The first day of school for my kids was Tuesday. It's funny how that jittery feeling you had as a child comes right back, even though you're not actually the one going to school. As a parent, that feeling comes back for different reasons...will my children have a good year, what challenges will they face and will I be prepared to help them through it? The first day of school always brings a tear to my eye because it's a painful reminder that our kids are growing up much faster than we'd like them to.
It's always strange coming home on that first day to a quiet house with the dogs staring at you like, what the heck just happened and where did everyone go?
I'm completely out of my routine and I don't function very well like that. With so many things piled up on my "to do list"from summer, I did what any rationale person would do in that situation...turn on the oven. Yes, I know, crazy. I should have been out running those errands or at least have gone to the gym...any place other than my kitchen! But as any parent/food blogger knows, whenever you have that rare moment to create something, you go for it. Besides, I knew I'd be drowning in school forms and letters for the next week and a half!
I've really been dying to get this recipe out all summer and with figs in their prime right now, I knew I couldn't wait any longer. I use a multigrain store-bought pizza dough for this recipe to make it simple. (Tip: Give the dough a few hours at room temperature to soften and rise a bit before rolling it out.)
The asparagus is roasted in the oven with a bit of garlic salt and olive oil. I prepare the figs by washing and quartering them. I used mission figs for this recipe, but you can use any type of fig your local market may have that week. The ricotta cheese adds a creamy base and allows the freshness of the flavors to shine. The balsamic glaze is so unbelievably rich, naturally sweet, yet slightly acidic and is made by simply reducing balsamic vinegar over the stove in a small saucepan. The result is a thick, syrup-like consistency. You can easily prepare the glaze while the pizza dough and asparagus is cooking in the oven. The taste is so magnificent, there's really nothing like it.
The leftover slices freeze nicely, and are great for popping in the oven for a quick lunch, let's say...while the kids are in school ; ). You'll love the beautiful colors and fresh flavors of this exceptionally special pizza.
*To Make Balsamic Glaze:
Heat 1 cup of good quality balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then simmer until about one-quater of liquid remains and has turned to a thick syrup consistency. You will only use a very small amount for this recipe, so save the rest for drizzling over vegetables, meats or my personal favorite, vanilla ice-cream!
Roasted Asparagus and Fig Pizza with Thyme and Balsamic Glaze
- 1 package multi-grain pizza dough *left out at room temp at least 2 hours in a bowl with clean kitchen towel over top
- 1 bunch asparagus hard ends trimmed off and then sliced into 2 inch pieces
- 1 cup fresh mission figs but any kind will do quartered
- all purpose flour for dusting
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- balsamic glaze for drizzling * see above
- 15 oz. container whole milk ricotta cheese you will use about 10 oz of it, more if you like heavier amounts of cheese
- extra virgin olive oil for drizzling**optional
- ½ teaspoon garlic salt
- Preheat oven to 400 F.
- Lightly oil a rectangular baking sheet.
- Lightly flour a rolling pin and the surface where you will roll out the dough into roughly the size of the baking sheet.
- Gently transfer rolled dough onto the oiled baking sheet.
- Bake dough for about 20-25 min until crust is golden brown and set aside and allow to cool slightly.
- In meantime, on another small baking sheet, toss asparagus with a few drizzles of oil, garlic salt and pepper and roast for about 5-6 min until slightly brown and crispy (depending on thickness of your asparagus, times may vary).
- Once dough has slightly cooled, smooth on ricotta cheese with a large spoon or spatula.
- Top with roasted asparagus, figs, and thyme.
- Drizzle lightly with balsamic glaze (and a bit of olive oil over top** optional).