Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Asparagus, Onion & Pesto Pizza

Asparagus season. That signals spring to me. I can eat it almost every day. Raw, steamed, blanched, sauteed, stirfried...all delicious. But my favorite way to prepare is to roast. Roasting brings out a sweet, smoky flavor that is intoxicating. Perfect as is, even better when paired with cheese. So, pizza? Yes, pizza.

The beauty of pizza (aside from the taste) is the versatility. This recipe is a great example. Today's version includes red onion and two kinds of cheese, but you could add roasted garlic, red pepper, greens, spring onions, sundried tomatoes packed in oil; whatever you like. You could create a party menu by putting out all of these options, the dough, and pesto and letting your guests create their own masterpieces.

Now, about the chili oil. To me, this is an essential ingredient. The smoky/hot oil adds the perfect bit of heat which complements the asparagus and cheese. Set out a bottle next to the pizza. I bet it will get lots of use.  Happy spring.

Pizza, Onion & Pesto Pizza
(makes1 pizza)

8 oz. asparagus
extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons best quality balsamic vinegar
purchased pizza dough for 1 pizza (or homemade if you have the time)
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 cup basil pesto (purchased or homemade)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup red onion, chopped
1/2 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, shredded
sea salt
black pepper
Calabrian chili oil

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. 

Snap off the woody ends of the asparagus and peel if stringy. (You probably will only need to peel very thick stalks. Thin stalks are usually fine as is). Place asparagus in single layer on prepared sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Using your hands, roll the asparagus in oil until coated on all sides. Drizzle balsamic vinegar over asparagus. Generously season with salt and pepper.

Roast in the oven for 15-30 minutes or until the asparagus are beginning to brown and caramelize. Cooking time depends on the thickness of the stalks. Remove from oven and set aside. Do not turn off oven.

Prepare raw dough according to package directions. Turn a baking sheet upside down and sprinkle bottom of the pan with flour. Place pizza dough circle on top of floured baking sheet  Spread pesto evenly on raw dough leaving a 1-inch border of dough uncovered. Top pesto with mozzarella cheese. Arrange roasted asparagus and onion over cheese. Slide dough off pan directly onto rack in oven (place the pan on the rack below pizza to catch drips) and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese over pizza. Add back to oven and bake an additional 5-7 minutes or until crust is golden brown and cheese bubbling.

Remove from oven, cut into slices, and serve drizzling the chili oil over pizza if desired (Highly recommended)

Other Asparagus Recipes You May Enjoy:

It is Asparagus week at Food Network's Sensational Sides roundup. Do you have a favorite asparagus recipe to share? Please list (or link) in the comments below. And be sure to check out the other delicious sounding recipes from my blogger friends and Food Network. 

Creative Culinary: Bacon Wrapped Asparagus with Garlic and Parsley
Homemade Delish: 
Asparagus Crostini
25 Ways to Use Asparagus
Feed Me Phoebe: 
Spring Quinoa Mujadara with Asparagus
In Jennie's Kitchen: 
Asparagus & Arugula Panzanella
Healthy Eats: 
5 Fresher Ways to Prepare Asparagus
Napa Farmhouse 1885: 
Asparagus, Onion & Pesto Pizza
Red or Green: 
Roasted Asparagus with Spicy Thousand Island Dressing
The Mom 100: 
Millet Greens Salad
Taste with the Eyes: 
Modern Asparagus Spring Rolls - Red Chili, Black Sesame, Almond
FN Dish: 
6 Ways to Bundle Up Asparagus This Spring


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