Thursday, June 17, 2010

Buckwheat Asparagus-Prosciutto Pizza

Pizza is an old favorite of mine that I like to make. I do not make the dough the "proper" way but it always turns out just fine. My dad taught me how to make it years ago and this is my version which makes things a bit quicker because I do not allow the dough time to rise. Because, let's face it, when I start to cook dinner its usually 10 pm and I have just bought the ingredients from the store. If I let the dough rise I wouldn't eat till 1am!

The buckwheat flour gives this pizza an alternative taste and makes it much healthier than using only all-purpose flour. Buckwheat, among many other things, is high in fiber. Also, don't be scared off by my lengthy instructions for it is actually pretty easy to make.

Serves 4.

For the Dough
1 3/4 cups organic buckwheat flour
1 1/4 cups organic all purpose flour (+ more to knead on the countertop)
1 cup water
pinch sea salt
pinch cane sugar
1 packet yeast (I used 1/4 oz packet of Fleishmann's Active Dry)

For the Toppings
splash extra virgin olive oil
7-8 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced
3/4 bunch of organic asparagus (ends cut off, lengthwise, then cut into 1" pieces)
1 lb fresh lightly salted mozzarella, very finely sliced
fresh whole basil leaves
1/4 lb proscuitto
corn meal (~ T for the pan)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. I use a pizza stone to get the dough really crispy. If you have a pizza stone, place it in the oven before preheating it.

If you do not have one of these, prepare a large baking sheet for use. Oil the baking sheet and sprinkle corn meal on it so the dough doesn't stick.

To make the dough...
(Note: I made this dough for years by hand with a bowl and wooden spoon. It is very easy to do it this way but if you have a food processor you might as well use that. It makes the dough process effortless.)

1. Heat a cup of water with pinch of salt and sugar. (I usually microwave it for 1 minute 30 seconds. You want the water to be hot, but not scorching or you will kill the yeast when it is added. I believe it is supposed to be around 105 degrees but I don't bother using a thermometer.) When you have determined that the water is not scorching, add the yeast. Stir to dissolve and let sit a few minutes.
2. Then in a bowl or food processor, combine the yeast-water mixture with the flour. Stir until homogenous. The mixture should be moist, but not sticky to the touch. If it is too sticky, add more flour, one tablespoon at a time.
3. Knead dough for about a minute on a lightly floured countertop. Then roll it out with a rolling pin (or pint glass will do too).

To transfer the dough to your pizza stone sliding board or baking sheet, fold the dough into quarters. (The pizza stone sliding board should also have about 1 T of corn meal on it to prevent sticking.) Transfer to the surface and unfold immediately. Fold the edges over to make a nice crust. Or get your favorite German Robot to do it as demonstrated by this picture:

To arrange the toppings...
1. Using a silicon brush (or spoon) brush a splash of extra virgin olive oil over the top of the dough. It should just be a light coating and not drenched in oil.
2. Sprinkle the dough with fresh sea salt.
3. Arrange garlic, mozzarella, basil leaves, and asparagus evenly all over the pizza.

4. Bake for 10 minutes or until the dough is crispy and the cheese is almost completely melted.
5. Place prosciutto strips on the pizza and bake for an additional 2 1/2 minutes so it crisps up and the cheese finishes melting.

I served mine with a simple arugula salad (with cherry tomatoes and lemon juice as the dressing):

and of course wine and good company...

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