Get ready for spring dinners with this spring pizza with pesto, grilled asparagus and fresh lemon zest and basil, that can be made on a pizza stone or outdoor grill.
If you asked me what my last pizza on earth would be, well it would have red sauce on it, no question about that. I’m a Brooklyn girl, so thin red sauce pizza is in my blood. I grew up with very strict orders that have been since engraved into my being. Thin crust, red sauce and don’t even think about putting pineapple on it. Ever. Nope.
Though once in a blue moon, I crave a good cheese pizza. This spring pizza with pesto and asparagus hit that spot.
Perfect for a spring or summer dinner, it’s light enough and might I add, fabulous cold too. I mean, who doesn’t love cold pizza. And, bonus, can be whipped in minutes.
I’ve talked about pizza before, but just to reiterate a few of my favorite pizza tips:
- Whether you are using a pizza stone/steel, grill or baking sheet..get it very hot! I like to leave the oven on at least 500 degrees Fahrenheit to be sure the pizza will cook fast and evenly.
- Let your dough rest at room temperature. Truth: we buy our pizza dough. It’s a few dollars and saves time of making your own. But stores often keep it refrigerated, so place your dough on a floured plate or cutting board for at least 30 minutes before rolling out. If you do want the adventure of making your own pizza dough, here’s a wonderful homemade pizza dough recipe.
- Thin edges or bubbly edges? I like a thin crust pizza that has a nice crusted, bubbly edge..if that makes sense? If you like it all evenly thin, then use a rolling pin to knock out all the air bubbles when rolling. If you like a more puffed edge like I do, then use your fingers and hands to stretch the dough out.
How did we make this pizza so incredibly quick to whip up? Well thanks to grilling weather, we are grilling everything and batches of it, including asparagus. The one here is leftover grilled asparagus from dinner the night before, but you can use any leftover grilled vegetables you have.
Also <gasp> I used store bought pesto, but if you insist on making your own, I have a fabulous homemade basil almond pesto that would be amazing here!
And if you’re looking for another way to use up seasons bounty, this flatbread pizza with market vegetables looks outstanding!
Spring Pizza with Pesto, Asparagus and Fresh Lemon Zest
- 1 pound pizza dough at room temperature
- 1/2 cup pesto
- 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
- 8 ounces buratta cheese or 2 medium sized balls of cheese
- Grilled asparagus hard ends removed
- Olive oil
- Zest of 1 lemon
- Small bunch of fresh basil leaves
- Red pepper flakes for garnish
- Flaky sea salt for garnish
- Pre-heat oven to 500 degrees for 15 minutes and if using a pizza stone, place it in the oven so it gets hot. You can also make this on the grill.
- If using the whole pound of dough, you can either divide it into 2 balls for medium sized pizza or roll it out into 1 large pizza.
- Roll out pizza dough to about 10-12 inches in diameter, by pinching your fingers in the middle and using your hands to roll out the dough. If it bounces back, it may still be a bit too cold so leave it at room temperature for a few more minutes.
- Once dough is rolled out, spread a thin layer of pesto between the 2 pizzas and top with spoonfuls of ricotta cheese. Tear off pieces of buratta cheese and scatter them on the pizza along with asparagus and a drizzle of olive oil.
- Cook pizzas on pizza stone for about 7-8 minutes until the edges bubble up and garnish with lemon zest, basil leaves, red pepper flakes and coarse sea salt.