Musical Pairing: I Run to You, Lady Antebellum
Contrary to what you might think, pizza in Italy is quite different from here in the States . . . sorry, but I speak the truth here. I was fortunate to spend some time in Italy in 1997 and like a lot of folks, thought that pizza only consisted of pepperoni, sausage, cheese – and lots of it. In fact, upon arriving in Rome, the first thing our group did was to find a restaurant and order pizza. Trouble was, no one but our guide spoke the language and the men-folk in our group weren’t going to ask for help, no-siree-bob, they could handle it all on their own, thank-you-very-much . . . so they ordered what they thought was an extra-large pepperoni pizza . . . but when the waiter brought it to the table . . . it was covered in spicy-hot ‘pepperoncini’ – HAH! What I learned on that trip is that when it comes to pizza, it’s no-holds-barred in Italy – including potato, peppers, fennel, olives, fish and everything in-between – fabulous!
Since then, I’ve created various combinations of pizza, some hugely successful and others, not so much . . . but this Breakfast Pizza lands squarely in the ‘successful’ category. A blend of melty, salty cheeses, layered with roasted asparagus that’s been drizzled in olive oil and top the whole shebang with an egg – seriously . . . it’s the stuff dreams are made of! And just because I can, and just because I wanted to see how far I could push the envelope, I drizzled all that breakfast goodness with a teeny bit of Truffle Oil once it came out of the oven. Are you hungry yet???
BREAKFAST PIZZA W/ASPARAGUS & EGGS
Recipe Created by Smith Bites but I’m sure it’s listed somewhere – if so, please let me know!
Basic Pizza Dough
8-10 spears Fresh Asparagus, roasted
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
¼ Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
¼ Cup Fresh Mozzarella Cheese, sliced
¼ Cup Fontina Cheese, grated (NOTE: Fontina is easier to grate if placed in the freezer for about 15 minutes)
¼ Cup Parmesan Reggiano Cheese, grated
2 Scallions, sliced including a bit of the green (chives are a good substitute as well)
Truffle Oil, optional
How much of each ingredient to use depends on the size of pizza you’re making; we made 2 smaller pizzas, which is reflected in the amounts listed above. Feel free to adjust accordingly. Oh, and if you want bacon or proscuitto with your eggs, just fry it first and crumble onto the pizza before you add your eggs but honestly, I didn’t miss it!
Rinse asparagus spears and snap or cut off the tough, woody ends – somewhere between 1-2 inches of the bottom are tough and although great for compost, they’re not good to eat. Lay spears on a cookie sheet and roast in a pre-heated 425-degree oven for approximately 15 minutes. They should be crisp-tender, not mushy, so if your spears are pencil-thin, the roasting time will be less. Remove from oven and drizzle with approximately 1 Tablespoon of olive oil, add red pepper flakes, salt & pepper, toss and set aside.
In the meantime, divide dough and roll out into the size you want, place on a pizza wheel OR a cookie sheet and lightly brush with olive oil. Starting with the mozzarella, layer the cheeses: mozzarella, fontina, parmesan. Scatter roasted asparagus spears on top of the cheese mixture – I don’t make them all uniform going in the same direction. Crack the eggs onto the pizza in 2 separate areas (since my pizza was serving 2); add sliced green onions, season with salt & pepper.
Bake in a 425-degree oven for approximately 8-10 minutes rotating midway though to ensure even cooking.
SMITH BITES NOTE: We happen to have a pizza stone that I always leave on the floor of the oven; I crank my oven as hot as it will go (550 degrees) for about 30-40 minutes BEFORE I place my pizza on the stone. I reduce the heat to 425-degrees when I’m ready to bake my pizza. This produces a crispy crust and perfect pizza every time!
If you find that your eggs aren’t quite set to your liking, you can move the pizza to the top rack and broil for about 1-2 minutes BUT YOU MUST WATCH CAREFULLY!! The eggs should be soft set with runny yolks!