Growing up we didn’t each much junk food and fast food was only an option (mom made the decision, not us kids) that happened a few times a year. Pizza though, was a once weekly treat and ususally ordered from one of the local pizza places. Being from an area plentiful with Italians, we had many places to choose from. Fritz’s in Bay Shore (no longer in existence) was very memorable to me mostly because of the pizza that my parents ordered. Fritz’s made an “everything” pie which was loaded with veggies. I don’t recall if it had any meat on it. Back in those days I eschewed veggies on my pizza and was especially disgruntled (along with my brother) that a plain pizza was not ordered for us also. We spent much of the dining time (in the restaurant or at home) picking the veggies off the pizza and then consuming the naked pie. In hindsight I wish I would have left those delicious vegetables on the pie and eaten all of it.
Making our own pizza became a regular and popular activity for my siblings and I starting in the 80’s. Originally, my mother would make her own whole wheat pizza dough (she may have gotten crust recipe from her sister) with leftover marinara or meat sauce (always sweetened a bit with some grated carrot) and topped with conventional mozzarella cheese. The 90’s brought about Boboli and “tube” crusts along with Italian bread and sometimes English muffins as a base. I began asking pizza parlors to buy their raw dough to make my own pizza in the early 90’s and got some perplexing looks and comments. Conventional mozzarella morphed into fresh mozzarella and our pizza started sporting grilled vegetables and pestos. I have come full circle and am now back to making my own crust just as my mother did.
This pizza was inspired by some fresh asparagus I snapped up at my local farmer’s market (Islip Town Hall) this weekend and also by the ingredients in my pantry. I usually make my own crust as I prefer a whole wheat crust. It was delicious with a great combination of tang and sweetness. I would love to do this on the grill too. I also like that it tastes just as delicious the next day (I usually eat it cold) for lunch. Switch the veggies and cheese up as you wish! Mmmmmm.
Whole Wheat Pizza Crust
*This recipe makes 2 crusts and each crust will serve approximately 6 people
prep time: 25 minutes
serving size: 6 slices, approximately
*This is one of my favorite crust recipes which I altered slightly by substituting honey for sugar and using all whole wheat pastry flour and not any all purpose flour. Find the recipe at:http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Amazing-Whole-Wheat-Pizza-Crust/Detail.aspx
Sundried Tomato Paste
prep time: 5 minutes
cooking time: 15 minutes
serving size: will cover 2 pizzas
3/4 c. packed sundried tomatoes (not packed in oil)
1 c. water
2 tblsp. olive oil
Bring the water to a boil in a small saucepan. Add the tomatoes, cover, lower heat to low, and simmer for about 15 minutes. In a blender or food processor puree the mixture and then stir the olive oil in.
prep time: 10 minutes
cooking time: 25 minutes, approximately
serving size: 6 servings, approximately
1 lb. of asparagus, tough ends snapped off
1/2 red onion, sliced into half moons
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 small log of goat cheese, crumbled
handful of fresh basil, chopped
Preheat oven to 450F. Stretch your pizza crust onto your pan that has been greased with some olive oil. Brush the top of your crust with olive oil and bake for 10 minutes. Take crust out the oven and spread with a layer of about half of the sundried tomato paste. Layer on the red onion and then arrange the asparagus on top. Crumble the goat cheese on top. Return to the oven and bake for 15 minutes. The veggies will still be crispy and the cheese will have just started to melt and the freshness of the asapargus really comes out.