It’s about time spring made its much-anticipated debut in New York City. Temperatures are just starting to creep up into the 40s, and dare I jinx it, but we may even have a 50-degree day on the horizon. With a change of the seasons comes new beginnings, and I’ve been keeping extra busy with a fun and challenging weeknight endeavor that’s way outside my comfort zone of cheese, carbs and chocolate.
Fire up those Excel engines because yours truly is wading her way through the wide world of Business Fundamentals & Tactics, the first-ever business program organized by New York City entrepreneur society General Assembly along with knowledge partner McKinsey & Company. Long story short, I’ve gone from crunching on Homemade Samoas Girl Scout Cookies while dealing with numbers in the form of teaspoons and cups, to crunching out cumulative revenue formulas while building financial models to map key metrics of proposed businesses.
I love a good challenge and am excited to be learning critical concepts about business models, market analysis, quantitative research methods and so much more. My fellow students and I are chronicling our journeys over on Tumblr, so check out my Course Reflections blog for more details. (Note: My case study for the course is based on the USPS business model, so if mail delivery really gets you going, prepare to fall in love.)
Know what else is new? This recipe for easy homemade Asparagus and Ricotta Pizza, which just about screams “spring” with every creamy, veggie-packed bite. Shaving the asparagus into thin ribbons makes for a quick bake time, and the ribbons also lend themselves well in salads starring leafy greens or your favorite grains. But there’s one more touch to take this pizza to all new homemade heights …
Ricotta lovers rejoice! You can now whip up batch after batch of your favorite cheese with just two ingredients and a few simple tips on technique. Grab 8 cups whole milk and 2 cups buttermilk and then fire up the flames for easy, cheesy homemade ricotta that’s perfect for spreading atop pizza, slathering on crostini or layering in lasagna.
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Asparagus and Ricotta Pizza
Yield: 1 (12-inch) pizza
Prep Time: 20 min
Cook Time: 12 min
1 pound store-bought or homemade pizza dough
Cornmeal, for dusting baking sheet
1 1/3 cups fresh ricotta
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 pound asparagus (medium thickness)
Lemon, for garnishing
Preheat the oven to 500ºF.
Roll out the pizza dough on a lightly floured surface until it is roughly 12 inches wide and 1/4-inch thick. (See Kelly's Notes.)
Invert a baking sheet and sprinkle it liberally with cornmeal. Transfer the dough to the baking sheet then brush the dough lightly all over with olive oil.
Combine the ricotta, parmesan cheese, garlic and parsley. Season the cheese mixture with salt and pepper to taste.
Using a vegetable peeler, shave the asparagus length-wise into thin ribbons. (There's no need to remove the tough ends first, as you can use them to more easily grip the asparagus as you peel them. Just make sure not to shave off any of the tougher part.) In a small bowl, toss the ribbons with 2 teaspoons of olive oil.
Spread the cheese mixture all over the pizza, leaving a 1/2-inch border around the edges, then evenly distribute the asparagus ribbons on top of the cheese.
Bake the pizza for 10 to 12 minutes, rotating it half-way through, until the crust is fully baked and golden brown. Remove the pizza from the oven to a cutting board, drizzle it with fresh lemon juice, and slice and serve.
The pizza dough can be rolled into any desired shape, including round, rectangular or free-form, for a more rustic look.
You can use a pizza stone in place of the inverted baking sheet.
Oven temperatures and positions may vary, so make sure you are baking your pizza on the middle rack and check it frequently.
Recipe by Kelly Senyei of JustaTaste.com.