Inspired by a local restaurant offering amazing brick oven pizza, this Asparagus, Red Onion and Toasted Pine Nut Pizza flavor combination is delicious and easy to make!
Our Favorite Brick Oven Pizza, Bricks Neapolitan (Hudson, WI)
Years ago, my family was planning to spend some time in Hudson, Wisconsin for a soccer tournament. It’s only about 45 miles from our house, but the team and families used it as a team-bonding experience and booked a hotel with a pool for the weekend. A friend of mine lives in Hudson so I asked her about restaurants in the area. She had several recommendations, but one stood out to me because I love brick oven pizza. The restaurant is Bricks Neapolitan Pizza, and is located on 2nd Street, which is the main road near the St. Croix River. There are several restaurants and shops along 2nd Street, which has a quaint, small-town feel. It’s a small restaurant with seating for about 25 to 30 people.
Ever since my first meal at Bricks, I have been in love with this restaurant! I have a hard time ordering anything but their Margherita Pizza because I love that classic tomato and basil flavor. My husband is also equally in love with their “Bella” pizza, which has asparagus, red onion and pine nuts and is the inspiration for this recipe. Here are a couple of pictures from our most recent lunch at Bricks.
Another local restaurant / brick-oven inspiration for this recipe is Punch Pizza. Years ago, I found their sauce recipe online, but can’t find it anymore. This Forno Bravo recipe is the closest pizza sauce that I have found and is the basis for the sauce recipe. I used Trader Joe’s Organic Frozen Pizza Crust for my pictures. I’m not completely sold on this crust yet and I prefer their fresh refrigerated pizza dough.
Toasted Pine Nuts
I have always toasted pine nuts in a dry non-stick pan as described in the “notes” section of the recipe. Imagine my excitement when I just Googled “toasted pine nuts” and there is a recipe from Alton Brown on how to toast pine nuts in your microwave. Seriously??? Who knew??? I haven’t tried it yet, but I trust Alton. Pine nuts are a bit tricky to toast without burning and you have to have them constantly moving in the pan.
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- TOMATO SAUCE
- 1 can (28 oz) San Marzano tomatoes
- pinch of freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon salt (to taste)
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon dried basil
- Tablespoon garlic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 package Trader Joe's Organic Frozen Pizza Crusts
- ½ cup tomato sauce (see below)
- 6 spears of asparagus
- Garlic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 medium or 2 small vine-ripened tomatoes
- red onion, thinly sliced
- 1 Tablespoon pine nuts, toasted
- fresh mozzarella
- TOMATO SAUCE
- Place the tomatoes in a soup pot
- Use your hands or a potato masher to squish the tomatoes into smaller chunks
- Add remaining ingredients and cook on medium-high heat, stirring often for 15 minutes
- If asparagus spears are thick, slice lengthwise into two pieces
- Place asparagus in a shallow pan, drizzle with garlic EVOO and a pinch of salt and toss to coat
- cut tomato into ⅛ inch thick slices and lightly salt on both sides
- slice red onion thinly using a mandolin
- cut mozzarella into ¼ inch thick slices
- toast the pine nuts in a dry skillet over medium heat (see notes)
- Spread about ½ cup of pizza sauce onto pizza crust
- Add mozzarella, then sliced tomato, onion and asparagus
- Cook 12 to 15 minutes at 425F
- Remove from oven and sprinkle with toasted pine nuts