This past weekend was pretty much a washout here in the Washington area. It rained in the morning, it rained in the afternoon, it rained in the evening and it rained all night. It rained on Saturday and it rained on Sunday. In fact, it even snowed for a couple of hours. Imagine.
Opie, who will not give up his walks for hail or high water, put his best face on the weather. On Sunday morning he went to his favorite trail, got soaked in the rain, sniffed around three other intrepid (and equally soaked dogs) who were also braving the weather, sat around on the slush-covered grass, and came home smelling like… wet dog. It took Desi the best part of an hour and multiple towels to dry him out.
With Opie’s walk out of the way and not much else to do, it was time to get cooking. Something warm and comforting, like sunshine for the belly. And what’s sunnier than a slice of crispy, crusty pizza?
I have been dreaming of an asparagus pizza for months now, and I’d been dreaming of a potato pizza for even longer. Why not combine the two, I thought. I love the idea of potatoes on pizza — in fact, there isn’t a better substitute for cheese, in my mind. Potatoes are just as satisfying as cheese, most people love them, and icing on the cake, they are far healthier with no cholesterol or fat to worry about. Yes, they do have carbs but you are not eating so much potato here that you have to worry about that. In fact, there are just about four super-thin potato slices in each slice of pizza.
Besides, you have all that great healthfulness from the kale pesto that also goes on this pizza, making it super delicious and super good for you. In fact, this kale pesto is perfect not just for this pizza but for pastas as well. Try it and you’ll never stop making it.
Gotta run now, but here’s the recipe. Enjoy, all!
- For the pizza dough:
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 package (2¼ tsp) active dry yeast
- 1 tbsp maple syrup or sugar
- 2 cups bread flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 tsp salt
- For the kale pesto:
- 1 packed cup baby kale
- ¼ cup walnuts, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Juice of half a lemon
- Salt and ground black pepper to taste
- For the toppings:
- 20 asparagus spears, woody ends trimmed
- 4 red bliss or yukon gold potatoes, sliced very thin (1/8th of an inch). Place the sliced potatoes in a bowl of cold water and let them stand 30 minutes.
- Make the pizza dough:
- Combine the yeast, warm water and sugar or maple syrup in a bowl and set aside to activate the yeast.
- After five minutes, add the whole wheat flour and a cup of the bread flour along with salt.
- Knead by hand or on low speed in a stand mixer until the dough comes together. If needed, add more flour a few tablespoons at a time. You want a smooth, slightly sticky dough. Continue to knead for another five minutes.
- Shape the dough into a smooth ball and place in an oiled bowl, turning over once to coat the top. Cover loosely with a plastic bag or kitchen towel and set aside to rise and double, about 2 hours.
- Make the kale pesto:
- Place all the ingredients in a food processor and process until they have broken down into a fairly smooth paste. Set aside.
- Prep the veggies:
- Heat a large pot of water and add some salt to it, like you would for cooking pasta. Blanch the asparagus and the sliced potatoes by adding them to the pot of boiling water. Let them be for three minutes, then turn off heat, strain the vegetables and rinse under cold water. Set aside.
- Assemble and bake the pizza:
- If you have a pizza stone, place it in the oven and preheat the oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Remove the dough from the bowl, knead it slightly to deflate, then let it rest for 10 minutes, covered.
- Roll out the pizza dough as evenly as possible to a diameter of about 15 inches. If the dough is too resistant, let it rest for a few more minutes, then roll.
- Transfer the pizza dough to a baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal or, if you have one, a pizza peel also sprinkled with cornmeal. Shape and stretch again with your fingers if the dough shrinks. Using your fingertips, make dimples in the surface of the pizza. This will keep the pizza from forming air pockets when it bakes.
- Slather the pesto on the pizza, then top with the blanched slices of potato and asparagus spears. Drizzle some extra virgin olive oil on top, if desired and sprinkle some salt and pepper.
- Place the pizza directly on top of a pizza stone in the preheated oven or leave it in the baking sheet if you don't have a pizza stone. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until the crust is all crispy and golden.
- Remove carefully, slice, and serve hot.
More pizza recipes at Holy Cow!