Thursday, June 6, 2013

Shaved Asparagus, Arugula & Goat Cheese Pizza

We make homemade pizza a lot. When I say "a lot" I mean almost every Friday or Saturday night. When I say "homemade" I actually mean semi-homemade because we almost always buy our pizza dough from the "Prepared Foods" (i.e. deli) section at Whole Foods. Except I really hate the term "semi-homemade" because I don't really like Sandra Lee. But I've digressed.

Anyway, we love making pizza at home. We usually buy one batch of the Whole Foods traditional pizza dough and one batch of their whole wheat dough and then split each batch of dough in half, for a total of four pizzas in two flavors (still with me?).

JiT is a traditionalist so he's usually in charge of the margherita (because there's always a margherita... pizza, that is. As opposed to a margarita, in which case it would be a JiTarita, though we've been known to enjoy a margherita AND a margarita at the same time...mind blown. No I haven't been drinking.) Anyway, in addition to the margherita pizza, he usually also makes something that involves mushrooms and sausage. My choices, on the other hand, are usually a little more oddball (which surprises approximately no one I'm sure). I always commandeer the whole wheat dough and top it with things like pears and arugula and honey or grilled corn and avocado with Chipotle Tabasco (OMG so good), or my latest love affair...shaved asparagus and goat cheese.

But it doesn't stop with asparagus and goat cheese. While the pizza is baking, I take a handful of arugula and toss it with the juice of half a lemon and a drizzle of truffle oil, then throw it on top as soon as the pizza is out of the oven. The result is a pizza that is rich and decadent, bright and zesty and altogether unexpected.

I think it would be tasty on any homemade or store-bought dough of your choice but its really, really good on the whole grain/whole wheat dough that Whole Foods sells in their prepared foods area. If you have one in your area, its worth a trip to seek out "the dough."

Oddly, Lilly has recently staged an all-out pizza boycott. She won't even eat plain cheese most days (even though she will eat a quesadilla at any hour of any day ever, ever ever). Whatever. More for us. Since we do these on Friday nights we typically feed her some dinner (typically pizza toppings in a tortilla, aka a quesadilla. WINNING!), then put her to bed so that we can enjoy all of the delicious along with an adult beverage and a movie that involves aliens instead of the alphabet.

Side note: This is random but if you do decide to buy your pizza dough from Whole Foods you will likely find that they sell them in 1 quart plastic containers. Do not throw these away! They are awesome for a myriad of things. At this point we've amassed a collection of approximately eleventy-one-zillion of these containers and we use them for everything from: leftovers (duh), drink cups, storing homemade playdough and other small toys and projects and...
video when Zoey brought me her ball for the 10th time in an hour and I was busy unloading the dishwasher but felt bad for not playing with her it occurred to me to make her a toy to keep her busy. I simply cut a small piece out of the lid of one of these containers, threw in a few dog treats and cheese chunks, put the lid on and rolled it around on the floor. She got the idea pretty quickly and really enjoyed the challenge (and the reward). Anyway, SAVE THOSE CONTAINERS.

Shaved Asparagus, Arugula and Goat Cheese Pizza
Serves 2 to 4
Note that my measurements are approximate on this one because I make it on a Friday and typically just eyeball everything. If anything seems like too much or too little for your taste, edit accordingly :)

1 batch of your favorite pizza dough (for store-bought I recommend Whole Foods Whole Grain dough, usually available in the deli section by the store-made pizzas)
Sprinkle of cornmeal (optional)

1 clove garlic, crushed
3 Tablespoons olive oil

4 spears asparagus, shaved into ribbons using a vegetable peeler
1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese (I used Humbolt Fog, with excellent results)
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
Fresh cracked salt & pepper to taste

1/2 cup arugula
juice from 1/2 a lemon
2 teaspoons (this can be approximate) truffle oil

Preheat oven to 500 degrees F. Sprinkle a handful of cornmeal on a sheet of parchment paper and set aside. Roll out pizza dough on a floured surface to your desired thickness and transfer dough to the prepared parchment paper.

Combine olive oil and garlic in a small bowl and brush evenly over the pizza dough to coat the entire surface. Sprinkle dough with the asparagus ribbons and top with the goat cheese and mozzarella. Sprinkle with salt & pepper to taste.

Place parchment on a cookie sheet or pizza pan (or if using a pizza stone use a pizza peel to transfer parchment directly to the stone) and place in preheated oven. Bake until pizza dough is golden and crisp and cheese is melted and bubbly (approximately 8 to 10 minutes). Move baked pizza to a wire rack to cool.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine arugula, lemon juice and truffle oil. Sprinkle on top of the pizza, cut into slices and serve immediately.

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