Pizza for Serious Pizza Lovers


Continuing along this week’s theme of Things Jenny Cooked from Cookbooks While on Assignment, I’d like to present to you one last mind-blowing recipe: Joe Beddia’s Asparagus Pizza with Lemon and Spring Cream from his new book Pizza Camp. I don’t think it should come as a surprise to you that we eat a lot of pizza in our house. Seven years ago, when I was just starting this blog, Jim Lahey was the one to convince me that making it from scratch — dough and all — could be almost as fast and almost always more rewarding than dialing delivery. Pizza was both a family-friendly vehicle to showcase farmer’s market finds as well as an end-of-the-week depository for whatever was left in the fridge. As long as you have some dough defrosted, it’s the easiest thing in the world to roll out, top with cheese (or no cheese) and the last of the vegetables (or charcuterie spread), and call it dinner.

But to be clear, the asparagus pizza recipe below, from Beddia’s Pizza Camp, is not one of these throw-it-together-and-hope-for-the-best weeknight numbers. Beddia, who runs Pizzeria Beddia in Philadelphia did not earn his around-the-block lines by seeking out shortcuts. (For way more info on him and his book, please refer to the full round-up.) This pizza took me more than a day to make from start to finish, mostly because it calls for the dough to ferment in the fridge for 24 hours, a step very much worth taking if you had the foresight to plan for it. But if you didn’t, don’t worry. Even Beddia concedes you can use store-bought dough (he recommends buying one from your local pizzeria) and following his instructions from there. Might I recommend making it this weekend, while the asparagus is still abundant and the weather won’t prohibit you from turning your oven to 500°? Might I also recommend making two of them because the first will go very fast?

Also, a nice little end-of-the-week giveaway: I’m offering a free copy of the book to one commenter at random. Contest ends Saturday, June 10 at noon ET. Good luck! Update: The winner has been notified. Congrats Angela and thanks for playing everyone!


Asparagus, Spring Cream, Onion, Lemon Pizza
From Pizza Camp, by Joe Beddia (reprinted with permission) 

Regarding the asparagus: You need to make sure that you get rid of the woodsy, inedible bottoms. The freshest cut stuff that you find at the farmers’ market is always best. Slice the spears into little coins. The thinner the better.

Related: Beddia’s Nine Rules for the Best Homemade Pizza of Your Life

1 ball of dough (about 1-pound/304 g)
⅔ cup (165 ml) Spring Cream (recipe below)
3 ounces (85 g) fresh mozzarella, pinched into small chunks
2 cups (220 g) shredded low-moisture mozzarella (the kinds that come in bags)
About 2 cups (270 g) chopped fresh asparagus
Fine sea salt
3 tablespoons grated hard cheese
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 lemon wedge
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives

Place your stone on the lowest shelf of your oven, then turn your oven to its highest temperature. Most ovens go to 500°F (260°C) and some to 550°F (287°C). Heat your stone for at least one hour before baking.

If you’re taking your dough out of the fridge, give it about 15 minutes or so to warm up a bit so it will be easier to work with. It should have doubled in size in the fridge. If it hasn’t, let it sit at room temperature, covered with a slightly damp towel, until it does.

Lightly flour your counter and your hands. Flip the dough into the flour bowl so the top side of the dough ball gets dusted first. Flip it once more, making sure that the dough is completely coated. Press the dough down into the flour, then pick it up and place it on the floured countertop.

Pressing your fingers firmly into the dough, start by flattening the center and work your way out toward the edge to make it wider, until it’s about 7 to 9 inches (17 to 23 cm) wide. Pushing down on the dough will release some of the gas and actually begin opening up the dough. Be careful not to disturb the outermost lip. This will eventually become your crust.

The next step is a bit tricky. Your goal is to take this disc of dough and carefully stretch it to about 14 to 16 inches (35.5 to 40.5 cm) without tearing it or creating a hole. I pick it up with floured hands and begin to gently stretch it over my fists, letting gravity do most of the work.

