Pizza is Back! Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese Pizza, to be exact.
Last fall, I worked in Harvard Square for a semester and fell in love with a crazy vegetarian pizza place. What’s up with that? I’m not even vegetarian. What did me in was their delectable and inspired Lunch for Henry. Forget the ridiculous inside-story name, and think butternut squash, caramelized onion, goat cheese, and sage, and a crispy, thin pizza crust. I craved this pizza, and I’ve been thinking of re-creating it ever since I stopped working in Harvard Square.
Well, last week I tried to re-make it, but silly Laura didn’t think to check the website, and she forgot the caramelized onions. But even without them, this was so delicious I made it for dinner Thursday night and again for lunch on Friday. Yes, the girl who rarely repeats a recipe made the same thing for two meals in a row. Now that is a commendation if I’ve ever heard one.
And when I brought the leftovers in to work the following Monday, one of my library co-workers wandered over, drawn by the smell of garlicky, sage-y roasted butternut squash, and I promised her the recipe. Sorry it took me so long, Susan!
The real surprise of this pizza is that I turned, once again, to Giada’s pizza dough recipe, despite having sworn not to do so again, and it turned out great! No, it wasn’t as good as dough that had a nice, slow ferment in the refrigerator, but it was easy to handle, rolled out without a hitch, and crisped up well on my pizza stone. What do you know? The only difference is I used rapid rise yeast, which is all I could find at the crappy hippie mart.
I didn’t do my research ahead of time, which is probably just as well. If I had, I would have discovered that rapid rise yeast and instant yeast are one and the same, and that I should have used only 3/4 of the required amount. I did follow the instructions on the packet and left out the proofing stage, and I didn’t notice any flavor difference from using too much yeast. In fact, considering this is the first time Giada’s recipe has worked for me in awhile, maybe the extra yeast was a good thing? Whatever the reason, I was pretty happy with the outcome, though given more time, I’d still go for a longer, cold rise in the refrigerator.
The dough is beside the point, and you can use whatever dough you want, be it made from scratch, Boboli from the supermarket, or procured from your local pizza shop. The star of the show here is the stuff on top.
Laura’s Lunch for Henry
- 1 batch fresh pizza dough, or the variation of your choosing
- 1/2 a butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces (I probably used about 1 1/2 c. of chopped squash)
- 1 T. olive oil
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced (alright, I actually used garlic powder)
- salt and pepper (or, if you have it, a French 5 pepper blend, like Le Moulin 5 Baies from Ducros)
- 2 T. chopped fresh sage
- 1 c. shredded mozzarella
- as much crumbled goat cheese as you can handle
- 1/2 c. caramelized onions (I only wish I’d thought to include these)
Preheat the oven to 550F (pizza stone in the oven). Set the dough out to thaw, if necessary, while you prep everything else.
Mix together the squash, olive oil, oregano, garlic, salt and pepper, and half of the sage on a baking sheet. Bake the squash for about 20 minutes, or until it’s soft and mashable (it needs much less time than squash usually does with the oven being so hot and all). When you take it out of the oven, mash it well with a fork and set it aside to cool a bit.
Roll out the dough, and spread the slightly cooled butternut squash mash evenly over it.
Sprinkle the mozzarella evenly over the squash, then distribute blobs of goat cheese around the pizza. Blobs is so not the right word for a food blog, but I can’t think of what else to call them right now. Sprinkle the rest of the sage over the pizza (and maybe a bit more salt) and then slide it in the oven for about eight minutes.
I will admit that my first pizza burned because I left it in the oven just a minute or two too long. That’s why I clearly had to make another one the next day. I forget that a 550 degree oven cooks things really, really fast, and I have a tendency to wander into my room to check my emails while things are in the oven. Silly Laura.
Even slightly burned, though, this pizza was god-like. No, I never use hyperbole, not at all.
If you don’t have a Veggie Planet in your neighborhood, I strongly urge you to make this pizza as soon as possible. You won’t be sorry. Especially if you don’t forget the caramelized onions.