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5.26.16 Asparagus and Burrata Pizza with Arugula Pesto

5.26.16 Asparagus and Burrata Pizza with Arugula Pesto

I suppose a more appropriate name for this pizza might just be “Things available at the Farmer’s Market in May” pizza. Or “vernal pizzquinox” (worst food pun ever? probably). Or maybe just “SPRING!”. Because there’s a whole lot of springyness going on with this pie.

Sure, we went with your standard pizza crust (no need to get too crazy here), but from there, things start to get more seasonal. While I absolutely love a good red pizza sauce, for this pizza I opted for a brilliantly green arugula pesto, which is then topped with fresh asparagus, a sprinkling a freshly grated parmesan, and copious amounts of burrata cheese.

Sidebar here: how I’ve made it to this point in my life without ever having tried burrata cheese, I’ll never know. But now that I’ve discovered how absolutely wonderful it is,  I’m constantly thinking about the stuff. The fact is, while fresh mozzarella makes for some very delicious pizza, rich, creamy burrata is the stuff of pizza dreams.

And as if this pizza doesn’t already have enough going for it, I went there and put an egg on top. Well, multiple eggs really. The eggs cook perfectly in the oven while the pizza bakes, and when it comes out of the oven, piping hot and melty, you’ve also got three over-easy eggs atop, just waiting to spill their golden yolky deliciousness over it all. Top it off with another sprinkle of parm and a smattering of fresh, peppery watercress and there you have it. Spring in pizza form.

Asparagus and Burrata Pizza with Arugula Pesto

Makes 1 large pizza

  • Pizza dough (recipe follows)
  • Arugula pesto (recipe follows)
  • 1 ½ cups asparagus cut into about 1” pieces
  • 8 oz burrata cheese (sub fresh mozzarella if you can’t find burrata)
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese, divided
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp flaky salt (such as Maldon)
  • 1 oz fresh watercress (other greens such as baby arugula, pea shoots, or microgreens)

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

2. Grease a baking sheet or large pizza pan with cooking spray and sprinkle it with the cornmeal. Place dough in the center of the pan and spread all the way to the edges, spreading dough as thinly as you can without tearing it. Let pizza dough rest while oven heats and you prep the rest of your toppings. (hint - if you’re having trouble spreading the dough all the way to the edges, spread it as far as you can, then let it rest for about 5 minutes. After resting, it will be easier to finish spreading the dough all the way to the edges of the pan).

3. Spread arugula pesto evenly over the prepared pizza dough, leaving a 1” border around the edges. Sprinkle evenly with the asparagus pieces. Break burrata into large chunks and place atop pizza, then sprinkle everything with ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese.

4. Make three indentations in the toppings, then crack one egg into each. Carefully, carefully, transfer pizza pan to oven and bake at 450 degrees until egg whites are set and cheese is melty and beginning to brown, about 15-18 minutes.

5. Remove pizza from oven, and sprinkle evenly with the crushed red pepper, flaky salt, and remaining ¼ cup parmesan cheese. Top evenly with greens and serve immediately.


Pizza Dough

Makes 1 large pizza

More in-depth details on perfect pizza dough here.

  • ¾ cup warm water
  • 1 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 2 cups flour (preferably bread flour)
  • 1 tsp salt

1. Dissolve yeast and honey in water, let sit for 5 minutes.

2. Combine the flour and salt and a large bowl. Make a well in the center and add the liquid ingredients, stirring until ingredients are just combined.  Let sit for 10-20 minutes. (note: this sitting stage allows the gluten network to start forming through hydration, which will cut down on your overall kneading time by about 50%. If you’d rather not wait, you can start kneading immediately, and you will just end up needing to work the dough for about 6-8 minutes to build up a sufficient gluten network).

3. Knead dough until a smooth cohesive ball forms and dough passes the ‘windowpane test’ (should take about 2-4 minutes if you rested the dough in the previous step, otherwise about 6-8 minutes).

4. Spray a bowl with cooking spray, put dough into bowl, turning to coat both sides of dough with oil. Cover bowl and let sit at room temperature for 60-90 minutes, or until dough has doubled in size.


Arugula Pesto

I used pepitas here for an interesting twist, but feel free to sub the more traditional pine nuts, or even sunflower seeds here.

  • 4 cups fresh arugula
  • ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup toasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped (or 2 stalks green garlic, roughly chopped)
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp salt + more to taste

1. Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor until well combined - about 30-45 seconds. Add additional salt to taste if needed. Can be made ahead and stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 10 days.

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