White Pizza with Asparagus, Chestnut Mushrooms, and Thyme
Forging a love for outdoor cooking comes from a connection with your environment, equipment, and ingredients. Chef, award-winning author, food writer, and Friend of Ooni Gill Meller employs these three tenets with this earthy mushroom, asparagus, and thyme pizza, cooked with his Ooni Karu 16, in the green forests surrounding his Dorset home.
Sourcing good-quality (or even better, foraged) ingredients like fresh, earthy asparagus spears and wild chestnut mushrooms is key to the delicate balance of flavours in this pizza (if you can’t find chestnut mushrooms, buttons will do too). Tender onions, plucked thyme leaves, and a crack of black pepper finish this pizza off. And while Gill enjoys a wood-fired technique, this pizza is just as delicious cooked with either gas or coal.
If you’re interested to learn more about Gill’s approach to using plants in everyday cooking, check out his latest cookbook, Root, Stem, Leaf, Flower,
Makes 2x 12” pizzas
30 minutes (excluding dough prep)
Makes two 12-inch pizzas
For the dough
Two 250g classic pizza dough balls
For the toppings
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra to finish
2 large onions halved and finely sliced
Pinch sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Bench flour for the pizza
12 spears of asparagus (about 1 lb or ½ kg)
4 to 5 chestnut mushrooms, thinly sliced
4 to 6 sprigs of thyme
1 knob of butter
- Prepare your dough ahead of time.
- Fire up your Ooni Pizza Oven. While it preheats, place your skillet pan inside with the butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil. When it starts bubbling, add the onions and a good pinch of salt and black pepper.
- Cook, stirring regularly, for 15 to 20 minutes, (or until the onions are soft and just beginning to caramelise at their edges). If the onions are cooking too quickly, remove the pan and finish cooking in the residual heat. Set to one side.
- Lightly dust your peel with flour or semolina. Stretch the dough ball out to 12 inches on the peel.
- Evenly scatter half the tender onions on the dough. Repeat with half the mushrooms and asparagus.
- Portion half the cheese then tear off and scatter fingertip-sized pieces evenly on the dough. Garnish with the leaves of 2 to 3 plucked thyme sprigs. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
- Check that the temperature on the stone is between 400 to 450˚C (752°F to 842˚F). Slide the pizza into the oven and cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until crisp, golden, and bubbling.
- Remove the pizza to a cutting board, and trickle over a little more olive oil. Slice into 6 and serve.
- Repeat for the remaining pizza and serve.