Reach for a spring pizza for a quick meal

  • Article by: MEREDITH DEEDS , Special to the Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 12, 2014 - 3:14 PM

Time to look forward to the season of fresh vegetables and bright flavors.

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Asparagus, Prosciutto and Pine Nut Pizza from Meredith Deeds, Special to the Star Tribune

Photo: Meredith Deeds • Special to the Star Tribune,

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I promised myself I wasn’t going to write about how long the winter has been and how I’m mentally planning a trip somewhere warm. No, that territory has been well covered, if not by me, then by every person you’ve made contact with over the past two months. I’ve even shared my weather dismay with the telemarketer who had the misfortune of calling right after I had to slog my trash cans from the street to the garage through 6 inches of snow.

But I refuse to dwell on it any longer. Instead, I’m choosing to ignore the polar vortex and move directly into spring — at least in my kitchen. The act of cooking light, brightly flavored dishes can sometimes help bring me out of the winter doldrums. So this week I’m reaching for sugar-snap peas, lemons, asparagus and anything else that reminds of me spring, which is what inspired this week’s recipe for Asparagus, Prosciutto and Pine Nut Pizza.

Pizza is one of my favorite family meals, and I know we’re not the only ones who feel this way. Most families have the pizza delivery guy’s number programmed into their cellphones. I did, too, until I realized how quick and easy it is to make at home. Not only can I make a pizza faster than the delivery guy can get to my door, but my homemade pizza will taste better, have higher quality ingredients and be far healthier than whatever comes inside a delivery box.

I start by making a whole-wheat dough, which is surprisingly good and worth a try, even for those who are dedicated white-flour cooks. It takes just a few minutes to assemble the ingredients and pulse them in a food processor. Then I let the dough rest while I’m preheating the oven (which, by the way, also warms up the kitchen nicely, playing into my whole “winter is so over” mantra).

I use that time to pull together whatever I’m putting on top of the crust. In this case, it’s fresh asparagus, tossed with a touch of olive oil and lemon zest, along with paper-thin slices of prosciutto, pine nuts and a sprinkling of both mozzarella and Parmesan cheese. The pizza is so flavorful it barely makes it to the dinner table.

So think springtime in the kitchen, where you can control the temperature, at least in your oven.

 

Meredith Deeds of Edina is the author of “Everyday to Entertaining” and “The Big Book of Appetizers.” Reach her at meredith@meredithdeeds.com. Follow her on Twitter @meredithdeeds.

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