I love this time of year – there’s so much delicious fresh food around that you have to make almost no effort to serve fabulous meals! Hurrah!
Not far from where we live there is a fruit farm, and they have a little shop in a shed where in the summer you can buy punnets of freshly-picked strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries, blackberries, red-currants, black-currants, etc. etc. Kipper and I dropped in the other day, and came away with a big punnet of strawberries and another of raspberries. They also had some trays of local asparagus, from a nearby farm. Seemed rude not to, so we got a big bunch of those too.
We all love asparagus, but I wanted to do something a bit more inspired than steam it and eat it with butter (delicious as that is). I thought about making an asparagus pizza, and then abandoned the idea as I thought the asparagus wouldn’t go well with the tomato sauce. THEN I thought, why do I need to bother with tomato sauce? And everything clicked magically into place.
I love asparagus and mushrooms together, and pesto makes everything taste good, so I was pretty confident this mushroom, pesto & asparagus pizza would be a hit. Plus, the weather was lovely and we ate it in the garden – you can serve almost anything al fresco and it will taste better than it does inside. At least, that’s true in the summer. Not sure it would work in the pouring rain of a dark November evening. Hmmm.
I used my Kenwood mixer to make the dough, but only because I’m lazy. I think it would be fairly easy to mix and knead by hand. It was a warm day, so I put the covered dough out in the garden to rise! It didn’t take long at all.
Kipper is usually keen to help with pizza making, arranging the toppings and sprinkling on the cheese. This time, I had to do it all myself, as she was out in the garden with DH, learning to play cricket. Happy summer days 🙂
We easily finished this mushroom, pesto & asparagus pizza between us – 2 adults and a littl’un. I’d say serves 2, really. Tuck in!
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- 200g plain flour
- 4g instant yeast
- 1 tbsp olive oil + extra for greasing
- 125ml warm water
- 3-4 tbsp pesto
- 50g mushrooms
- 1 large bunch asparagus
- 150g mozzarella or mini mozzarella balls
- Put the flour, yeast and olive oil into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. With the motor running, slowly pour in the warm water a little at a time, until everything is incorporated into a dough. Add a little more flour or water if necessary so that the dough is neither sticky nor dry.
- Continue to mix/knead in the mixer for 5-6 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic.
- Turn off the motor and remove the dough from the bowl. Add a little olive oil to the bowl, return the ball of dough and turn in over in the oil to coat. Cover and leave in a warm place of 25-30 minutes, until doubled in size.
- Preheat the oven to 220C.
- Slice the mushrooms. Snap the woody ends off the asparagus & discard. Blanch the asparagus for 1 minute then drain and rinse in cold water.
- Pat, stretch and otherwise coax the dough into a large rectangle - roughly 30x 40cm - and transfer onto a baking sheet. Spread over the pesto. Lay the sliced mushrooms and asparagus on top of the pesto.
- Cut the mozzarella into small dice. If using mini mozzarella balls, cut each one in half. Scatter the cheese pieces over the surface of the pizza.
- Bake at 220C for 10-12 minutes until the cheese is melted, the base is risen and cooked, and the asparagus & cheese are starting to char in places. Remove from the oven, slice and serve.
As you can see, we ate this al fresco, which makes it a perfect entry into this month’s Family Foodies event, on the theme of Barbecues, Picnics and Outdoor Eating, organised by Eat Your Veg and Bangers & Mash.