Wild ramps pesto pizza with asparagus and peas

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Pizza was not something that I grew up with. It was my husband who introduced me to pizza when we met in college. While I grew up with Vietnamese food, Vu grew up with American food. I credit him for my love of pizza as well as Italian food. A few years ago, we began making pizza at home and started experimenting with seasonal ingredients to expand our arsenal of pizza recipes. It’s been a very rewarding journey in pizza making. 

Today, we’re sharing one of our favorite vegetarian pizzas--wild ramps pesto pizza with asparagus, peas, and ricotta. Everything is homemade from the pizza dough, to ricotta cheese, and wild ramps and hazelnut pesto. All the flavors marry together and sing of spring.

Wild ramps pesto pizza

8 oz pizza dough
Semonia or all purpose flour for dusting
½ cup shredded mozzarella
¼ cup homemade ricotta cheese (recipe here)
2 tbsps wild ramp and hazelnut pesto (recipe here)
¼ cup fresh/frozen peas
5-6 spears of young asparagus
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
4 chive blossoms

1. Place a pizza stone in the oven and preheat the oven to 475 degrees F. It will take about 15 minutes for the pizza stone to heat up.

2. Lightly dust a clean work surface with semolina or flour. Roll out the pizza dough into a rough 12x6 inch oval about ¼ inch thick.

3. Transfer the pizza base to a piece of parchment paper.

4. Prick the base with a fork, place the pizza on the lowest rack, and bake for 7 minutes. Leaving the pizza on the lowest rack helps crisp the base.

5. Remove pizza base from the oven. Spread the wild ramp pesto evenly over the base leaving a ¼ inch border.

6. Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella over the pesto. Top with asparagus and peas. Dot the top with ricotta cheese. Season with sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

7. Transfer the pizza onto the heated stone and bake for 10 minutes or until golden and crisp.

8. When done, transfer the pizza onto a serving plate and top with cut chive blossoms.

Fava bean tahini and pepita dip

Monday, June 6, 2016

Fava bean, or broad bean, is one of my favorite spring ingredients and only available for a short period from mid March through May. They’re an ancient member of the pea family with a delicious nutty and buttery taste. It takes a bit of work to get to the edible part--shelled, blanched, then removed from their tough outer skin--but completely worth it. 

Although most people like to make a fava bean soup, add them to salad and risotto, and even a tart but I love making a fava bean dip for flatbread and vegetables or as a spread on toast with soft boiled eggs. 

This fava bean is quite versatile so use your culinary imagination and enjoy!

Fava bean, tahini, pepita dip

¾ cup fresh fava beans
½ cup roasted pepitas plus extra for garnish
1 tbsp tahini
2 tbsps lemon juice
6 tbsps olive oil and extra for drizzling
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 tbsp roasted sesame seeds for garnish

1. Remove the fava beans from the shell.

2. Bring a small saucepan to a boil over medium heat. Add the fava beans to the boiling water and cook for 5-7 minutes depending on the size of the fava beans.

3. Drain the fava beans and add the fava beans to a bowl of cold water.

4. Drain again and pop each bean out of its skin and set aside.

5. In a food processor, add the fava beans, pepitas, tahini, lemon juice, and garlic and process for 2 minutes until the mixture resembles a course paste.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

6. Remove the fava bean mixture and place it in a serving bowl. 7.Drizzle with extra olive oil, sprinkle with sesame seeds and extra pepitas, and serve with vegetables as a dip or as a spread on toast with soft boiled eggs.