Once you’ve stretched it enough, put the dough back on the counter, making sure there is a generous dusting of flour underneath. Take a few generous pinches of semolina flour and dust your pizza peel. Make sure it’s coated evenly. Gently lift and transfer your dough to the peel. Make sure both your hands and the peel are well-floured. You are now ready to dress your pie.

Cover the dough with the spring cream, then add the mozzarellas. Now I like to add a very liberal amount of asparagus. Season with salt.

Transfer to the oven and bake for 4 minutes. The crust will rise significantly. Then change the oven setting from bake to broil, cooking the pizza from the top down until the crust begins to blister. The residual heat of the stone will continue to cook the bottom. (If your broiler is at the bottom of your oven, skip this step and continue to bake the pizza as described.) I cook all my pizzas until they’re well done, which could take up to 10 minutes total (sometimes less). Just keep checking so you don’t burn it. Look for the cheese to color and the crust to turn deep brown. It may blacken in spots, and that’s okay.

Finish with the grated hard cheese, a drizzle of olive oil, a spritz of fresh lemon juice from the wedge, and the chives.

Spring Cream

Makes about 4 cups
1 handful of basil (10 to 20 leaves)
½ cup (25 g) chopped fresh fennel fronds
½ cup (25 g) chopped fresh chives
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 large clove garlic, pressed or minced
Fat pinch of red pepper flakes
4 cups (960 ml) heavy cream
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black
pepper to taste

Combine all the ingredients in a food processor. Blend until slightly emulsified. It will keep in the refrigerator for about 5 days.

Photo credit: Randy Harris

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154 Comments

kelly Oliver

I’m so excited to make this pizza! The spring cream sauce sounds amazing. Thanks for the chance to win!

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Ruth

This looks delicious! We often make a pizza with lime juice inspired by Berkeley’s Cheese Board Pizza, but have yet to use lemon.

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Margo

I make homemade pizza every Friday night, but it’s more of the quick and easy type. This pizza looks amazing though, and I’d love to see the rest of this book!

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Mandie Segura

I’ve just begun experimenting with homemade pizza with my 3 year old. This sounds like a great resource!

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Ann Conroy

I wonder how much spring cream is needed for 1 pizza. I don’t want to make such a large batch of the cream. Thank you. Looks amazing.

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Liv

2/3 cup of spring cream is needed for one pizza, although it sounds yummy as a herby alternativr to alfredo sauce for pastaa

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MSWR

This looks great! I’d love to mix it up with the pizza I make for my family. Unfortunately, one of my kids doesn’t like pizza, but maybe with some creative topping ideas and a different name, she’ll give it a shot!

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Katie

We make homemade pizza every weekend and I love using a 24 -48 hour dough. This pizza looks amazing!

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Lindsey

Wow! That’s one heavenly looking pizza! I’ll have to add it to the list of new recipes to try. And I picked up Melissa Clark’s new book, based on your recommendation, and can already tell it will be in heavy rotation.

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Nicole

Wow, that sounds amazing! Perfect for a lazy summer evening…I will definitely be making this soon!

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Bonnie

My family and I could not live without pizza. My formerly adventurous 3.5-year-old is going through a very picky phase right now, but she’ll never turn down a slice.

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Anu

All the heart eye emojis for that lead photo. I made shortcut naan mini- pizzas for my kids’ lunchboxes this morning. Must make one from scratch asap.

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TDD

We made this on the grill tonight. But with Jim Lahey’s crust. It was already made from a few days ago. Pizza was great. Grilled the crust for 2 minutes on 1 side, flip for 1 more minute. Then dressed the pizza. Put it back on grill for a minute and a half. Then quick broil for color.

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LeeAnne

My dad’s mother, Giovanna, taught my family how to make a wonderful pizza crust. Pizza, of course, is one of our favorite foods, but we are very picky! This book looks perfect.

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Beth

I got my pizza stone eons ago. It is a great tool for a great many things.

