Thursday, January 28, 2010

Thursday: Heavenly Pizza

Homemade pizza with butternut squash "sauce," walnuts, green olives, ricotta salata and Pecorino Toscano cheeses, and fresh parsley.

We really can't say enough about how good this is. We got the inspiration from a few online recipes that used a roasted butternut squash puree as a pizza sauce, but from there we decided to improvise with the rest of the toppings.

The dough was made with our local half white/half whole wheat bread flour. This was the first time we'd made pizza dough solely with bread flour instead of all-purpose, and we found it drastically improved the texture, giving it that great chewy consistency that pizza crust should have. The flavor improved too: instead of just being a vehicle for the toppings, the crust itself was toasty and interesting.

One of our favorite butternut squash recipes is this pasta sauce, which also pairs the squash with parsley and tangy ricotta salata to cut its sweetness, so we decided to import the same flavor profile into this recipe. To make it more complex, we added a second cheese - the Pecorino, which contributed some pungency - some chopped walnuts for texture, and quality green olives for a salty kick.

This might sound like a lot of trouble for pizza, but actually if we had made the dough in advance and frozen it for later use, this would have been a remarkably fast meal. We already had frozen butternut squash puree from our winter CSA, but that's also the type of thing you could prepare in bulk and then freeze in individual servings for later.

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