Jul 07 2010
I love pizza. Especially the fancy Neapolitan kind with the rich, moist cheese and crispy crust that bubbles up. In fact, I love it so much that I gave it extra attention on my About page, but I’ve never made it for the blog before.
Truthfully, I’ve been waiting for a very special ingredient that only rears its head in the late summertime: squash blossoms. I dreamed up this pizza month ago, long before they were available at the farmer’s market, and I’ve been biding my time ever since.
This weekend my dreams came true when a man at the Ferry Building told me to fill up a brown paper bag full of squash blossoms in exchange for one measly dollar. Bargain-hunting isn’t exactly my specialty, so I knew fate was finally on my side.
And let me tell you, it was worth the wait. My assistant and I devoured this pizza in relative silence, speaking only to declare that this one was among the Best Pizzas We Have Ever Had. How’s that for a hard sell?
Squash Blossom and Shaved Asparagus Pizza
*The crust for this pizza is adapted from the A16 cookbook; theirs is much more involved, but I followed the basic instructions.
Ingredients (Makes 2 pizzas):
1/8 tsp. active dry yeast
3/4 cup warm water
3 tsp. olive oil, divided into 1 tsp. and 2 tsp. (plus extra for drizzling)
1 tsp. salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 small cloves garlic, minced
16 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese (packaged in water), grated
10 stalks asparagus
24 squash blossoms
2 tsp. chili flakes
6 tbsp. goat cheese
Salt and pepper
Pour water into a small bowl and sprinkle yeast. Let rest for about 10 minutes, or until the yeast dissolves. Stir in 1 tsp. olive oil and salt, then combine the water mixture with flour in a larger bowl.
Mix well until a dough forms (I used my hands for this part). Knead for 10 minutes, then divide into two equally-sized balls. Cover each with a damp towel and let rest for about 2 hours, or until the dough has risen and nearly doubled in size.
Lightly grease two 9- to 10-inch pizza pans and stretch each ball of dough until it covers the whole thing. Be patient with this part — I was stretching and pressing for about 15 minutes, but I was careful and didn’t tear the dough.
In a small bowl, combine the remaining 2 tsp. olive oil with the minced garlic. Distribute the mixture evenly over the two pizzas. Top with the freshly-grated mozzarella, 8 oz. on each pizza.
Use a vegetable peeler to create thin asparagus shavings, starting at the thick bottom of the stalk and ending at the top. Once they are all shaved, drizzle with olive oil (about a tbsp.) and toss with a generous amount of salt and pepper. Coat all of the shavings evenly.
Arrange asparagus shavings on top of pizza, then arrange squash blossoms in a circle. Sprinkle chili flakes and crumble goat cheese on top. Here’s what it looked like before going into the oven:
After was even better!
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