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Asparagus and Pinenut Pizza

These pizzas are quick and easy because they're made not with the traditional yeasted pizza dough but with Middle Eastern breads. If you prefer, try making your own Pita breads. The recipe for Middle Eastern Round bread (Pita) yields delicious pizza bases. Topped with home-made pinenut sauce, asparagus, and melting mozzarella cheese, they're sure to please.

YIELD: four 13 cm (5-inch) pizzas or two 25 cm (10-inch) pizzas

1/4 cup (60 ml) grated parmesan cheese
250 g (about 9 ounces) grated mozzarella cheese
1 tablespoon (20 ml) olive oil
1 tablespoon (20 ml) pinenuts
1 tablespoon (20 ml) olive oil, extra.
1 cup (40 ml) fresh basil leaves, packed
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) yellow asafoetida powder
1 teaspoon (5 ml) salt
2 tablespoons (40 ml) grated parmesan cheese
1 bunch asparagus (250 grams, or about 9 ounces)
2 large or 4 small Middle Eastern breads
1 small red pepper, chopped

1. Heat 1 tablespoon (20 ml) of olive oil in a small saucepan over moderate heat. When hot, stir in the pinenuts and saute them until they're lightly browned. Remove them undrained from the pan and empty them into a blender or food processor along with the extra oil, the basil leaves, asafoetida, salt, and 2 tablespoons (40 ml of parmesan cheese. Process until smooth.

2. Cut the asparagus into 2.5 cm (1-inch) lengths and boil or steam until tender. Drain, rinse under cold water, and drain again.

3. Spread the breads with the pinenut sauce and top with asparagus, diced pepper, and cheeses. Place the pizzas on oven trays and bake in moderate 180C/355F oven until the pizzas are golden brown.