The best paragraph I’ve ever read about spring goes like this:
“When spring came, even the false spring, there were no problems except where to be happiest. The only thing that could spoil a day was people and if you could keep from making engagements, each day had no limits. People were always the limiters of happiness except for the very few that were as good as spring itself.”
Ernest Hemmingway from A Moveable Feast
With this pizza, I want to celebrate spring as innovatively as Ernie described spring without really describing spring. I am not going to be a limiter of happiness with this pie! It’s got the best of spring-aspargus and the best cured pork I’ve ever tasted called “Spallacia” which is from La Quercia in Iowa. It is a shoulder of pure-bred Berkshire pork that has been acorn-fed for months. I will probably make some mad by saying that this is better than any Prosciutto di Parma that I’ve used here in the States. I’ve also used the best Stanislaus Valorosso tomato filets from California, Parmigiano Reggiano and some excellent fresh mozzarella.
I wanted to show you a video of one component of the pizza that won Best Non-traditional Pizza in the Midwest and third in the Non-traditional finals at the International Pizza Expo in Las Vegas. Here is Patty Nally creating chitarra-cut mozzarella noodles during a very busy lunch rush. She first made the thin sheets from fresh curd. A chitarra is one of the oldest pasta forming devices and is an important tool of the Abruzzi region. It was originally made in 1800 in the town of Chieti. I will take this linguine and wrap my roasted asparagus later.
Now, lets make this pie.
Take one, seven ounce dough ball from the Easy Dough Recipe on this blog and hold at room temperature to proof.
For the toppings:
(Following the picture from top left clockwise)
4 thin slices of fatty spallacia
2 tablespoons of grated Parmigiano Reggiano
5 asparagus spears
6 to 10 strands of mozzarella linguine
2 to 3 large stanislaus tomatoes pulled apart
5 ounces of fresh mozzarella
one bunch (5 leaves) fresh basil
sea salt and extra virgin olive oil to taste
Preheat oven to 500 or as close as you can get it.
Snap asparagus to fit a 12 inch pizza. Using a vegetable peeler, run it along the asparagus stalk to take the tough outer skin off. Coat asparagus with olive oil and either roast for seven minutes in a 450 degree oven. (I did this and overcooked them as you can see,) or sautee the asparagus for seven to 10 minutes. Cool and wrap with mozzarella linguine.
Grab a few pear tomatoes from the can and insert your finger into the center of the tomato. pull you finger down to seperate lengthwise letting the seeds and tomato juice flow out. Squeeze gently and set in colander to drain.
Make a pizza round, put on pizza screeen, then add the Parmesan, basil, tomato filets and mozzarella chunks. Bake in the oven until crisp and beyond golden (about 8 to 12 minutes.)
While still hot, add the spallacia and watch the magic of this fabuous meat depositing the delicious fatty gravy all over the cheese. This is truly an “Oh my…(insert god that you are comfortable with here) moment! Check the above…melting, melting, gone!
Add the asparagus and basil for garnish. Seriously, you don’t have to add olive oil or salt to this pie because the spallacia is enough heaven for one pizza!