On a recent Pizz-Off!, we had three amazing pizzas. Two were made by our friends, and this one was our entry into our competition. If you are looking for a new way to enjoy the abundance of butternut squash now making its appearance in fall farmers markets, this is it! I love butternut squash. I have got to find a new way of expressing my pleasure about foods, since I seem to ‘love’ everything. But it really is true. There are very few foods that I don’t absolutely delight it and can’t find a way to work into a tasty meal. That has served me well since I’ve managed to quiet some of Anders initial protests and converted him to many foods that he had previously sworn off: Swiss chard, oxtail, sweet potatoes. Anyway, back to the butternut squash. I think it was about our 7th or 8th pizza night and I was racking my brain trying to come up with a new recipe to serve. When you have a pizza competition with friends every Friday, with each friend making a different pizza, you begin to stretch creativity. Then I remembered my birthday gift to Anders last year – a cooking class at Sur la Table. For that class, we prepared butternut squash ravioli with fried sage. It was wonderful-so much so that the following weekend we made our own homemade version. We haven’t made it since then (an oversight I will have to remedy soon!) So this pizza for me is reminiscent of that meal and combines all the flavors of that meal on a pizza : Butternut squash with fried sage and caramelized onions.
Note: This pizza is a little involved but it’s so worth it. You can prepare some of the ingredients (the squash and the onions) in advance to save time on the day of. I unfortunately thought up this recipe while at work. With two hours to prepare the ingredients before the guests arrived, I had to shop, roast squash, caramelize onions and the most critical thing – clean the kitchen! I needed every second of those 2 hours.
- 2 cups diced butter nut squash (about 1/2 in per side)
- 1 tbs chopped rosemary
- 2 cups chopped onions
- 12-18 sage leaves
- 2 tbs butter
- Parmesan Crisp
- 8 oz mozzarella
- 1/2 cup blue cheese
1. Season the butternut squash with the rosemary, as sprinkle of olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Roast uncovered at 350F for about 45 minutes. The squash should be soft and will be slightly caramelized at the edges. Remove from the oven and set aside.
2. Add about 2 tbs of olive oil to a large skillet and heat on medium heat. Add the chopped onions and cook until caramelized. This will take about 20 minutes and is done when the onions are translucent and have lost all their liquid. Don’t be alarmed if the volume of onions has reduced to about 1/3. Remove the onions from the heat and set aside.
3. Wash and dry the sage leaves. Add butter to a large skillet and when the butter is melted, add the sage. Fry on low-medium heat, cooking until the leaves are crispy but not burnt. You can test it. The leaves should break easily. When the leaves are done, remove and place on a clean paper towel to absorb the oil.
Assemble and Bake the Pizza
1/2 hour before baking, place a baking stone in the oven and heat at 500F.
Roll out the pizza dough and add spread the caramelized onions all over. This will serve as the ‘sauce’ so you want to make sure that the dough is completely covered. Add the butternut squash and then top with mozzarella and the blue cheese. Bake on the pizza stone until the crust is golden brown (about 12-15 minutes). Remove the oven and add the sage leaves and parmesan crisps on the still warm pizza.