Jul 07 2010

Pizza Night

Published by at 9:23 pm under Dinner

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!

7 responses so far

7 Responses to “Pizza Night”

  1. Billyon 09 Jul 2010 at 7:08 am

    Yum! I’ve never seen squash blossoms in Mississippi markets. Will it work with okra?

  2. Livon 09 Jul 2010 at 1:19 pm

    I think okra would be great! It’s also got a slightly nutty flavor, but it’s not as delicate as the squash blossoms. Might be tasty with bell pepper?

  3. Sharonon 21 Jul 2010 at 12:28 am

    That looks absolutely brilliant……hope you make one for me when I come out to visit. John is a lucky assistant….

  4. Livon 21 Jul 2010 at 10:30 am

    Done! It’s officially on the menu for your visit 🙂 Can’t wait!

  5. Sharonon 25 Sep 2010 at 5:46 am

    Thank you for my pizza night in SFO…….it was fabulous. Just printed your recipe and will make it tonight~

  6. Livon 26 Sep 2010 at 2:48 pm

    So glad you enjoyed it! Let me know how the pizza-making goes!

  7. Whitneyon 21 Oct 2010 at 6:42 am

    Is there a special secret to making the dough bubble? I have tried numerous times with a Barefoot Contessa recipe to get those golden bubbles i see in your picture, but alas, my dough comes out heavier and more dense. Maybe it’s the temp or the kneading time or maybe I am using too much yeast?