It’s that time of the year that I go crazy with asparagus. I just can’t help myself. After waiting patiently all winter long for it to come back in season, I have this tendency to buy way more than I really need each week at the grocery store. Which means I am always looking for fun ways to put that extra produce to good use. My latest solution? On top of pizza! Between the chewy, crisp crust, plenty of cheese and my favorite spring vegetable? I’m in complete heaven.
For today’s recipe, chunks of asparagus are roasted along with some sliced red onion - for flavor and that pretty pop of purple. The roasting brings out just a touch of sweetness in the asparagus, which contrasts so well against the spicy arugula topping. Creamy, tangy goat cheese is also in the mix, along with some lemon zest for brightness.
A few tips for making the pizza. When you roast the asparagus, be sure to bake it just until crisp tender. You don’t want it to be fully cooked, as it will be going back into the very hot oven on top of the pizza itself (where it will cook a bit more!).
When working with the pizza dough, I find it helps to let the dough rest at room temperature for about 15 to 20 minutes before shaping. This takes off the chill from the refrigerator, which allows the dough to roll out easier. If you find that it keeps bouncing back when shaping, let it rest for a few minutes and try again. This gives the gluten a chance to relax, which assists with the shaping process.
For the veggies:
- ½ pound asparagus ends trimmed and cut into 2 inch chunks
- ½ small red onion sliced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 large clove garlic minced
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
For the pizza:
- 1 pound refrigerated pizza dough
- About 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 ½ cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 2 ounces goat cheese crumbled
- Zest of 1 medium lemon
- 1 cup lightly packed baby arugula
For the veggies:
- Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
- Add the asparagus and red onion to a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with the olive oil, then sprinkle with the garlic, salt and red pepper flakes. Toss to combine and spread in an even layer. Bake for about 10 to 12 minutes, stirring once halfway through, until crisp tender. Set aside to cool slightly.
For the pizza:
- Increase the oven temperature to 500ºF. If you have a pizza stone, carefully place it in the oven to heat.
- Meanwhile, roll out and shape the pizza dough on a well-floured surface. Transfer the shaped dough to a piece of parchment paper that has been lightly dusted with cornmeal. Lightly brush the dough with the olive oil. Top with the mozzarella, the goat cheese and the roasted veggies.
- Transfer to the oven (put the parchment paper with the pizza directly on the hot pizza stone; if you don’t have a pizza stone, set the parchment on a large baking sheet instead). Bake for about 10 to 13 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. Remove from the oven, then sprinkle with the lemon zest and top with the arugula. Let cool for about 5 minutes before slicing.