Pizza con Asparagi, Ricotta Fresca & Salata e Pomodorini
Pizza with Asparagus, Fresh and Salted Ricotta and Cherry Tomatoes
Oh, I am so sorry people- but I couldn't resist! On this momentous occasion of the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, I thought it only fitting that I do something pretty in honor of the monarch of the country I was born in! Yes indeed... Sicilian though I am, I was born in England!
You will no doubt see this lovely wild asparagus in a couple more dishes this week and irresistible as it was, I picked up a whole bunch of it from the market hall yesterday. Alas, they do not yet genetically engineer blue asparagus- even for Royal occasions- so the Union Jack is presented here in the colors of the Italian Tri-Colore- MUCH more fitting as a symbol of my heritage in any case! And a lot more appetising too!
Obviously, there are no great heights of culinary creation on show here... but nevertheless, this is how I went about making this. I began by baking the pizza dough blind for 5 minutes on the ovens highest setting. This made it firm and gave a good base to add the rest of the ingredients without it becoming soggy... it really is the only way to do this at home if you want to have a thin yet crisp base.
Whilst the pizza was in the oven, I quickly blanched the asparagus for 2-3 minutes in boiling, well salted water and then drained it and rinsed it under cold water to prevent it overcooking.
Next, a made a mix of fresh, creamy Ricotta cheese, finely chopped garlic, finely chopped chives, salt, pepper, a hint of lemon juice, a little nutmeg and a little olive oil. I stirred these up really well and gave the pizza base a generous coating.
I then sliced some cherry tomatoes thinly and set about creating my little work of art. I laid out the middle sections first, forming a cross, then added the diagonals... and yes, I did miscount and ended up with 2 stalks of asparagus too few on one side... I do hope that HRH will forgive me!
I then laid out the cherry tomato slices in the spaces in-between the asparagus... pretty easy stuff! I gave the asparagus a light brush with olive oil and popped the pizza back into the oven for 9-10 minutes. Whilst it was baking, I grated a little salted ricotta cheese and prepared a little dried oregano and rosemary to add as a finishing touch.
So out it came again and the tomatoes were sprinkled with herbs and the spaces where the cream cheese was bubbling away I sprinkled with the grated ricotta. All it needed then was 1-2 minutes under the broiler to give is a wonderful toasted finish! Perfect!
Obviously, the time for enjoying this creation has been and gone... but still... it's all about sharing! And I wanted to share it with you! Enjoy!