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Melissa Price

Made two batches of Jim Lahey’s pizza crust this morning. His recipe is the first I’ve tried that worked well. Fingers crossed that I didn’t rush it too much! Next time, I’ll be prepared with these toppings–looks amazing!

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Danielle

That pizza looks amazing ! I also got your most recent book ‘How to celebrate everything’ out of the library and I’m loving it so much! Thanks for all you do – and share!

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Cay

Oh man, we make pizza almost every week (dough courtesy of local pizzeria). Would love to have more options in my pocket!

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Laura Reynolds

Looks devine! I’ve been eyeing his book but I just bought Melissa Clark’s and Tartine’s!

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Ashley F

We have homemade pizza night every Friday. Makes dinner easy and I know my kids will eat it!

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Kat

I love to make pizza dough from scratch – makes such a difference! I would eat pizza every day, if I could 🙂

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Sara Gray

I could eat pizza everyday, for every meal. It would be the first thing I’d bring with me on a deserted island.

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Laura

This book would make a great Father’s Day gift!

I cant wait to try this recipe, Jenny.

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Kathleen

The asparagus pizza looks lovely, love to make new different varieties

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Kim

I have a library copy of this book at home and I dread returning it. Joe Beddia’s writing is hilarious and he is so clearly dedicated to such a worthy cause. I have a batch of his dough rising in fridge right now.

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Frankie

I use a vegetable peeler to create long thin asparagus ribbons (draped lavishly over pizza, maybe with an egg on top, but I’d skip a humble egg in favor of the amazing basil-fennel-lemon cream). Asparagus “coins” don’t cook as fast and don’t get as tender with the short cooking time this pizza takes.

One variant on the Spring cream that I often use on pasta is mixing equal parts pesto and sour cream. Could be too rich for this pizza though.

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Patti McConville

Can’t wait to try this pizza! I have cooked through Dinner a Love Story, every recipe has been amazing. Cooking the Pork Ragu for friends tomorrow night!
Thanks!

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Jill

One of my hidden talents is tossing a pizza as that was my high school and college job. Eager to try his recipe! Lemon makes everything better.

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Lyndsee

Oh how fun! I love a good tangy, thin-crusted pizza. Asparagus wouldn’t hurt either.

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Lesley

This looks delicious! The spring cream sounds wonderful and versatile. I just bought some garlic scapes, so I think I’ll add those. Just the name spring cream is lovely!

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Darcie

This looks amazing!! Have been so looking forward for this book to come out!

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Lauren Tomlinson

I love making homemade pizza but I’ve been in a just cheese and pepperoni rut so this looks delicious!

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Kim Usey

I have two little boys and one big boy in this house who fervently believe that pizza is a food group. Have to check this out for horizon-expanding.

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Kathy M

Lime is an interesting idea!
My favorite thing to do with homemade pizza during the summer “garden months” is to sprinkle fresh, chopped basil and rosemary over the pizza when it comes out of the oven. It smells divine and looks beautiful — especially if you combine green and purple basil!

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Britt

Love homemade pizza on the weekend, have a ton of asparagus in the fridge and this will be a great way to use it. Getting going on the dough!

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Anna

This sounds great. We are really serious about homemade pizza in our house and usually make a 24 hour dough but I am always looking for new techniques and tips to up our game.

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Gina

This book is amazing we checked it out at the library and it’s magnificent! We need a bigger pizza stone though 😀

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Ingrid

Sounds really good! I don’t know if I have the skill to pull it off though.

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Karen

This looks fantastic — and inspiring! I think it’s going to be Saturday night’s dinner!

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Angela

This book is on my must read list but my local library doesn’t have it yet!

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Susan

Wow! Pizza Camp- a combination of my two favorite things. But seriously, this pizza looks wonderful

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Christine Venery

Looks absolutely yummy and I still have some asparagus in the garden….

