An Autumntime Pizza Recipe: Butternut Squash, Prosciutto, & Gruyere Pizza
There are two foods that, no matter what, put a smile on my face. Pizza and tacos. If you don't love 'em, something simply must be wrong with your noggin. While I could easily nerd out on you by explaining my everlasting love for the authentic Mexican street-style taco, I'm here today to pay tribute to the pizza pie. The Italian-born, cheesy, saucy, and doughy mess that we all love so much. I intentionally say "we all" because again, if you don't love pizza I'd just assume you stop reading my blog, like right now. And yes, I am slightly serious.
While I haven't been to Italy yet (though I'll finally get to go for my Honeymoon in May), I feel as though I've been privilege to some pretty righteous pizzas. Flawlessly crispy thin crust topped with family recipe red sauce, globs of fresh mozzarella, perfectly ripe and sliced vine-ripened tomatoes, and some cured meats; it's the kinda combo that makes my palate swoon. Extra points when the pizza has been cooked in a wood burning oven and has some of that delightful char on the edges of the crust. Gets me...every time.
Unfortunately, I don't have a wood burning oven. A travesty, I'm aware. I also don't own a grill these days...so by default, the standard oven makes the pizza magic happen when I choose to make my own pie. Because sometimes, even though there are plenty of restaurants that make better pizzas than me, I just wanna make my own damn it.
Especially when the combination I'm hankering for doesn't exist at any local (and Leslie approved) pizza joints. Pizza is year around comfort food. And Thank God for that. But...since it is Autumn and all, I decided to put a little Dash of Les Fall flair with my recent pizza pie.
Though I salivate over a robust red sauce, I substituted the stuff for an ingredient that just screams Fall. Pureed butternut squash. Bear with me. That ever so slightly sweet and earthy squash "sauce" is topped with a combination of slight salty gruyere and mild, creamy gouda. From there, it's adorned with prosciutto and then baked until the cheese and the crust are beautifully golden and the glorious prosciutto has crisped up, begging to be inhaled. With a drizzle of sage infused olive oil and a hefty pinch of arugula, the flavors and textures are unmistakably diverse and undoubtedly scrumptious.
It's easy, it's fun, and it's not the kinda pizza you see everyday...which makes it that much better.
Butternut Squash, Prosciutto, Gruyere, and Sage Pizza
1 pound pizza dough (I buy it pre-made but feel free to make your own)
12 ounces frozen butternut squash (you can buy it already pureed if desired)
8 slices prosciutto
3/4 cup arugula
1/2 cup grueyre, shredded
1/2 cup gouda, shredded
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup vegetable broth
1 tablespoon olive oil (for rolling out the dough, if desired)
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (dried is fine too)
4 sage leaves
salt and freshly cracked black pepper
1) Let your dough sit out on your counter for 30-45 minutes to allow it to rise.
2) Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees.
3) Place the butternut squash in a saucepan with 1/3 cup vegetable broth, a pinch of salt, fresh ground black pepper, and nutmeg. Cook on medium until squash is completely warmed through. Then, using an immersion blender, puree the squash until smooth. Feel free to add more vegetable broth if you'd like a thinner consistency. If you don't have an immersion blender, you can also puree it in a food processor.
3) Roll pizza dough out to a circle-ish shape, making sure to release all air bubbles. Chris likes rolling it out on the pizza pan with a tablespoon of olive oil for ease and added flavor to the crust. You can just use your hands- a rolling pin really isn't necessary.
4) Spoon the butternut squash sauce on the dough. Sprinkle shredded gouda and gruyere on top. Then, place the prosciutto slices on top. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until crust is golden brown.
5) While the pizza is baking, prepare the "quick method" sage infused olive oil. Pour 1/4 cup olive oil in a small saucepan with the sage leaves. Heat on low for 5-10 minutes, being careful not to burn the sage. Push down on the sage sporadically to release its flavor. Remove from burner and let sit.
6) Remove pizza from the oven and with a spoon, drizzle the sage oil. Ground more black pepper on the pizza at this time, if desired. Then top with arugula.