Happy first day of October!!
I think it is safe to say that I am pretty into fall. Lucky for us, for every season there are multiple pizzas to accompany it. Pizza is just that kind of food, an all the time, every season, kind of meal. It’s adaptable, and can be topped in more ways than I can count.
Plus, pizza cures all. Like when your mother tells you that she thinks it would be best if she worked as the General Contractor on your new home. Meaning – my mom is now overseeing everything that is going on down at the barn…
Oh yeah, did I forget to tell you guys this?
It’s probably because it freaks the heck out of me and I just do not want to admit it yet. To you, to me, to anyone.
Well, it is true, my amazing, and apparently super multi talented, mother became the general contractor a few weeks ago. At first I pretty much freaked because I mean, she knows not a thing about how to do a remodel like this or how to build a thing. But now I am ok with it. She works way harder than anyone (especially our previous contractor), so I have to trust that she’ll get it done on time. Although, I did just hear that something got pushed back a week.
Oh no. I need more pizza. This barn is going to drive me insane. Who would have thought that remodeling a small barn to be a home would be such a process. Not me. The whole Thanksgiving deadline that is pretty important that we meet? Yeah, well that has now become the first week of December and to be totally honest that will SO be pushing it. Send help. No literally, if you know good workers please send them because they seem to be a little hard to come by up in my mountain town. I think everybody is just too excited about the snow or something.
Anyway, my point is that pizza makes all the stress better. Especially when it’s a fall pizza. I think fall pizzas may just be my favorite. Actually, butternut squash is my favorite and I think that you will quickly realize this over the coming weeks. So many squash recipes flying through my head.
This pizza is all things fall, but not in an overpowering way, where you are like, “eew, this just tastes like a fall candle… and not a good one”. I have actually had that response once, not fun.
Over the years, I have made a lot of fall inspired pizzas and they all seem to have a sweet and spicy theme to them. I’m pretty sure it is because my family loves spicy… and I love the combos of sweet and spicy… plus heavy on the cheesy!
That is this Butternut Squash Pizza. It’s got a spicy oil based sauce, savory cider caramelized onions, super thin slices of apple for sweetness, tons of sharp cheddar, blue cheese, roasted butternut and bacon (of course feel free to lose the bacon and keep this a vegetarian pizza if needed) to tie it all together. What could you not like about these flavors? So flippin delicious.
Really though, look at all that gooey, melty cheese.
Maybe it is the cheese that cures all actually? Not sure, but whatever, it’s good stuff. And on a Wednesday when you just need a way to get over that hump!
- Pizza Dough
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 4 cups cubed butternut squash (or pumpkin)
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon chili powder, divided
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 4 slices thick cut bacon, chopped
- 2 sweet onions, sliced thin
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 cup apple cider
- 1 large chipotle chile in adobo, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 small apple, thinly sliced
- 6 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- 2-4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
- 1 large bunch fresh sage
- roasted pumpkin seeds, for topping
In a large bowl, combine water, yeast and honey. Mix with a spoon, then let sit until foamy, about 10 minutes. Add in the flour and olive oil stirring with a spoon until the dough comes together but is still sticky. Using your hands, on a floured surface, form the dough into a ball and work the additional 1/2 cup flour into the dough if needed. All of the mixing and kneading can also be done in a stand mixer with the dough hook attachment. Next, rub the same bowl with olive oil, then place the dough inside, turning to coat. Cover with a towel and place in a warm place to rise for about 1 1/2 hours.
About 40 minutes before the dough is done rising, start assembling the pizza. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.*
In a small bowl whisk together 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, cinnamon, honey and a pinch of salt and pepper.
Spread the veggies out in a single layer on one or two baking sheets. Drizzle the olive oil mixture over the veggies and toss well to coat. Roast until vegetables are tender, 20 to 25 minutes, stirring the veggies halfway through. Remove and set aside.
While the veggies roast, caramelize the onions. Heat a large skillet with high sides over medium-high heat and cook bacon until crispy. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate. Remove all but one tablespoon of bacon fat from the pan and then add the butter. Add the onions and cook about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until softened. At this point you want to slowly add the cider, let it cook into the onions, add more and let it cook some more. Do this until the 1 cup of cider is gone or the onions are caramelized to your liking and the cider has evaporated.
In a bowl whisk together the remaining 1/3 cup olive oil, chipotle chile pepper in adobo, 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, cumin and a good pinch of salt + pepper.
Once the pizza dough is ready, lightly flour a counter. Use your hands or a rolling pin to roll the dough out until you have a flattened disk. Place the pizzas on a greased baking sheet and then use your hands to gently tug, pull and push the pizza dough into your desired shape. Spread the chipotle olive oil mixture over the dough. Add the caramelized onions and half the roasted butternut squash. You may not want to use all onions if you feel like there is just too many. I used probably about 3/4 of the onions. Add the cheddar cheese and then the sliced apples and remaining butternut. Sprinkle with the blue cheese.
Bake the pizza for 25-30 minutes or until the cheese is all melty and gooey. Remove from the oven and top with crispy sage (below) and roasted pumpkin seeds. EAT while melty and delicious!
Heat a small skillet over medium heat and add about 1/2 inch of olive oil. Once hot, add the sage leaves and cook 30 seconds per side. Remove from the pan and set aside. Serve over the pizza.
*Double this dough recipe to make two pizzas, there is enough toppings for two smaller, thicker crust pizzas if desired.
**Feel free to cook this pizza which ever way you please. Sometimes I use a baking stone and cook the pizza at 500 degrees F. for about 15 minutes. Or sometimes I use a cast iron skillet like I did [here | http://www.halfbakedharvest.com/green-olive-pesto-pizza-with-roasted-red-peppers-and-feta-stuffed-crust/].
Leaning tower of cheesy pizza awesomeness right there. Dig in.
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