As you might have noticed, my ability to blog on a regular basis is waning again…mostly because the new fall quarter at school has started. And also because the last post I’d attempted was about homemade ravioli stuffed with roasted pumpkin and goat cheese in a brown butter sauce. While the meal was absolutely delicious, there were a ton of steps involved and the post was so long and convoluted…and then Blogger LOST HALF OF MY WORK. I decided I needed a few days to cool down after that. So, I’m currently ignoring that half-finished post and instead moving on to something EASY. Thank God.
Easy, but GOOD: Pizza with butternut squash, goat cheese, swiss chard and sage. Yum. I usually make my own crust, but recently discovered that the Whole Foods near us carries pizza dough (in the area where you can also buy fresh, unbaked pizzas to take home). In addition to white dough they have a multigrain wheat one that is truly delicious. And EASY. So we used that.
I realize that butternut squash doesn’t really scream “pizza topping” but for fall, its a delicious and unexpected choice. I also sprinkled on a few slices of finely sliced swiss chard leaves, for color and antioxidants, some roasted sweet onion slices, and a mosaic of cheeses (a sprinkle of goat, and bit of parmesesan and a handful of mozzarella). After we pulled this from the oven, I drizzle a touch of aged balsalmic vinegar, which added the perfect tang. With a cold pint of a nutty autumnal brown ale, this is a delicious meal. Especially when eaten while watching a classic old scary movie on a Saturday night, which is how we enjoyed it (if you’re in the Chicagoland area, I recommend checking out Svengoolie on WCIU…awesomely kitchy).
Incidentally, while we were eating this, JiT made a passing remark that toasted pine nuts would be a realy good addition to this pizza. While we didn’t try it, I would imagine that they’d add a fantastic extra “crunch,” if you’re into that sort of thing. I’m off to start “Intro to Baking” tonight at school…wish me luck!!!
Butternut Squash, Chard and Sage Pizza
Makes 1 large pizza
Dough or prepared crust for one pizza (preferably whole grain, which works amazingly with the squash)
1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced into half-inch cubes
1 small sweet yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
salt & pepper to taste
3 leaves of swiss chard, center ribs removed
2 Tablespoons cup crumbled goat cheese
2 Tablespoons parmesean cheese, shredded
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
pinch of ground nutmeg
1 Tablespoon fresh sage leaves
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon aged balsalmic vinegar (optional)
Prehead oven to 450 degrees F. Combine butternut squash, onion, 1 Tablespoon of olive oil and salt & pepper to taste in a bowl and toss until the oil is evenly distributed. Spread squash and onions on a rimmed baking sheet and roast in the oven for 20- 25 minutes, until the squash is tender and golden and onions are soft (stir occassionally for even browning). Remove from oven and set aside to cool slightly.
Raise oven temperature to 500 degrees F and insert pizza stone into the oven if using one.
Meanwhile if using fresh pizza dough, roll the dough into a 1/4 inch thick round on parchment paper. Brush pizza dough with remaining 1 Tablespoon of olive oil to evenly coat crust. Sprinkle squash and onions, chard, cheeses and nutmeg evenly over the crust. Transfer pizza (still on parchment paper, if using fresh dough) to the oven and bake for 8 – 10 minutes until crust is crisp and the cheeses are golden and bubbly.
While the pizza cooks, heat 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil in a small pan over medium heat until very hot. Add sage leaves and fry for about 30 seconds, until leaves are beginning to crisp. Be careful not to burn them. Remove leaves from oil and drain on paper towels until pizza is ready to serve.
Just before cutting the pizza for service, sprinkle sage leaves over the top and (optionally) drizzle with aged balsalmic vinegar.