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Kristen

What could be better than “Pizza Camp”?! I think I would like to go for a week:)

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SSA

OMG, I just finished a Whole30 and can’t wait to make this pizza! I have been obsessed with this book.

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Kris

Ive always wanted to try making pizza dough at home but have been intimidated by the 24 hr process!

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Amy Artal

Loved the Bon Appetit good cast with Joe Beddia on it. Would love to get my hands on this book!

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Molly Donahue

I am mildly obsessed with seeking out the best pizza and techniques. This book and pizza both look great!

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Brittney Petty

This pizza looks phenomenal! That crust sounds divine! I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of this book!

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Terra

Oh my! The spring cream looks amazing – I’m already imagining different incarnations. Pasta, baked eggs, bread pudding…

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Jen Nishiguchi

Oh I just heard about the Pizza Camp book yesterday on NPR! My 2 girls roll out their pizza dough and pick their own toppings. They love having control over what’s on their pizza and eat it happily for dinner. Would love to win the book!

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Bonnie DeArmoun

Listening to Joe’s interview on Bon Appetit’s podcast was great, now to try making that dough.

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Elizabeth

One of our rituals is Friday night homemade pizza. This book sounds like a great source for new topping ideas.

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Kim

Yum! Love anything that helps make pizza night better! Thanks for the chance.

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Susan Campbell

We love homemade pizza. There is nothing better than anything homemade.

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Mary

Love that addition of lemon – I can almost taste how it would make the flavors pop!

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Diane Bailey

Oh, my goodness, that pizza sounds insanely delicious! I’m allergic to wheat, but am going to try this on a homemade gluten free crust…..and that Spring Cream could be used on so many other dishes!

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Erika

Wow! This looks amazing. I haven’t had good luck making my own dough…time to try again!

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Erin F.

Delicious!! That pizza looks amazing. Thank you for always providing much needed inspiration! P.S. You also inspired my husband and I to drive 3 hours with a toddler in tow to Sally Bell’s Kitchen and it was so worth it!

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Alexandra

Interesting pizza…would also try with shaved asparagus for a different look/same taste 🙂

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Amanda

We have pizza at least twice a week! Cream sauce has always terrified me, but this makes it look so easy… I would love to win this book! Thanks!

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Lisa Eberhart

I’ve been making pizza at home for a while now and not only is it fun to make with friends and family, the freshness alone makes it well worth the effort. I use a pizza stone and set my oven to 500 degrees for at least 45 minutes to an hour before the pizza goes it – it assures the crust to be crisp like a cracker when the pizza is done! I usually start the dough first thing in the morning so it will be ready for dinner. I only use fresh mozzarella or buffalo mozzarella and Parmesano Reggiano, fresh basil and the freshest tomatoes you can find, which is easy this time of year! It’s a messy process, but we all enjoy the end result. I can’t wait to try this one!

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Suzanne Hagen

Fridays are pizza and movie nights are our house. Just might have to get this book!

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Megan

Well this recipe just looks yummy, as does this book. Will have to try it for our Pizza Friday!

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Lily

We’ve gone out to dinner at our local (Neapolitan) pizza place every Friday for the past two years. Nothing better than Pizza Fridays, am I right?

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Nancy

I’d love to have this cookbook! We live not far from Philadelphia, but I can’t get excited about taking my (little) kids and waiting in line to get pizza for takeout – his place has a reputation for being crazy!!

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Pressley

I make homemade pizza at least once a week and would love to have this book!

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Megan Mainzer

this pizza looks delicious!!! I work at a pizza place in boston and am always looking for fun new ideas for making pizza at home!

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Awads

I read all the way down to the page-turner (for me): 4 cups of heavy cream????? pass…but i would love to see what else is in that book! We are a Friday Night Pizza family, and i always use Jim Lehay’s pizza dough recipe. It may be time to up my game.

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Jane D

Friday night is always pizza night here. I’d love to mix it up with some new recipes!

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Deb Harris

I used to make a lot of homemade pizza when my kids were young, they were great but pretty basic. Maybe it’s time to start exploring something new in pizzas. Yum!

