One thing that has been noticeably different at the farmer’s market here in my new little corner of the PNW is that asparagus is in abundance and has been for over a month now. It’s possible that this shouldn’t be a surprise, but in my last corner of the PNW, asparagus was available, but always at a premium – you either had to have a good enough relationship with the farmer to reserve asparagus in advance or be certain to get to the market right at the start at 9 a.m., because by 9:15, all the asparagus would be gone already. I’ve also noticed that it is actually possible to get a bit tired of asparagus. I seem to have used asparagus in everything, from eggs to pizza.
This recipe is the last hurrah for me with asparagus. I’m on to binging on strawberries from here and getting ready for the inevitable surge of later summer vegetables. This is also one of my go-to cook once and eat twice recipes for when I have leftover roast chicken.
Chicken, Asparagus, and Roasted Garlic Pizza
1 cup warm water
2 ¼ teaspoons yeast (or one packet)
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups flour
1 tablespoon butter
1 head roasted garlic – roasted garlic squeezed out into a paste
2 tablespoons flour
¾ cup half and half
¾ cup shredded cheese (I usually use a combination of parmesan and mozzarella)
½ pound asparagus, chopped into small pieces
1 cup diced roasted chicken
¼ cup finely chopped herbs (some combination of rosemary, thyme, chives, oregano, parsley)
1 cup shredded cheese
Start by making the pizza dough. Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and let sit for a few minutes until the yeast becomes foamy. Add the olive oil to the yeast, and then one cup flour and the salt. Mix. Continue to add flour until the dough comes together in a shaggy ball. Turn out on a well-surface and knead for 6 to 8 minutes. The dough should be a bit sticky still but not so much so that it sticks to your hands or to the surface. Let the dough rise for an hour in a bowl covered with oiled plastic wrap or a few clean tea towels. Punch the dough down and let it rise for another hour.
When the dough has risen for the second hour, prepare a baking sheet by oiling thoroughly. Spread the dough out on the baking sheet, gently pulling and rolling, letting it rest several times. When the dough is the size you want your pizza to be, cover with a tea towel and set aside while you make the sauce.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
In a small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat and add the roast garlic. Stir a few times and then whisk the flour in a little bit at a time. Once the flour is fully incorporated, let cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for a minute. Add the half and half slowly, continuing to stir until it is fully incorporated. Continue to stir until the sauce starts to thicken. Take the sauce off the burner and stir in the cheese.
Spread the sauce over the dough. Spread the toppings evenly over the sauce and sprinkle the cheese over the top. Bake at 450 degrees for twenty minutes or until the cheese is melted and golden and the crust of the pizza dough is golden. Let rest for five minutes and then serve.