Asparagus and Whipped Ricotta Pizza
YIELD: MAKES 1 PIZZA, SERVES 2 TO 4
PREP TIME: 2 HOURS
COOK TIME: 30 MINUTES
1 1/8 cups warm water
3 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 pound asparagus spears, woody stems removed
1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
6 ounces sharp provolone cheese, freshly grated
6 thin slices prosciutto
freshly grated parmigiano reggiano for topping
In a large bowl, combine water, yeast, honey and olive oil. Mix with a spoon, then let sit until foamy, about 10 minutes. Add in 2 1/2 cups flour and salt, stirring with a spoon until the dough comes together but is still sticky. Using your hands, form the dough into a ball and work in the additional 1/2 cup flour, kneading it on a floured surface for a few minutes. Rub the same bowl with olive oil then place the dough inside, turning to coat. Cover with a towel and place in a warm place to rise for about 1-1 1/2 hours.
After the dough has risen, punch it down and place it back on the floured surface. Using a rolling pin or your hands, form it into your desired shape (sometimes I use baking sheets and do rectangles or free form pizzas - this specific dough will yield one pizza large enough to feed about 3-4 people) and place on a baking sheet or pizza peel. Place the towel back over the dough and let sit in the warm place for 10 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. (If I use my pizza stone, I heat my oven to 475 degrees and bake for 15 minutes. If you're just using a baking sheet, follow the directions below for baking and set to 375 degrees.)
To shave the asparagus spears, take a vegetable peeler and run it along the sides of the asparagus. I shave off as much as I can and leave the tops whole, adding it all to a large bowl.
Add the ricotta to a food processor and blend until completely whipped and pureed. Add in the garlic, salt and pepper and blend again until combined.
Brush the pizza dough with the olive oil. Spread the whipped ricotta evenly on top, then cover with the grated cheese. Add the asparagus on next and space out the prosciutto slices. Bake the pizza for 35 minutes (baking sheet) or 15 minutes (pizza stone). Remove and cover with a sprinkling of parmigiano reggiano. Let sit for a few minutes before slicing.