Monday, May 5, 2014

Butternut Squash and Balsamic Pizza



Every once in a while, I wake up with a killer craving for pizza. I'm not talking about some greasy slice from your run of the mill takeaway pizza joint, either. No, I'm talking about a bonafide craving for fragrant, homemade, straight-from-the-oven pizza so fresh and hot that you'll be thinking about the meal some weeks, months, or even years after the fact.  You may think I'm being melodramatic, but I had such an experience in Sienna, Italy and I think about that pizza to this day. What I'm about to share with you might not be a slice of pizza fresh from an Italian market, but I'd like to think it comes pretty dang close.



I love this meal because of how light it is. There is no meat and no tomato sauce - two ingredients I'd normally think essential for a good slice, but I think you'll find that they're not at all missed here.  The basil and balsamic compliment the sweetness of the butternut squash absolutely perfectly, and who can resist a well balanced combination of sweet and savory? 

Pizza, pre-oven. 
 I'd also like to add that while I have made this pizza entirely from scratch before, I have found a few shortcuts: Trader Joes sells butternut squash already cubed up and ready to go, which saves an enormous amount of time. They also make a very good organic pizza crust which you can find in the refrigerated section. If you feel like making your dough from scratch, consider trying my no-fuss pizza dough. 






BUTTERNUT SQUASH AND BALSAMIC PIZZA: 

Ingredients: 
1) Pizza dough of your choice. Make it from scratch or buy it pre-made, there is no judgement here!
2) 1/2 a butternut squash, cubed into small pieces. 
3) Cherry tomatoes, sliced. I used mini heirloom tomatoes because they are in season and it is glorious.
4) 1 large handful of fresh basil, julienned. 
6) Balsamic Vinegar, approximately 1/4 cup
7) 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
8) 1 Tbs olive oil
9) Parmesan cheese, to taste. 


Directions: 

1) Preheat your oven to 425F.

2) After your butternut squash is cut up into bite sized pieces, heat up a pan to medium high heat, and drizzle with a bit of extra virgin olive oil. Add butternut squash to the pan and toss lightly so the squash is coated in the oil. Add a splash of balsamic vinegar to the pan and allow the butternut squash to brown and slightly caramelize on all sides. Remove from heat and set aside. 

3) Top pizza dough with butternut squash, sliced tomatoes, julienned basil, shredded cheese, and another drizzle of balsamic vinegar to taste. Bake at 425F until the cheese is melted and the crust is slightly brown, approximately 10 minutes. 

4) Remove pizza from oven and top with more fresh basil and a liberal sprinkling of fresh parmesan cheese. Serve immediately, while it's still hot!



What do you guys think? What's your favorite pizza? 

1 comment:

Heidi said...

My husband and I ate a BBQ chicken pizza from 31 Monkeys in Richmond and it is still the best pizza we've ever eaten. I don't know if it was the post-marathon hunger that made me biased, but it was BBQ chicken with green peppers and it was just delicious!

http://jax-and-jewels.blogspot.com

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