Thursday, October 25, 2012

Caramelized Onion, Goat Cheese & Butternut Squash Pizza

Armed with a complete set of gourmet pizza-making tools—a baking stone, pizza paddle, and rolling pizza cutter —my friend Ali and I set out to find the perfect recipe for our new gadgets last Friday. In the mood for something slightly gourmet that would pair well with a full-bodied red wine, we compiled our favorite toppings and stumbled across this delightful Caramelized Onion, Goat Cheese & Butternut Squash Pizza from Natural Noshing.

Homemade pizza-making is a great opportunity to get creative with toppings! I encourage you to leave the mozzarella & tomato sauce pies to the experts (if you're in New York at least) and use this an excuse to think outside the box, at least a little bit.

Most people don't picture pizza as the dish to feature autumn produce, but its actually quite an ideal medium—squash and root vegetables achieve their maximum flavor when roasted in a light coating of olive oil, salt & pepper; and balance perfectly alongside the rich, creamy chevre and peppery arugula. Caramelized onions add a sweet balsamic essence that acts like a dressing to the "salad" of squash.  The key to this recipe though is the sage, which brings out the autumn flavors of the respective toppings, tying everything together. 
Waiting for everything to cook is the hardest part!
Luckily we had a gorgeous spread of Anthropologie
Home kitchenware to admire in the meantime...
We made our pizza on fresh whole-wheat dough, which upon baking emitted a nutty, fragrant aroma. The flavorful toppings rest delicately atop the thin, doughy crust. Made this way—whole grain thin crust, minimal cheese, and veggies in abundance—this pizza is refreshingly light. Plus, it won't leave you with that carb-baby feeling we all dread after eating one too many slices. The finished product is a mosaic of rich colors with the deep purple onions and auburn squash. For a second, it is too pretty to eat.


Caramelized Onion, Goat Cheese & Butternut Squash Pizza (from Natural Noshing. Nora includes a homemade grain-free crust recipe as well which I've substituted for fresh store-bought pizza dough.)
Yield: 1 large pizza pie
Ingredients
1 16 ounce bag whole wheat pizza dough (available at Whole Foods and Trader Joe's)
2 1/2 cups peeled butternut squash, cut into 1/2 cubes
3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1 red onion, halved and thinly sliced
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
sea salt and black pepper
2 1/2 to 3 cups arugula, roughly chopped
5 – 6 ounces crumbled goat cheese (if you don’t like goat cheese, feta or your favorite cheese could be used)
1 Tbsp fresh sage, roughly chopped
Directions
1. Preheat oven to 400F. In a large baking pan, toss the squash with 1 Tbsp of the olive oil and season with black pepper and sea salt. Bake the squash until slightly browned and tender, about 30 minutes, tossing once halfway through to ensure even cooking. Remove from oven and set aside.
2. While the squash is baking, in a large skillet, add sliced onions and 1 tbsp of olive oil over a medium heat. Saute until onions begin to color, stirring frequently.  Add the balsamic vinegar and a dash of salt and stir or toss to combine.  Cover, reduce the heat to low-medium, and let cook for about 25 minutes, or until the onions have cooked down and caramelized. Set aside.
3. While vegetables are cooking, roll out pizza dough on a floured surface, and knead according to package directions on pizza stone or lightly oiled baking pan. Once all of your toppings are ready, brush remaining olive oil over the crust and top with cooked squash, onion, chopped arugula, crumbled goat cheese and sage.
4. Bake until the crust is crispy, lightly browned and toppings are heated through and cheese starts to brown slightly on top, about 15-18 minutes.

1 comment:

  1. I made this Monday night and it was seriously tasty! My roommate couldn't believe that this pizza took less than an hour to make, was pretty healthy and tasted so good. Since I only had soft goat cheese I mixed it in with the caramelized onions. It melted right down and spread evenly across the pizza with onions, which I really liked. I also didn't have any sage so I sprinkled some fresh basil on top instead. Yum!

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