Wednesday, June 04, 2008

White Cheese Pizza with Ramps aka RAMPAGE!!!

It started as another spring day at the Prospect Park Greenmarket. The sun was out, the dogs were adorable, and the strollers were out in full force. All was right in the world. I just couldn't shake this weird feeling in my stomach, though. My legs started to shake. My hands started looking dry and scaly… and maybe a little green. There was an unmistakable odor of garlicky leeks in the air. No. It couldn't be. Not again.


OMGRAMPS!!!! (An abbreviation I also use when my grandpa tells a racy joke)

After punching a few buildings and eating some tourists, I ran home with my bounty. But what to do with these coveted veggies? A while back, I made an amazing leek and ricotta pizza with walnuts that I thought would be perfect for my precious ramps. Alas, my local cheesemonger was all out of ricotta. Then I remembered the old adage: Necessity breeds awesomeness.



Mozzerella Cheeeeeese


Ramp Pizza with Fresh Mozzerella

Yum. At the time, I really didn't see what all the crazy fuss about ramps was, but their flavor finds its way into your taste memory and stays. I'm pretty sure this will be the last thing I taste before I die, and that makes me very, very happy.

White Cheese Pizza with Ramps (based on the recipe from April's Food & Wine)

1/4 c. whole-wheat flour
3/4 c. all-purpose flour, plus additional for rolling
1 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 c. plus 2 tbsp. warm water

10 ramps (or scallions or spring onions)
Extra-virgin olive oil, for brushing
Water-packed fresh mozzarella, cut into thin 1/8 in. slices
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 c. freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

1) In a stand mixer with a dough hook, mix the flours, yeast, salt, and sugar. While the mixer is running, add the oil and water. Continue to knead on low speed until the dough is firm and smooth, about 10 minutes. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a damp towel and let stand in a warm spot until the dough has doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours.

2) Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.

3) Bring a medium saucepan of salted water to a boil. Blanch the ramps until they are bright green, but still al dente, about 1 minute. They are going to smell insane. Drain, pat dry, and cut into 1-inch lengths.

4) Punch the dough (yes! violence!) and transfer to a lightly floured work surface. Roll out the dough until it is about a 10-12 inch shape. You can roll it into a round shape, but I prefer my pizza to be sort of oval or rectangular, like a flatbread. It's, um, rustic or something. Brush the dough with olive oil, and place the mozzarella slices in an even layer. Scatter the blanched ramps on top and season lightly with salt and pepper. Finish with the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.

5) Bake on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper (or use a pizza stone if you have one) for about 8 minutes, until the cheese has melted and the crust is crisp and browned.

6) Stuff your face.

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