Recipe: British Asparagus, Ricotta & Pancetta Pizza

Lancashire Telegraph: Recipie: British Asparagus, Ricotta & Pancetta Pizza Recipie: British Asparagus, Ricotta & Pancetta Pizza

BRITISH asparagus is just coming into season and TV chef Valentine Warner has come up with the delicious teatime treat for the family which take less than half an hour to make.

British Asparagus, Ricotta & Pancetta Pizza (Makes 2 medium pizzas, serving 4 each) For the dough: 250ml tepid water
1 tsp caster sugar
1 x 7g sachet easy blend dried yeast
300g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
1 heaped tsp flaked sea salt
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil for greasing
For the topping:
1 tbsp olive oil
1 clove of good hard garlic (no green shoots)
300ml tinned chopped tomatoes
½ tsp salt
½ tsp sugar
200g ricotta
2 bundles of British asparagus, trimmed and cut into 4 lengthways, place the asparagus in a little olive oil & salt until well-greased
1 large handful of dried oregano leaves
A handful of pecorino cheese
12 thin slices of pancetta
Olive oil for drizzling
Base: Pour the water into a large bowl and gently stir in sugar and yeast. Put aside for 10 minutes until the water has a thick beige foam on top.

Add half the flour and stir gently with a wooden spoon. Clumps in the flour will soon disappear.

Gradually add half the remaining flour and continue stirring. Add the remaining flour and salt, crushing with your fingers.

Mix with clean hands. As soon as the dough forms a soft, spongy ball, turn it out on to a floured surface and knead for 8 minutes. The dough should be smooth, elastic and not sticking to your hands.

Put the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover loosely with oiled clingfilm and leave in a warm place until doubled in size (45-60 minutes).

Preheat the oven to 240°C/475°F/Gas 9.

When the dough has risen turn it out on to a lightly floured surface and knock back with mild blows from your fists.

Tear dough in half and stretch, or flatten with a rolling pin, until the thickness of a £1 coin. Place each pizza base on a lightly floured baking sheet and brush on top with a little oil.

Topping: Gently heat the oil with the garlic and cook gently for 2 minutes, it must not fry and colour.

Add tomatoes, salt and sugar. Simmer briskly for 5 minutes until thickened slightly, getting rid of obviously watery element. Let the sauce cool.

Spread the sauce over each pizza base leaving a clean, narrow margin around the edge.

Spread the ricotta over the sauce, scatter the asparagus spears, then add an enthusiastic grind of black pepper and scatter fresh oregano leaves.

Scatter over the pecorino and arrange the pancetta all over.

Dribble a generous amount of olive oil over the pizza, cook for 12-15 minutes.

Serve immediately.

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