Sunday, October 16, 2011

Pizza with Butternut Squash, Caramelized Onions and Fried Sage

Another unconventional pizza.

No sauce. No mozzarella.

Not that there is anything wrong with that...

I just like to pimp up my pizzas with fresh seasonal ingredients.... shaved asparagus pizza in the spring and toppings like corn and zucchini at the peak of summer.  With the copious amounts of butternut squash kicking around the house (I swear I ate it at six different meals the past week) and a fierce craving for pizza.. this little gem was born.

This can come together really quickly if you have some pre roasted butternut squash on hand.  I like to roast a bunch up and use it to make a quick salad or pasta dish... or give it to my dogs for a little snackaroo. 
If you don't have any on hand, you just need to peel it, cube it, toss it with some olive oil, salt and pepper and roast it for 25 minutes or so at 425 degrees.  The most labor intensive part is the peeling and chopping, but with a good peeler and a sharp knife you should have no problem.

Now... onto the caramelized onions.. They take a little bit of time, but most of it is hands off (with the exception of an occasional stir).  They cook down like crazy so I use alot more than I think i will need. Three cups of sliced onions will yield roughly 1/2 -3/4 c. of caramelized onions.  With this pizza, the more onions, the better!

For the cheese I used nettle meadow farms fromage blanc.  It's very neutral flavored, almost like a chevre but not as creamy.. but not in a bad way.  They are a little pricy, but I like to buy their cheeses because they are local and freaking delicious.

Pizza with butternut squash, caramelized onions and fried sage (makes 2- 10" pizzas)

1 batch of thin crust pizza
1 lb. butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
3 c. sliced onion
2 c. fresh spinach
3-4 oz. fromage blanc, chevre (goat cheese) or feta
1/2 c. grated pecorino romano or parmesan
8 sprigs of fresh sage
olive oil
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 425. Place peeled, chopped butternut squash on a sheetpan and drizzle with 2-3 T. olive oil, and a liberal amount of salt and pepper.
Roast for 20-25 minutes until fork tender.
Meanwhile, heat 1-2 T. olive oil in a sautee pan over medium heat.  Add your onions, a pinch of salt and pepper and stir to coat the onions with the oil. Reduce the heat to medium low and stir onions every five minutes or so.  If they begin to stick you can add a splash of water and continue to stir.  Cook the onions for 20-25 minutes until they turn a medium shade of brown.  Set aside.
To fry the sage, heat 1/2 T. olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat.  Add the sage and fry until crispy, about 1 minute. Transfer to a paper towel to drain.

To prepare the pizza, roll out the crust. Drizzle 1/2 T. olive oil on the crust and spread out with your fingers. Add the spinach, followed by the onions, butternut squash, and fromage blanc. Bake according to the thin crust recipe above, or until the crust is browned. Crumble the sage and scatter it over the pizza along with a dusting of pecorino romano and salt and pepper, to taste

...up close and personal...

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