Sunday, July 17, 2011

Roasted Butternut Squash Pizza

Roasted butternut squash pizza is arguably the most heavenly pizza known to mankind. It sounds like an exaggeration, but just you wait until you try it yourself one day. Maybe you'll even be inspired to make your own after this post! The first time I laid eyes and tongue (ew?) on butternut squash pizza was when I was in Burlington, VT last Halloween weekend with my Aunt Carrie and Uncle Funny Jeff (he's really funny). The leaves were just about done changing, and there were snow flurries in the air. College kids were out and about on the streets dressed in their (hilarious) costumes - probably freezing - as were we. We were on the hunt for a tasty eatery that was unique to Vermont where we could relax, warm up, and enjoy our evening. We settled on American Flatbread, a wood-fired pizza grill, and also the most warm, cozy, perfect place to spend the evening on a cold Halloween night. You just might be able to guess what comes next. We ordered butternut squash pizza! Which was very appropriate considering the time of year. I do believe we also ordered a squash-based beer - which was surprisingly good. At first bite, we all fell in love. Maybe it was the cozy atmosphere, maybe it was because we were famished from traveling, or maybe...just was because butternut squash on a pizza was meant to be. I don't remember what exactly was on that pizza. I just know it was a tasty schmorgesborg of cheeses, onions, herbs and squash. I'd also just like to say, that after that meal, we were completely rejuvenated and went to an authentic irish pub and had some beeahs. SUCH a fun night. But I digress. After coming home from that trip, my Aunt Carrie and I knew we had recreate that fine dish - and again, I don't know exactly what ingredients we used, but all I know is that it turned out just as good, and quite possibly better, than in VT.

As I was searching for a fun, tasty, yet challenging dish to make on my day off, roasted butternut squash pizza magically popped into my head and I knew I had to make it and share it with the blogging world. I did a little search and found a great recipe by Two Peas and Their Pod for roasted butternut squash pizza. I followed her recipe more or less, but also followed my own intuition when making this pizza pie.

First of all, you always need a little pre-dinner, cooking entertainment. That's why I turned to Mr. Jimmy Fallon, my future husband (after he divorces his current wife) for some laughs to keep busy for what seemed to be for-ev-er. If you haven't watched Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, I highly recommend it.
The Dish?
Roasted Butternut Squash Pizza

The Ingredients?
  • Pizza dough - I cheated and got the store-bought.
  • 1 Red Onion
  • 1 Butternut Squash
  • Mozzarella Cheese
  • Feta Cheese
  • Olive Oil
  • Garlic, 1-2 tsp minced
  • Fresh Rosemary

The Directions?

1. Peel and dice your butternut squash. WARNING: This takes a lot more manpower and strength than you think. Make sure you have a strong knife and solid cutting board. OH - and MUSCLES.
2. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Place diced squash in a pan, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Once the oven is preheated, let the squash roast for 40-50 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. Chop that red onion, and hold back those tears.
4. Get ready to carmelize your red onion. Place a skillet or pan on medium-high heat and drizzle with oil. Once the oil is shimmering, throw those onions on there. The only difference between carmelizing an onion and grilling an onion is that you add a teaspoon or two of sugar. Don't know how to grill/carmelize an onion? Here's a little help. The grilling/carmelizing should take 15-20 minutes. This would be a good time to make that pizza dough, if you are not lazy like me and want to make your own crust.
5. Once the onions are done carmelizing and the squash is done roasting, top that pizza! It doesn't matter what order - I did a little mozzarella, then the squash, then a little garlic, then the onions, then the rosemary, and then the feta, and then a little more mozzarella. Hey, what's a pizza without lotsa cheese, right?
6. Finally, raise that oven temperature to 450 degrees. Once it hits the 450 degree mark, lower the temperature back down to 425 degrees and put that pizza in there. I kept my pie in there for 10 minutes - but that's because I don't like super crispy crust. If you like crispy crust, I recommend 13 minutes or so. Just watch - when the crust is golden brown and the cheeses are all melted and gooey and delicious, you'll know the pizza is ready.
7. Finally, enjoy your creation! I chose some Cupcake Chardonnay to accompany my pizza. What. A. Pair. The only reason I picked it up was because when I was Houston, Meghan and I were totally intrigued by it, mainly because it has a dessert in it's name. We bought it, brought it home, and chilled it - in the freezer. Then...oh yeah, we forgot about it. And guess what? It exploded. True story. Needless to say, we did not get to enjoy our Cupcake wine and I've been dying to try it ever since! Meghan's quite the cooker, too. Check out her post on how to make risotto!
Bon Appetit!

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