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A Pie for Spring

Published Mar 24, 2016 • Last Updated 03:25 pm, April 07, 2017

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I have a confession to make: I am a bread-aholic. On any given weekend I can be found making bagels, loaves of bread, or rolls. The recent additions of a bread maker and a professional grade stand mixer with a dough hook have only increased my love of breads.

There's something delightful in watching granules of yeast begin to bubble to form a wonderful starter for the day's dough of choice. And of course there's that smell that can only be associated with warm bread.  I've recently started experimenting with pizza dough and have discovered that pizza dough is just as enjoyable as bread dough.

With spring vegetables starting to appear in local markets, it's as good a time as any to sauté  some veggies and layer them on to a white pizza.

Mushroom + Asparagus White Burrata Cheese Pizza with Balsamic Drizzle



Pizza Dough

1½ cups flour

½ cup warm water

1½ tsp. active dry yeast

1 tbsp. honey

¼ tsp. salt

1 tbsp. olive oil



6 tbsp. olive oil, divided

8 oz. baby bella mushrooms, sliced

1 small bunch asparagus, ends trimmed and then cut into 3rds or 4ths

¼  tsp. crushed red pepper

Good pinch of salt and pepper

¼ cup packed fresh basil chopped

1 small clove garlic, minced or grated

2 tbsp. parmesan cheese, grated

1½ cups mozzarella cheese, shredded

4-8 oz. burrata cheese

4-8 oz. feta cheese, crumbled

2 cups fresh arugula

1 medium red or yellow pepper, sliced into strips

2 tbsp. oil packed sun-dried tomatoes,

oil drained and reserved

1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp. pine nuts, toasted

Balsamic Drizzle

½ cup balsamic vinegar

1 tsp. brown sugar (optional)



For the Dough

In a large bowl, combine water, yeast, and honey. Mix with a spoon, then let sit until foamy, about 10 minutes. Add in the flour and olive oil stirring with a spoon until the dough comes together but is still sticky. Using your hands, turn the dough out onto a floured surface, and form the dough into a ball. Work the additional 1/2 cup flour into the dough if needed. You can also do all the mixing and kneading in your stand mixer with the dough hook attachment. Now rub the same bowl with olive oil and place the dough inside, turning to coat. Cover with a towel and place in a warm place to rise for about 1 1/2 hours.

To Make the Balsamic Drizzle

Add vinegar and brown sugar, if using, to a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a very low simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes, until liquid reduces by about half and is slightly syrupy. Remove from heat, pour vinegar in a bowl or glass to pour, and set aside to cool and thicken.

Assembling the Pizza

When the dough is ready, start assembling the pizza.

Preheat the oven to 375 F.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Once hot, add the mushrooms, peppers, and asparagus. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes or until the veggies are just slightly cooked and softened. Season with salt, pepper and crushed red pepper. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Once the pizza dough is ready, lightly flour a counter. Use your hands or a rolling pin to roll the dough out until you have a flattened disk. Place the pizzas on a greased baking sheet and then use your hands to gently tug, pull and push the pizza dough into your desired shape. Drizzle at least 2 tablespoons of olive oil over the pizza dough. Add the chopped basil, garlic and parmesan, spread out evenly over the pizza. Add the mozzarella cheese and then sprinkle the veggies over the pizza. Break the burrata up over the top and then sprinkle with a little feta cheese.

Bake the pizza for 25-30 minutes or until the cheese is all melty and gooey.

Meanwhile add the arugula and sun-dried tomatoes to a bowl and toss with 1-2 tablespoons of the reserved sun-dried tomato oil, toasted pine nuts, 1 tablespoon balsamic, a handful of feta cheese and a pinch of salt and pepper, toss well and set aside until ready to use.

Remove the pizza from the oven and serve the arugula salad over top the pizza, or on the side. Drizzle the balsamic glaze over the pizza. Slice and serve.


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