Authenticity aside, pizza is a personal thing. It’s why, with so many places to choose from, we still make our own. In keeping with the season, we made up a pair of what we call spring pizzas, topped with pillowy soft mozzarella and whatever’s fresh in the garden — in this case, asparagus and arugula. For the first round (above), we layered dollops of basil pesto with thin slices of mozzarella, and scattered a couple of handfuls of chopped green garlic and asparagus on top. Tip: Cutting asparagus into bite-sized rounds allows it to cook with the rest of the pizza. If it’s too early for basil pesto, another such as pea greens, garlic scape or sorrel, will do; and if garlic greens aren’t available, scallions make a fine substitute.
The second pizza was covered with a layer of mozzarella and grated parmesan, baked, then topped with a tangle of arugula that was lightly dressed with lemon and olive oil. The residual heat is just enough to wilt the arugula so it melds with the rest of the pizza. Tip: Toss the arugula with the lemon juice before adding the olive oil; coating the leaves with an acid first protects the cell walls and keeps the leaves from wilting too soon.
Lately, we’ve been using the recipe for Roberta’s Pizza Dough, which comes with an excellent video. There’s only a minimal amount of kneading, and, if you choose, an overnight rise in the fridge allows it to develop additional flavor. The mix of all purpose and 00 flour gives a thin, airy, and lightly chewy crust, with enough integrity to support the toppings, in keeping with the spirit of Roberta’s intent: “A true Neapolitan pie is so waifish that you have to eat it with a fork and knife. We think eating with your hands beats eating with a fork.”
Submitted to YeastSpotting.