Asparagus, Arugula and Pesto Pizza

INGREDIENTS:

  • ½ recipe (2 disks) No-Knead Pizza Dough (see recipe below) or store bought dough
  • 1 batch Simple Vegan Pesto (see below, or you can use your ramp pesto recipe from week 1)
  • 12 ounces asparagus, trimmed and cut in half
  • 2 cups loosely packed, fresh arugula

DIRECTIONS:

Making the Dough–3 ¾ cups un-sifted all-purpose flour, plus more for shaping the dough, ¼ teaspoon active dry yeast, 2 teaspoons fine sea salt, 1 ½ cups water

In a medium bowl, thoroughly blend the flour, yeast, and salt. Add the water and, with a wooden spoon and/or your hands, mix thoroughly. We find it easiest to start with the spoon, then switch to your hands. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and allow it to rise at room temperature for 18 hours or until it has more than doubled. It will take longer in a chilly room and less time in a very warm one. Flour a work surface and scrape out the dough. Divide it into 4 equal parts and shape them. For each portion, start with the right side of the dough and pull it toward the center, then do the same with the left, then the top, then the bottom. (The order doesn’t actually matter; what you want is four folds.) Shape each portion into a round and turn seam side down. Mold the dough into a neat circular mound. The mounds should not be sticky; if they are, dust with more flour.  If you don’t intend to use the dough right away, wrap the balls individually in plastic and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Return to room temperature by leaving them out on the counter, covered in a damp cloth, for 2 to 3 hours before needed.

Making the Pesto–2 cups tightly packed fresh basil, ½ cup walnuts or pine nuts, 1 to 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped (to taste), ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil, Sea salt and freshly ground pepper (to taste), 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional).

Place the basil, walnuts or pine nuts, and garlic in a food processor fitted with the S blade. Pulse to combine, until the mixture is coarsely ground.  Turn the motor on and drizzle the olive oil in a thin stream. Add the sea salt, pepper, lemon, and nutritional yeast, and pulse a few more times to combine.

Making the Pizza–Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place each dough disk onto a lightly floured surface. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough out into a circle with a 10 to 12 inch diameter. Transfer each gently to a cookie sheet dusted with cornmeal or flour. Spread each with 1/2 cup of pesto (about half the recipe). Distribute asparagus evenly over the two pizzas.  Place two pizzas in the oven and bake for 20 to 22 minutes, or until crust is golden and asparagus is lightly browned. Remove pizza from oven. Sprinkle one cup of arugula lightly over each pizza. Cut each pizza into halves or thirds, and serve!

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