Monday, April 30, 2012

This Asparagus, Ham, and Ricotta Pizza Has a Really Nice Personality

That’s what I’d say about this delicious asparagus, ham, and ricotta pizza if I were trying to fix it up on a blind date. Every once in a while I get a craving for a non-tomato sauce, or “white” pizza, and when I do, I’m forced to choose between béchamel and an olive oil base.

I love both styles, but was in the mood for something different, so I decided to use some ricotta and olive oil to make a spread, which I topped with smoked ham, asparagus, white cheddar, and Parmigiano-Reggiano. It tasted great, but I found its appearance to be somewhat unsightly.

I knew the ricotta and olive oil would separate somewhat in the extra hot oven, but I thought with the other cheeses on top, it wouldn’t be noticeable, but as you can see, it was. The good news is, no one seems to mind, and it did taste great. By the way, you can certainly do a less rich, lower cal version by just using seasoned ricotta without the oil.

Anyway, “new pizza ideas” is always a popular food wish, and I hope this ricotta spread inspires lots of pizza experimentation in your kitchen. If you need a pizza dough recipe, I used this great no-knead version, but if you prefer something faster, this Wolfgang Puck-inspired recipe is also a winner. Enjoy!

For the spread:
1/2 cup ricotta
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp cream or milk
2 cloves minced garlic
salt and pepper to taste
red pepper flakes
fresh herbs if so desired
pizza dough for one medium pizza
1 cup asparagus pieces
1/2 cup diced smoked ham
1/2 cup shredded white cheddar
1 tbsp grated Parmigiano-Reggiano as needed

View the complete recipe