Dates pair perfectly in this asparagus pizza with lemon ricotta. Ideal for a fun get together with friends to show off your culinary prowess.
Close to three years ago, my hubby and I had some dear friends over for some food fun and games. My friend loves food just like I do and we often go out to fun restaurants to experience new foods. Since I knew they were coming over, I had to pull out all the stops with the snacks we were going to have. I honestly don’t remember at all I had made for them but they very much loved everything I made.
Fast forward to a few weeks ago, I was doing a LIVE Facebook cooking video and had asked for suggestions as to what the viewers wanted to watch me make live. Well my culinarian friend chimed in and requested that I recreate one of her favorite things I had made for them three years ago. She wanted me to make this amazing Asparagus pizza with dates and lemon ricotta!
I had to think long and hard to remember if I could think of the details about this pizza so I could recreate it. When I had first made this pizza, I had used preserved lemon rind in the ricotta mix. However, I no longer had suitable preserved lemons and had to settle for just plain ol’ lemon zest, which worked out rather well!
I love, love, love, LOVE this pizza because the flavors are so amazing! I hadn’t really been exposed to dates at all growing up, in fact I thought they were weird. However, I finally grew up and tried them. WOW! They are so fantastic. They are wonderfully sweet naturally and are chewy and delicious. They are so amazing in on this pizza because it just transports you into a whole new world of flavor that you aren’t expecting. If you haven’t tried dates before, this needs to be the first recipe to try!
The asparagus is absolutely fantastic in the pizza. You wouldn’t want to ruin with woody ends that are super hard to chew and are fibrous. To properly trim asparagus, hold each spear by both hands with your fingers and snap in half; wherever the asparagus snaps, that’s where the tender part ends. Do this to all of the asparagus and you’ll have perfect spears each time! I pre-roast my asparagus just a touch so that they’re completely done when cooked on top of the pizza. I also prefer to cut my asparagus into bite sized pieces just to make life easier when eating a slice!
In Italy, back when pizzas were being first made, they weren’t smothered with shredded cheese (ain’t nothing wrong with that!) but because of this pure heritage, I wanted to stay close to the roots. Instead of shredded cheese, I spread out a ricotta cheese mixture that had a good lemony flavor, thanks to some lemon zest, that it gave a hint of cheesiness but didn’t overwhelm the beautiful and simple flavors of the rest of the pizza. I also love to spread garlic and oil on the bottom just to give a nice kick of flavor that makes this taste oh so much better!
If you want to watch the LIVE video where I make this, feel free to use this link! Since you’re there, follow my Facebook page and you’ll be notified each time a LIVE cooking video starts! If you would also like to know all of my tips for making the perfect pizza at home, be sure to check out this awesome post!
Do you have any fun food combos that I should know about? Any fun flavors you want to see together on the blog? Leave a comment down below and I’ll be sure to feature it!
- 1 batch pizza dough
- ½ bunch fresh asparagus , trimmed and cut into thirds
- 1/3 cup dates , sliced in 1/2” slices
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon EVOO
- ½ cup ricotta
- 2 each lemons , zested
- To taste salt and pepper
Roast asparagus on a lined sheet pan in the oven set to 350 degrees for about 8 minutes or until tender. Remove from oven to cool. Heat oven to 425 degrees placing a sheet tray in oven or a pizza stone ready to heat up.
Mix together garlic and oil in a small bowl, set aside.
On a cornmeal covered surface, pat out pizza dough to desired shape, making sure that the whole surface is an even thickness. Spread garlic and oil on top with a pastry brush or teaspoon.
In a small bowl, mix together ricotta and lemon zest until well combined. Season with salt and pepper. Spread on top of garlic dough, making sure to leave a small margin all around the pizza.
Top pizza with asparagus and dates evenly.
Place pizza on top of sheet pan or pizza stone and let cook until crust is fully cooked, about 13 minutes. Remove from oven, cut and garnish with grated parmesan and fresh basil.
Here is a link with the pizza dough recipe that I swear by!