Whole and Hearty Asparagus Pizza

This delicious whole wheat pizza is a wonderful addition to your spring menu, and works equally well as an hors d'oeuvre or entrée.  It's also a savory, healthy alternative to store-bought pizzas that are loaded with preservatives, sodium and additives. Make it a wonderful, heart-healthy vegetarian pizza by eliminating the bacon; you will still retain depth and complexity of flavor. It gets its name from using whole wheat pizza dough, and its hearty list of ingredients: mushrooms, onions, two cheeses and roasted fresh asparagus spears.  4-6 servings, or more for hors d'oeuvre.
  • 1/2 lb fresh asparagus
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 large sweet onion
  • 4 tbsp butter, divided
  • 1/2 lb mushrooms
  • Whole wheat or white pizza dough
  • Olive oil
  • 5 slices bacon, cooked and cut into small pieces (optional)
  • 6 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 3 tbsp grated or shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2. Spread fresh asparagus on baking sheet with sides. Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper. Drizzle lightly with olive oil. Mix well, using hands. Spread out in single layer. Bake 10 minutes.

3. While asparagus is roasting, slice sweet onion thinly and saute in 1 tbsp of butter until caramelized, about 10 minutes, then set aside.

4. Slice mushrooms; saute in 1 tbsp of the butter until they give up their liquid and are browned, about 10 minutes; set aside. 
5. Prepare the pizza dough by rolling out on a floured surface, transfer to pizza baking sheet brushed lightly with a little olive oil, and brush dough lightly with more olive oil.

6. Cut cooled asparagus into 1-2 inch pieces. Layer ingredients onto dough in this order: caramelized onions, bacon pieces, mushrooms, asparagus (in a pinwheel arrangement, if desired), mozzarella and Parmigiano Reggiano.

7. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 400 degrees, until dough is crusty and browned on edges, and cheese has melted.

Allow to cool 5-10 minutes before serving. Goes really well with a crisp Pinto Grigio or Reisling!

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