I made some whole wheat pizza dough Monday night. It has been resting in the fridge since then and has obviously been on my mind – last night, I dreamed about it. I was in the kitchen, tossing the dough around effortlessly, just like in an old Italian kitchen. Then I woke up. Let’s just say that my efforts tonight did not turn out like my dream.
The pizza still turned out good, though.
To be fair, I am a pizza novice. This was only my second attempt at homemade dough, so I’m still perfecting the craft. I don’t usually deal with flour and yeast and all those things I usually associate with baking – something I just don’t do. Baking is more of a science; cooking is art. Toss in a little of this, a dash of that, and voilà: dinner. This might seem strange; I am, after all, an engineer by day, but I’m an artist in the kitchen (or so I like to think).
Anyway, back to that pizza. The main downfall of whole wheat dough is that it does not have the light, fluffy quality that the white stuff does. In my opinion, the health benefits are worth it, though. I think the key is that the dough needs to be very thin to allow it to get a bit crispy.
And I love white pizza. Sauce on pizza is something I rarely eat, mostly because many places pay so little attention to the sauce. I’ve also been on an egg kick for quite a while now, and after having a pizza at La Madia with prosciutto and egg, I had to create my own.
**A note about the photos: I would give my left hand to be able to cook during the day and, therefore, take photos in natural light. Unfortunately for my photos (but fortunately for my left hand), I have this pesky 9-5, after which I run and go to the gym, which puts me home just as the sun starts setting, usually. Worse, the lighting in my kitchen is just plain awful. So please, don’t mind that nasty yellow tint that the tungsten lighting creates. If ya’ll start viewing my blog more so I can get some advertising revenue, maybe I can quit my job and cook full time!**
White Pizza with Asparagus: Two Ways
inspired by La Madia’s Cracked Organic Egg, San Daniele Prosciutto, Caciocavallo Cheese & Black Pepper Pizza
for the dough (adapted from Wolfgang Puck)
¼ cup warm water
3 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup cool water
1 tablespoon olive oil
In a bowl, dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Put the flour in a food processor. In a separate bowl, mix the cool water with the olive oil and salt. With the motor running, pour the olive oil mixture and the yeast slowly in through the feed tube. Process until the dough forms a ball that rides around on the blade.
Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl and let rise – mine rested for two days, but after one it seemed ready. Knead the dough, then divide it into 4 pieces – one for each pie. You can roll it out with a rolling pin (which I don’t have because I don’t bake), or slowly spread it out on a baking sheet using your fingers, letting it rest a little in between each tug. I did pizza two ways, so I had two pizza sheets with dough and froze the rest.
for the pizza
1 bunch asparagus, washed, trimmed, and cut into ~1-inch pieces
4-5 cloves garlic, cut into thin slices
2 shallots, thinly sliced.
extra virgin olive oil
1 block asiago cheese, shredded
1 block parmesan cheese, shredded
1 block good quality feta cheese, chopped in to cubes
few slices of prosciutto
few slices of pancetta
For both pizzas:
Preheat oven to 400. Drizzle some olive oil over the dough and top with the garlic slices.
The amount of cheese is really a matter of preference – add as much as you like of each cheese. I went with about equal amounts of asiago and parmesan, then sprinkled a few feta chunks throughout. Then top with raw shallots and asparagus. Try to leave little indentations where the egg will go later.
Add prosciutto to one pizza, and pancetta to the other. You know me – I had pesto on hand – so I put some pesto on one pizza also instead of the drizzled oil and garlic.
Then crack raw eggs in your little indentations. I used 4 eggs on each pizza because they turned out pretty large, but you can adjust this depending on the size of your pizza.
Pop them in the oven for about 15 minutes or until the egg is set. Be careful not to keep them in too long, since it’s best when the yolk is still soft and oozes over the rest of the pizza!
The verdict: Eric liked the prosciutto better. I thought both were delicious. Next time, I might try baking the crust for 5 minutes or so before putting the toppings on to allow the center to get a little crisper.