Mushroom Asparagus PizzaPosted: 22 June 2011
Mushrooms and asparagus are probably two of my favorite things to eat in spring. Not that you can’t eat mushrooms year-round, but they’re so delicious on top of a grilled steak or mixed with fresh asparagus and to me, that screams spring. One thing I’ve noticed during these warmer months is that we eat almost all of our meat grilled. So if we’re not grilling something, there probably isn’t any meat involved. Spring and summer produce is so abundant, it’s just so easy to whip something up with produce you have on hand.
I love mushrooms. Senor and I had some morels the other day and we were both blown away by them. If I could spend $40 for a pound of mushrooms, I totally would. They’re outstanding. I might have to take up mushroom hunting to support the addiction.
One place where I don’t love to find mushrooms though, is my pizza. I’ve never had a truly delicious mushroom on a pizza. Usually they’re sliced and from a can…and more than a little rubbery and slimy. Or they might be so dried out that they look freeze-dried slices of mushrooms. Mushrooms found on pizza are never delicately braised golden brown and plump. This is probably because mushrooms that are plump, savory and delicious are usually a lot more expensive than their canned counterparts. Fresh baby mushrooms that are deliciously golden brown cost more in money and in time spent preparing them. This, I think, is the ultimate dilemma of a veggie pizza. The veggies are not exhilarating. Instead, you have green peppers, olives, mushrooms and onions. Green peppers are the cheapest pepper with the most overwhelming flavor amongst the sweet peppers. Olives are pickled and salty…and are sometimes hard to love…and not the first thing that I think of when I hear the words ‘veggie’ but somehow they always manage to wiggle their way in there. The mushrooms we’ve already addressed. And while onions are delicious all the time, they aren’t enough to salvage a good veggie pizza.
The mushroom asparagus pizza was actually a well-planned meal that I created based on my own, personal desire to enjoy delicious mushrooms on pizza. It was a greedy, selfish endeavor and I’m not sorry because it was amazing. I wanted lots of really good, amazing veggies on a pizza. I dreamed of amazing vegetable combinations that I could create. Artichoke with onion, basil and red bell pepper? Tomato, asparagus, mushroom and goat cheese? Caramelized onions, mushrooms and broccoli rabe? So many possibilities to make really, really delicious ‘veggie’ pizza.
I settled on a simple mushroom asparagus pizza because not only do I love them both, but asparagus is my favorite in-season vegetable at the moment. I was anxious to get my grubby little paws on a delicious pizza full of beautiful mushrooms instead of gross ones and the combo was perfect. It came out of the oven and was gorgeous, but sadly, already dark outside. Some of these pictures are from the next day when I reheated the leftovers in the toaster oven. It was still delicious.
I started by whipping up this crust recipe from All Recipes. Instead of rolling it out, I just spread it with my fingers on a cookie sheet sprinkled with cornmeal. This left the crust thicker at the edges and took way less time.
While the dough was rising, I sauteed the mushrooms, and then the asparagus in a bit of butter and olive oil, braising the mushrooms in a little water for a few minutes to make sure they kept their fullness. I sprinkled them generously with garlic.
I spread some melted garlic butter on the spread out dough, topped it with cheese and the veggies and popped it in the oven for about 40 minutes at 425. Senor and I stuffed ourselves silly on this gooey, delicious spring pizza.
Mushroom Asparagus Pizza
1 pizza crust (I used this recipe but feel free to use a packaged pizza crust)
2 cups shredded mozzarella
1 large bunch of asparagus, washed and cut into pieces
2 cups of baby mushrooms (more as desired), wiped clean and cut into halves
3 Tablespoons butter, divided
1 Tablespoon olive oil
Heat your oven to 425º.
Follow the directions for your crust recipe and spread it out on a large baking sheet, sprayed with non-stick spray and sprinkled with cornmeal.
In a saute pan, add 1 Tablespoon of butter and heat over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms. Stir occasionally and make sure each mushroom is evenly coated in butter. Add a few tablespoons of water so the mushrooms braise slightly and absorb some of the moisture. Season with garlic powder as desired.
When the mushrooms are mostly done, remove from heat and set aside in a separate bowl. Add the olive oil and asparagus to your saute pan. Saute lightly with plenty of garlic. When the asparagus has turned bright green but is still firm, add the mushrooms back in and remove from heat. Stir the two together to incorporate all of the flavors.
In a small Pyrex, add two tablespoons of butter and plenty of garlic. Feel free to use garlic salt, garlic powder, or a combo of both. Melt in the microwave and stir to mix. Pour the butter and garlic mix over your crust. Spread evenly with a pastry brush or clean fingers.
Top the buttery crust with shredded cheese. Carefully add your mushrooms and asparagus to the top of the cheese, spreading them evenly and making sure the edge pieces have plenty of toppings.
Pop in the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes. Remove once the cheese is lightly golden in the center of the pizza. If the dough in the center is slightly doughy, let it sit on the cookie sheet while you serve the outer pieces and let it finish cooking on the tray.