Shaved Asparagus Pizza Review

Recipe 37 from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman

I think…I THINK….I figured out my dough problem…because, look at this guy! He’s beautiful :) I’m so proud of this pizza. It tasted amazing and looked pretty and was way better then homemade pizzas I’ve made in the past!

So, what was the problem before?? Yeast. I’m sure of it now. The yeast I used must have been bad. I trashed it and opened up a new packet and I also used Deb’s modified pizza dough recipe from her blog that I shared in the last post. I’m going to put it here too because it will be my new go to. I may write it in this cookbook so I don’t have to look it up every time.

Look at that dough! So much better. I knew it was right as soon as I finished mixing the ingredients. It actually felt like the dough I know to make. Such a relief. I thought I was never going to get this right.

So, a recommendation for the asparagus. I didn’t have the Y peeler she suggested so I used my normal peeler which basically worked fine. What wasn’t great was the asparagus that I chose. I bought the skinny stuff which is normally my favorite to cook with. But it was really tough to peel. The shorter thicker stalks will be your friend for this because they will likely peel a ton easier.

The ingredients for this are basic so this is a great go to recipe if you need a pizza night. The new dough recipe gives yeast measurements for a few different times for raising. But the minimum is 6 hours. Deb says the longer you let it raise the more time the flavors have to develop in the dough. But remember she has a quick dough recipe in the book too so this can still be a quick recipe if needed. While the dough raises you can work on the asparagus.

A mistake I made was assembling the pizza on my pizza slip with a minimal amount of cornmeal. I wanted to use my pizza stone for this so I didn’t put it together on a pan. The pizza got stuck when trying to slide it off so I had to get creative because I already had the toppings on.

I ended up rolling the pizza up like you would pie dough when transferring it to the pie pan….toppings and everything were rolled in it. It was perfect because I was able to pick up the rolled and stuffed dough and easily get it over to the pizza stone. I unrolled it on the stone and was good to go It gave the pizza a silly little shape but it worked and that’s all I cared about in that moment. I was too panicked to stop and get pictures so you’ll just have to imagine the fiasco!

It’s such a pretty pizza and I kind of love that it didn’t have sauce on it. The cheese made up for it. There was actually a lot of flavor for such a simple pizza. I sprinkled the parmesan all the way to the edges so even the crust had some added flavor too.

The next recipe is a calzone which I’m trying out tonight and I’ll post about it later. Need to go work on the pizza dough now while my daughter naps so it has time to raise.

Here’s that recipe and her notes quoted directly from her site for your reference (modifications made to refer you to her site for more detail I am not including below):

Deb Perelman’s Pizza Dough Recipe

Options:

  • Overnight Dough Schedule: Begin between 8 and 9 p.m the evening before for dinner between 6 to 8 p.m. (approx. 22-hour dough)
  • All-Day Dough Schedule: Begin between 6 and 8 a.m that day for dinner between 6 to 8 p.m. (approx. 12-hour dough)
  • Part-Day Dough Schedule: Begin around noon that day for dinner between 6 to 8 p.m. (approx. 6-hour dough)

Ingredients

  • 3 cups (375 grams) all-purpose flour (bread flour works too)Slightly heaped 1/8, 1/4 or 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast (for Overnight, All-Day, or Part-Day Schedules respectively, above)1 1/2 teaspoons sea or kosher salt

Slightly heaped 1/8, 1/4 or 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast (for Overnight, All-Day, or Part-Day Schedules respectively, above)1 1/2 teaspoons sea or kosher salt

  • 1 1/4 cup water, plus an additional tablespoon or two if needed (updated)

Instructions

In a very large bowl, mix all ingredients with a spoon. The dough will be craggy and rough; this is fine, but if it feels excessively so, add another spoonful or even two of water. (See Note on her blog about altered water level/flour heaviness….) Cover bowl with plastic and keep at room temperature for approximately 22 (for Overnight schedule), 12 (for All-Day schedule) or 6 (for Part-Day schedule) hours, or until the dough has more than doubled. This takes longer in a chilly room and less in a very warm one, but don’t fret too much over this, as the dough is generally forgiving of a loosened schedule.

Prepare pizza stone and paddle sprinkling it with cornmeal. You can also use any old baking sheet you have around, however, based on early commenters, the pizza tends to stick to these more, so I now recommend that you prepare it by very lightly, thinly coat it with olive oil or a nonstick cooking spray before sprinkling it with cornmeal. Heat oven to its highest temperature, usually between 500 and 550 degrees F. If you’re using a pizza stone, place it in the oven so that it heats too.

Flour your counter very well. Scrape dough out of bowl onto floured counter; in the time it has risen it should change from that craggy rough ball to something very loose, soft, sticky and stretchy. Flour the top of the dough, and divide dough in half (or more pieces, if you’re making smaller pizzas). Form them into ball-like shapes. Grab first round with floured hands and let the loose, soft dough stretch and fall away from your hands a few times before landing the dough on your prepared baking sheet/paddle. Use floured fingers to press and nudge dough into a roughly round or rectangular shape. Add desired fixings and bake pizza for 10 to 15 minutes, rotating if it’s baking unevenly, until the top is blistered and the crust is golden. Repeat with remaining dough.

Do ahead: Once risen and formed into ball-like shapes, the dough can be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to 3 days, says Lahey (whose recipe she’s used as a basis for this dough…read more on her site). He doesn’t say anything about freezing the dough, but I have done so successfully with others. However, if you don’t mind me being a little pushy here, I honestly feel that by the time the dough is defrosted and ready to use, you could have easily made a fresh one, so I don’t usually bother. When you’re ready to use a refrigerated or defrosted-but-still-cold dough, Lahey says that you should return it to room temperature by leaving it on a counter covered with a damp cloth for 2 to 3 hours before using it.

Whole wheat variation: Feel free to replace up to half the flour with whole wheat without altering any other ingredients.

Okay…if you made it through. Happy day….and happy pizza making!

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