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Monday, September 6, 2010

Butternut Squash Pizza

Sometimes I hit one out of the park. This is such an occasion.

I write a recipe column for my department newsletter. Our deadlines are about a quarter ahead, so I've been working on seasonal recipes for the fall. My column includes a kid's corner with recipes intended to get families in the kitchen making foods that are fun and delicious. There are so many possibilities! I mean, fall is the harvest after all! What could be better for kids than pizza? And the kids get to mess around with their own dough and put on their own toppings. It's a sticky, delicious and edible craft project!

I tested this recipe this weekend and shared it with our friends Darcy and Mark. We had a great time noshing on pizza and a yummy tortellini salad (made by Miss Darcy) while we adventured in our roll playing game. At one point, Darcy said, "I can't stop eating this!" That's when I knew I had a winner! Mark even asked for the recipe! (Here you go!)

Butternut Squash Pizza
For the dough:
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tbsp. sugar
1 pkg. active dry yeast
1/4 cup olive oil, divided use
2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups bread flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt

Mix the warm water, sugar and yeast and allow to rest until frothy. Using a spoon or mixer, add the flour and salt and 3 tbsp. olive oil. When the dough becomes stiff, change to kneading by hand or to a dough hook on your mixer. Knead until smooth and elastic - about 5 minutes by machine or up to 10 minutes by hand. Place the remaining olive oil in a large bowl. Add the dough and turn to coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp cloth and set aside as you prepare the topping ingredients. (The dough can also be stored in the refrigerator for future use. You will just have to take it out early enough for it to come to room temperature before making the pizzas.)

For the topping:
4 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash (1/2 inch)
1 yellow onion, peeled, halved and sliced
2 or more cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced thin
1 tbsp. or more fresh sage leaves, sliced into slivers
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 12 oz. package of Trader Giotto's Quattro Formaggio, or a blend of grated Parmesan, asiago, fontina and provolone cheeses to equal 12 oz.

Saute the squash, onion and garlic in the olive oil over a medium-low heat, until the squash becomes fork tender. This should take 10-15 minutes. Add the sage leaves and season generously with salt and pepper. Allow to cool slightly.

To assemble pizzas:

Preheat oven to 500 degrees.

Divide the dough into eight pieces, or make two large pizzas if you are in a hurry. Spray cookie sheets with non-stick spray or brush with olive oil. Flatten out the dough with fingers and place on the cookie sheet. Spoon some of the squash mixture on to each pizza and sprinkle with cheeses. Bake, one cookie sheet at a time, in the very hot oven until puffy and nicely browned on the bottom - 7 to 10 minutes. Allow the pizzas to stand for a few minutes before serving.

This makes two big or 8 mini pizzas. One serving is 1/8 of this recipe and is about 550 calories.

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