chain grocery store but asparagus? i’ve learned the hard way to steer clear of those super fat stalks of asparagus sitting on the shelf in january. (here’s an interesting article i found on asparagus farming.)
which means that once asparagus season does arrive, i tend to go into overdrive, creating as many recipes as possible with it. last year alone, we roasted it in a skillet, then put the leftovers in scrambled eggs, combined it with quinoa, feta, and pistachios to make a grain salad of sorts, and finally, of course, combined it with pasta and ricotta.
this also means that you can have a choose-your-own-adventure with the leftover ricotta, depending on the container size you buy: if you have 4 oz. of ricotta left, the remainder can go in the pasta version of this combination. if you have 12 oz. of ricotta left, you can make stuffed shells with peas and burrata, which doesn’t contain asparagus, but does have a spring vibe from the peas. choices!
regardless of what you do with the leftover ricotta, i do hope you’ll give this pizza a try, as i think i like it even better than the pasta version and, given that i’ve gotten my pizza making technique down, i think it’s even easier than the pasta because you don’t have to cook the asparagus separately. if you try both, let me know in the comments which one you prefer! enjoy!
- pizza dough (your favorite or this dough recipe)
- 4 oz. (1/2 cup / 113 g.) ricotta
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- dash of crushed red pepper, optional
- zest from ¼ of a lemon (about 1 teaspoon zest), see notes
- 1 bunch (roughly 1 pound / 454 g.) asparagus
- 4 oz. (1 cup / 113 g.) mozzarella, shredded (i use part skim)
- prepare pizza dough. if you’re using the recipe linked above, it has to rise for 9+ hours. if you’re using something else, have it at room temperature and ready to go.
- preheat the oven to its highest temperature, usually 500° F or 550° F. if you have a pizza stone, set it in the oven now to heat up gradually to avoid cracking it by placing it in a hot oven later.
- in a medium bowl, combine the ricotta, garlic, crushed red pepper (if using), and lemon zest (if using). stir to combine, then set aside for a moment.
- trim the tough ends off the asparagus. cut the stalks into 2” (5 cm) lengths. for any pieces that are wider than a pencil, cut them in half lengthwise until they are in segments that are not wider than a pencil.
- on a piece of parchment paper, press or roll the pizza dough out. once the oven is preheated, prebake the dough on the parchment paper for 4 minutes before you put any toppings on it.
- pull the dough out of the oven (an upside down baking sheet is helpful to move the dough around) and give the dough a gentle shake to make sure it’s not stuck to the parchment paper.
- spread the ricotta mixture evenly over the pizza dough, then add the asparagus pieces, and finally top with the mozzarella cheese.
- transfer the dough directly onto the pizza stone (without the parchment this time – the dough should no longer be sticky). bake for 7 – 8 minutes, until the cheese is bubbly and light golden brown. remove from the oven (baking sheet transfer for the win, again!) and let it cool for 1 minute before cutting it and diving in.
if your ricotta is meh (aka, it is a big name brand that came from a grocery store – which is what i have access to these days), use the lemon zest. if you are lucky enough to have delicious ricotta made in small batches somewhere near you (low budget packaging is a good sign!), then skip the lemon zest so the ricotta can be the star. (obviously, if you hate lemon, skip it no matter what kind of ricotta you have!)
if you have 4 oz. of ricotta left, the remainder can go in this asparagus ricotta pasta… which is basically the same thing as this pizza. if you have 12 oz. of ricotta left, you can make stuffed shells with peas and burrata.
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