Spring has sprung, and so have morel mushrooms. Morels should be cooked before being eaten, and many people enjoy them sauteed in butter with a bit of salt and pepper. I’m all about sauteing mushrooms in butter — and I did that as part of my preparation — but I thought a pizza that showcased the first flavors of spring would be just perfect. Along with morels, the first asparagus is presenting its green, tender shoots. With the warmer weather, Pennyroyal Farm is also back to making their Laychee cheese, the light, fluffy stuff that they make from new milk. To finish off the flavors, this pizza-of-the-spring was put on a “crust” of garlic naan, given a white sauce cover, and graced with some pancetta. It was incredibly delicious. Pair it with Pennyroyal’s sister ranch, Navarro Vineyard’s, Pinot Noir (2011 was a very good year) and toast the fresh, new world.
Morel, Asparagus, and Pancetta Pizza
1 pat of butter
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 cup milk
dash of white pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
1⁄4 cup parmigiano-reggiano cheese, shredded
2 pieces garlic naan
8 asparagus tips
6 pieces of pancetta
3 morels, sliced thinly and sauteed in butter
12 dollops of Laychee cheese (or chevre)
balsamic vinegar (in a spritzer if you have one)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
On the stove top, put milk and butter in a small pot over medium heat. Whisk in flour. Stir until flour is mixed thoroughly. Mix in white pepper and garlic. Add cheese and remove from heat. Whisk until cheese is melted and set aside while you cook the morels.
Place naan on a pizza stone, pizza pan, or cookie sheet. Spread white sauce evenly over each piece. Place pancetta on top, then follow by scattering the asparagus and morels. Dollop each naan with the cheese, placing strategically so each bite will have some gooey goodness.
Put naan pizzas in the oven and cook seven to 10 minutes or until the asparagus begins to brown. After about five minutes of the pizzas being in the oven, spritz the tops with balsamic vinegar.
Cut each pizza in pieces and serve right away.