I had big plans for today, as it was a rare day when I had nothing else on and all loose ends were tied up, but I woke up feeling quite sickly and then the weather started to bug. Instead I’ve spent some time working inside and puzzling out some new recipes.
I’ve been meaning to post this pizza forever but have failed at blogging for the most part for the past few months. I’ve made it several times since I first came up with it, and I think it’s probably one of B’s favorite things to eat now. He forgets every time that he’s had it before and acts as though I’ve come up with some kind of genius pizza formula every time I make it. I think he thinks of pizza as being something quite different — he keeps asking me what this is called.
I’ve already written a bit about garlic scapes here, and this is another great way to put them to use. The pesto also works great as a pasta sauce.
I kind of just made it up on the fly with what I had in my fridge, to be honest. Hip-to-it Koreans seem to have recently cracked on to pesto, and now it’s everywhere and made from anything that happens to be green. A big favorite that’s popping up on menus all over Seoul is ggaenip pesto — pesto made with perilla leaves. I actually had a perilla leave pesto pizza at a restaurant last month that I’ve also been meaning to write about. Anyway, the anything-that’s-green pesto fad had me thinking that garlic scapes might make a nice version.
The first round I made, pictured above, was very simple — garlic scapes, almonds, olive oil, salt and pepper. It was good, but the recipe I’m including includes a handful of parmesan cheese, which makes it a million times better (and helps to cut the oil when it comes to spreading it on a pizza). As always with pesto, you can use basically any nut, including pine nuts, which are my personal favorite to use when making basil pesto. Garlic scapes have quite an overpowering, spicy flavor, though, and I thought the almonds might help ground them a little more.
The dough is the same pizza dough I always use lately, which is from the Chez Panisse Pasta, Pizza and Calzone cookbook. Very reliable with a soft, chewy crust and nary a soggy undercarriage.
A simple ricotta takes the bite factor down a bit on the pesto and adds texture, while a few shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano give the pizza a little extra flavor. Asparagus, onions and eggs round out the toppings.
The thing I really like about this pesto is that it goes a bit crispy toward the edges of the pizza and picks up a lovely roasted flavor. All things considered, it doesn’t take that much time to bang out and tastes much better and is much healthier (not to mention cheaper) than a delivery pizza. If you’ve not got enough time to wait for dough to rise after getting home from work, that’s not a problem either, as batches of dough can be made ahead of time and frozen or refrigerated. In fact I’ve found that letting pizza dough sit in the fridge overnight allows it to develop a much nicer flavor.
The pesto can also be made in batches and frozen or kept in a jar in the fridge. If those two things are done ahead of time, this is actually a pretty quick and easy meal with very few dishes to do afterward. That’s why I’ve made it so often in the past few months, honestly, and I’ll probably make a big batch of this pesto to freeze before summer ends and garlic scapes become scarce.
As for the ricotta, if you’ve got milk and lemon juice, you can whip up a batch of fauxcotta in about 20 minutes.
I will add one small note to say that I’ve only included one egg per small pizza in the recipe below. As you can see from the picture above, the yolk has cooked through on one of the eggs, which resulted from having to cook the pizza a bit longer to get the whites done through. The runny yolk is one of the best parts of this pizza, so I recommend cutting the egg down to one and pulling the pizza out a couple of minutes earlier.
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup rye flour
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1 tablespoon whole milk
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup garlic scapes, chopped
- 1/4 cup almonds
- 1/4 cup parmesan, grated
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 10 stalks asparagus
- 1 cup ricotta
- 1/3 cup parmesan, grated or shaved
- 1/2 white onion, sliced
- 2 eggs
- Mix together the rye flour, yeast and 1/4 cup of warm water in a large bowl for the sponge. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and set it aside to rise for about 30 minutes.
- When the sponge is bubbly and fragrant, add the 1/2 cup warm water and stir through with a whisk until it is well combined. Add the milk, olive oil, salt and flour and mix with your hands until the dough begins to form. Use a bench knife or scraper to scrape the dough off of your hands if necessary and turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Flour your hands and knead the dough for about ten minutes, adding as little flour as possible, until it is firm and elastic.
- Form the dough into a ball and coat it lightly with olive oil. Place it in a large, clean bowl and cover it with a kitchen towel. Put it in a warm place to rise for an hour and a half to two hours.
- Put the garlic scapes, olive oil, almonds and parmesan into a food processor and process until smooth, about 5 minutes depending on your processor's capabilities. When the pesto is smooth, add salt and pepper to taste.
- Turn your oven on to as high as it will go. If you have a pizza stone, place it in the oven to heat up and disregard the directions below involving the parchment paper. Instead, work directly on a well floured pizza peel or flat baking sheet that you can use to transfer the pizza to the stone.
- Turn the dough out onto a piece of parchment paper (or divide the dough and place it on two separate pieces of parchment paper, if making two small pizzas). Use your fingers to press it flat into the shape you want your pizza to be. Coat the dough with a generous amount of the garlic scapes pesto and top with the cheeses, asparagus and onion.
- Transfer the pizza to the oven rack or pizza stone and carefully crack the eggs over the surface (two, if making one large pizza, and one per small pizza). Bake until the crust is light golden brown and firm and the egg whites are set.