This super-green asparagus pizza is a great way to kick off spring. Pro tip: make a double batch of the parsley-chive pesto to stir into pasta or soup throughout the week.
Locally grown asparagus won't hit farmers' markets for another few weeks, but on Sunday, when I saw these bright green spears all lined up in formation at the grocery store, I just couldn't wait any longer. For this first (albeit preemptive) spring green pizza, I made a pesto out of parsley, chives, garlic, lemon, and pine nuts, scattered fresh chopped asparagus on top, and threw on some nutty, fruity Appenzeller cheese.
The idea was to make something that tasted like spring, with grassy notes and bright green color. If you want to go even greener, swap in pistachios for the pine nuts and chopped spring garlic for the garlic clove. And if Alpine cheese is not your jam, try fresh goat cheese, Parmesan, Cheddar, Gouda, or pecorino instead. Really, just about any cheese would be delicious here.
Looking for other asparagus recipes? Here are a few of my other favorites:
Asparagus Pizza with Parsley-Chive Pesto
- Food processor or mortar and pestle
- Large rimmed baking sheet or baking stone/steel
- Pizza peel (optional)
For the pesto:
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts or unsalted shelled pistachios
- 1 large garlic clove chopped
- ½ cup parsley leaves tightly packed
- ¼ cup chopped fresh chives packed
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil plus more as needed
- Freshly ground black pepper
For the pizza:
- 1 (14- to 16-ounce) ball pizza dough
- 4 ounces nutty Alpine cheese (such as Appenzeller, Gruyere, or Fontina) grated (about 1 cup)
- ½ pound asparagus tough ends snapped off and discarded, spears sliced on the diagonal into 1-inch pieces
- Preheat the oven to 500°F (if using a baking sheet) or as high as it will go (if using a baking stone/steel; place the stone/steel in the oven before you start preheating).
To make the pesto:
- Place the nuts in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Toast the nuts, stirring frequently, until they are just starting to brown in spots, about 2 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat.
- In a food processor or with a mortar and pestle, grind together the garlic, parsley, chives, toasted nuts, sea salt, lemon zest, lemon juice, and the 1/4 cup of olive oil until the mixture is uniform in texture. If the pesto seems too thick to spread on the pizza, stream in a little more oil, a teaspoon at a time, until it reaches your desired texture. Taste it and season with a few grinds of black pepper and more salt as needed.
To make the pizza:
- If you're using a baking stone/steel, turn the oven to Broil on high.
- Stretch or roll out your dough to a 12- to 14-inch circle, then transfer it to an oiled baking sheet or a lightly floured pizza peel (if using a baking stone/steel).
- Spoon the pesto onto the dough and spread it evenly, leaving a 1/2-inch border all around. Sprinkle on half of the cheese, scatter the asparagus evenly over the pizza, and top with the rest of the cheese.
- Transfer the pizza to the oven and bake until the crust is golden and the cheese has browned in spots—8 to 10 minutes on the baking sheet, 6 to 8 minutes on the baking stone/steel.
- Remove the pizza from the oven, and let it rest for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.