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jaclyn

me me me! i am going to start this pizza tonightttt. I have no plans this weekend (!yay!). Pizza time for me and the dog. She get the crust.

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meredith

For my husband’s 40th birthday, we went to NYC and ate nothing but pizza (his very favorite thing) for every meal for two days straight. He loved it but it ruined him for our local pizza (all he’s ever known) for good. Would love this!

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Karen

that looks so amazing- there is no way I wouldn’t eat the whole thing myself!

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Ruth in VT

YUM! I love pizza and got into your “date night pizza” with arugula this winter. This summer’s task: conquer grilled pizza.

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Diona

As much as I adore (fetishize?) pizza and love cooking, I have always been too scared to try making my own pizza..this cookbook could be the key to making the leap

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Peggy

I’ve been following your blog for awhile now, and I think it’s time I tried homemade dough even though it scares me. Thanks for the inspiration and all the great blog posts/recipes!

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Maggie

I love making homemade pizzas and am always on the lookout for new recipes! Would love to win a copy of the book! Thanks…

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Cathy

I purchased a Kettlepizza kit for my husband for
Father’s Day. This cookbook would be a perfect topper. Definitely going to try this recipe! Thanks.

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Heather

I need this..or I need to roll up my sleeves and just make one of the recipes in DALS. I have 3 kids who love pizza & I always order it. They love to make it themselves, but I’ve been unsatisfied with the meh store bought doughs.

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Elizabeth N.

I just had a baby and my friend came over and made us homemade pizza. It was such a nice gift. She used asparagus on the pizza. It was my first time having it on pizza and it was really enjoyable.

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Claire

This looks amazing. There’s a pizza shop in Toronto that did a similar pizza last spring. I still dream about it!!

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Janet

I’m swooning! The description sure beats our usual “stretch a ball of dough and chuck it on a pizza pan” method. Our ritual Friday night pizza was switched out for our daughter’s birthday–now I know what we are having tonight!

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AmyJane

What a photo! And I just happen to have farmer’s market asparagus and backyard chives!

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Anne Weber-Falk

Pizza is our thing and now I have a new resource for more good recipes. Thanks for the heads up.

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TaraO

Making pizza dough from scratch is on my “bucket list” for this year! I’m going to check out this book for sure.

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kim

I love the idea of this cookbook! My daughter’s social media name is megpizzalover. 🙂 So clearly, this book resonates!

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Amy

I bought the book a few weeks ago after hearing him interviewed on the Bon Appetit podcast and I made the sausage and fennel pizza and the corn and cherry tomato pizza-both were wonderful. I will try the asparagus pizza next. I have been making my own dough using various recipes, including Jim Lahey’s, and I think so far that I like the dough from Pizza Camp the best, it reminds me of the pizza that we used to have growing up in New Jersey ,I now live in California and the pizza is different!

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Kim

I’m too late for the contest but I just checked out this book from the library and cannot wait to incorporate some of these recipes into Friday night pizza night!!!

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Sonya Terjanian

Thank you for turning me onto his no-cook pizza sauce. Tried it last night on grilled pizza – total game changer!

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Liza McArdle

I am SUCH a fan of the Jim Leahy method for pizza dough, that I can’t imagine actually flouring my counter and rolling out dough. The toppings sound great though, so I think I’ll take my chances on not using Joe’s dough. Heard his Bon App podcast and enjoyed it very much!

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Sabrina B

thank you for sharing this pizza recipe! So different, love it! Spring Cream looks wonderful, love the lemon and basil flavors for pizza, so glad I found this!

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christi in ma

my go-to pizza dough is from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything for day of pizza.
When I think of it, the night before I use Cooks Illustrated’s recipe which has a cold rise overnight in the fridge.
I’m interested to try this dough and see how the flavor compares.

And I love asparagus anything so this topping is right up my alley!
I use a Pampered Chef stone pan because I love corners on my pizza!

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