Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Spring Eats: Asparagus Pizza with Summers Past Pesto

If I haven't made it clear that we LOVE our freezer, I want to make that clear now.  I don't know where we'd be without all the goodies we store up in our over-sized chest freezer.

I'm fairly certain some people thought we were crazy when we went out and bought a chest freezer -- primarily because this freezer wasn't the smallest one on the market. Nope -- we have 20+ cubic feet of gorgeous freezer space, complete with storage bins that we can lift in and out. We went with a chest freezer since they were more efficient than an upright, but we'd heard horror stories from others who claim to have "lost" things in the bottom of their chest freezers.  So, right off the bat, we developed an organization system.  We bought a few plastic storage bins that fit into the freezer and help us to organize the foods by "type" -- tomatoes/sauces in one, meats in another, veggies in yet another. We also created a freezer list, which lives upstairs.  It's been hit-or-miss lately, but the idea is that we keep the list up to date -- adding new items when we put them into the freezer, and crossing items off when we use them up.  Works pretty well, and it keeps us eating locally -- even in the dark days of winter.

One of the items that makes me glow when I think about our freezer is... pesto.  OH, yeah.  When summer hits, you'll find us growing plenty of basil in our garden.  Heck, we practically eat the stuff out of hand.  But, we also love to use the leaves to make plenty of pesto -- for storage.  Basil, garlic, toasted pine-nuts, and a bit of oil -- and we're set (I purposely leave the cheese out when I'm freezing pesto).  I put pre-measured quarter-cup portions into small storage containers or baggies -- and pack them all into the freezer for that dreary day in January when we could all use a bit of a pick-me-up.
I just used up the last of our stash of last summer's pesto a few nights ago. It was getting late and we both were starving.  I had a bunch of fresh spring asparagus on hand... and a freshly fed bowl of sourdough starter.  So, we decided to whip up a super simple pizza.
You don't even need a recipe for this one if you've got some pesto and a bit of dough on hand.  First, preheat your oven to 500 degrees (or higher, if your oven is capable). Slice your asparagus in half lengthwise -- and then into 1 inch pieces.  Then roll out your pizza dough onto a piece of parchment paper.  Spread it with a thin layer of pesto, and then top it with a handful of mozzarella cheese. 
Add the asparagus.  And then another layer of cheese.  Then sprinkle with a couple tablespoons of basil and oregano (fresh or dried).  Bake for 20 minutes -- or until the pizza dough is crisp and the cheese speckled with brown.
Voila! Simple weeknight pizza that tastes a suspiciously like last summer.

Sourdough pizza crust

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17 comments:

  1. What a great idea! Now if only I had a garden larger than my windowsill where I could grow basil.....mmmm LOVE asparagus on pizza!

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  2. Oh my, that looks amazing. I would love this pizza.

    Unfortunately, I just have a small freezer, so it doesn't have much more than chilli, bolognaise, soya mince, rhubarb, ice cream and ice cubes in it. I could probably fit some pesto in there though :)

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  3. Let's get serious. You guys rock.

    I just showed this to my co-workers. (they are drooling)

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  4. Wow, that seriously looks amazing, and what a great way to use up some freezer food. I actually think I have all the ingredients. It's nice to know someone else cherishes their freezer as much as we do. I, too, freeze a bunch of pesto and dough for later. My BF would be so jealous of your freezer though, he is always complaining that ours is too small (so am I!).

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  5. I'm eating a pesto scrambled egg sandwich at my desk while i read this... trying to finish off the pesto from last season so I can make space in the freezer for some icecream. I cannot tell you how jealous I am of you chest freezer!

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  6. If I had enough room for such a freezer, I would most definitely have one in my apartment. Not that I let having a normal sized freezer stop me from hoarding pesto. I still have TONS left over from last summer that I need to use. And this pizza looks like just the way to use it.

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  7. This pizza looks gorgeous! I am so looking forward to buying one of these freezers as well. We are going to need it with the garden we have planned for this summer!!! Pesto is awesome. My dad taught me the trick of freezing it in ice cube trays and then popping out one or two cubes when you need it.

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  8. My two loves: pizza and pesto! I will definitely have to try this recipe. Also, I've never thought about freezing pesto to use after the summer. I usually just eat it all. This summer, I will be certain to save some for later!

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  9. O delicious! And what a great idea on your freezer. We are contemplating getting one as well but haven't figured out where to put it... But that pizza just looks gorgeous with the pesto and asparagus!

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  10. I missed this yesterday... you are probably "pizza'd out"! (If that is possible...)

    I think my freezer is the same as yours, but 5 cu. ft. smaller... and not as beautifully organized. I have these fantasies of creating a notebook that I obsessively use to record what goes in and out of it (them, actually, since I have another above the fridge freezer in the basement, too! Our kitchen fridge came with the house when we moved in, so we have *ample* storage space...)

    I've been using up the frozen pesto too, lately (there was 3 cubes in that quinoa salad we had last night), since I tend to hoard it until just before basil season. Your pizza looks great - and if I get off this Lahey kick, and get some sourdough started, I will try this dough!

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  11. I have freezer envy--and pizza envy!
    Just ran out of last year's pesto...so I guess I'll add pesto envy:)

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  12. Great looking pizza! We love our freezer too. We actually started with a small chest but upgraded to a large upright this year since we started buying things like 1/4 of a pig.

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  13. I always label and date what goes into the freezer, but....that's about it and then I go off the rails. I try to do a semi-annual freezer clean though, and some of the things I find are quite appalling.....mostly because the clean never really ends up being semi-annual after all. For example, I found a bacon wrapped meatloaf (YUM!!) which had been made on March 8, 2009 (NOT YUM!!) so.....yeah. I have freezer organization envy.

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  14. Tina - Believe me, our system is beyond perfect. Even though we have this idea of keeping things nice and organized, there is that problem of actually doing it regularly. I would say we do a semi-annual clean as well just to get our list up to date.

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  15. if it makes you feel any better, we actually have 2 extra freezers - a chest freezer and an upright. (we had to buy a second when we purchased the pig and 1/2 cow last year.) um, and we have an extra fridge w/ freezer. so technically we have 4 freezers, all in use.

    we've tried multiple ways of organizing, including an inventory... and we always fail. unfortunately the only way we've been able to keep a handle is to take everything out and take stock every few months...

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  16. Nice looking pizza. And thanks for the tip on the freezer storage system.

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  17. Love your freezer! This is one of those "why didn't I think of that?!" recipes - so simple yet it looks amazing. Adding it to my list!

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