Divine Dining: Smoked gouda, asparagus and prosciutto pizza

Apr. 10, 2013 @ 05:01 AM

When I was a seminary student, there was a weekly ritual I adored. A group of women gathered in my miniscule apartment to watch our favorite television show on a Tuesday evening and chat about everything from theology to relationships to the questionable footwear of a certain professor (always Birkenstock sandals, even in winter!).

This gathering had humble beginnings, with just a few of us huddled in front of my television the size of a laptop computer, snacking on popcorn and Fresca. Fast forward a couple of years, and this Tuesday ritual had blossomed into a glorious event each week: nearly a dozen women clustered around that same diminutive television of mine as my coffee table groaned under the weight of amazing fare. Fresca had been abandoned for rich Chianti and refreshing Pinot Grigio; the popcorn was discarded in favor of a variety of homemade treats and delicious cheeses. My friend Elizabeth made the most glorious melt-in-your-mouth chocolate éclairs, and I would often make this simple, but elegant, pizza.

It has all of the glamor of a dinner party, can be cut into petite portions perfect for appetizers, and takes a mere 20 minutes to put together. Each spring, when asparagus begins making an appearance in the grocery store and farmer’s market, I crave this pizza, partly because it is just so light and delicious, and partly because it always reminds me of those wonderful friends of mine who gathered so faithfully each Tuesday evening.

Gather your favorite people together for no reason at all and make this simple and stylish pizza, creating a little ritual of your own. SNbS

Smoked gouda, asparagus and prosciutto pizza

Serves 4 as a meal or 8 as an appetizer.

Ingredients:

1 lb. store bought pizza dough

3 T extra-virgin olive oil

3 oz. thinly sliced prosciutto (Italian ham), cut into thin strips

1-1/4 c. ricotta cheese

1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese

1 pound thin asparagus, trimmed and halved

6 oz. (2 c.) grated smoked Gouda cheese

salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Brush a lined baking pan with 3 T of the olive oil. Place the pizza dough on the pan and stretch nearly to the edges of the pan. Spread ricotta on the dough, then season well with an even sprinkling of salt and pepper on top. Sprinkle Parmesan and Gouda on top, then nestle the asparagus pieces in the cheese, in a diagonal pattern. Brush the edges of the dough with more olive oil. Bake until just beginning to brown, about 15 minutes. Top with prosciutto and bake an additional 5 minutes, until crust is golden brown and prosciutto is crispy. 

Share your beloved recipes with me at heraldfood@gmail.com.

The Rev. Whitney Wilkinson is pastor of Cameron Presbyterian Church.