Pizza of the Week


This would be the best dinner if only:

a) My kids ate it
b) My husband ate it

The photo you’re looking at up there is from last fall, snapped just before it was greeted at the table by:

a) “So where’s the rest of dinner?”
b) general guttural groaning

I’ve held on to the photo and recipe all year, in hopes that I could write a post outlining all the triumphant ways I convinced everyone to like it. Because, it is excellent. I know this because I ended up eating the entire thing by myself.

The trouble, of course, is the squash. While they’ll tolerate it when simmered and whirled into a classic pureed soup and, maybe, on a good day, when the stars are aligned and the pasta-hater is out, tossed with rigatoni. But for the most part, fall’s CSA VIP remains on the no-fly list at our table, which kills me. Especially this time of year when you slice one open and see that orange flesh — so much deeper colored and more flavorful than the pre-cut stuff we pick up the rest of the year. Last week, inspired by a recipe from Katie Lee’s last cookbook, I made a huge farro salad and tossed in arugula, walnuts, smoked gouda, and the most beautifully diced squash I’ve ever seen. Looks like I’ll be on the only one diving into the leftovers this week.


Butternut Squash Pizza with Ricotta
Trust me, it’s delicious.

olive oil
1 16-ounce ball pizza dough, store-bought or homemade
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 small butternut squash, peeled and diced into bite-size cubes (as shown)
1/2 small onion, diced
kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
a shake or two of hot pepper flakes
ricotta for serving
5-6 thyme springs

Preheat oven to 475°F.

Using a pastry brush, grease a 17 x 12-inch rimmed baking sheet with oil. Drop pizza dough into the center of the baking sheet, and using your fingers, press out and flatten the dough so it spreads as close as possible to all four corners. It might take a little while, but persist, it’s worth it for the thin crust. Distribute Parm evenly on top.

In a medium bowl, toss together squash and onions with salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and enough olive oil to lightly coat all pieces. Distribute evenly on top of pizza and bake for 15 to 20 minutes until squash looks roast-y and crust looks golden. Remove from oven, top with dollops of ricotta, fresh thyme, and more Parm and freshly ground pepper.

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26 Comments

kopi-susu

One word for parents of squash haters: tempura

An electric skillet is your secret weapon* : it holds a steady temperature in a way no pot on a stove can. Peel your lovely fat orange squash, cut into 1/2″ thick slices, lay out on your draining rack** and blithely salt both sides.

Oil in the skillet, heat to 375. I can find rice bran oil at my local Japanese market, but whatever you like that doesn’t smoke at 375 is fine too.

Make a tempura batter (too lazy to get off couch to look up mine, but it’s about equal cornstarch & flour, 1 egg and 1 c ice water) Good ones are kinda runny in my opinion.

Half an hour-ish after salting the squash, give it a quick rinse and pat, then dunk into the batter and fry. Turn once, I judge doneness by color, but check by eating one. Pull them out and drain. Don’t salt, the inside flesh is already seasoned, and if you are at our house these will be on the table:

sushi rice / sushi vinegar mix
sliced raw salmon (for ages 12+ )
cooked salmon medallions (the under-12 crowd)
sliced avocado
julienned cucmber
nori
soy sauce
wasabi
furi-kaki
musubi mold (aka squasher)

advanced level dinner (i.e. mom stopped at the store)
shiso
other good looking raw fish
tobiko / salmon roe
mountain yam

Make a handroll***, my favorite combo these days is shiso leaf, rice, raw salmon and slab of squash, topped with salmon roe. The simplest? Avo & squash. I’m sure you can work in a math lesson at the dinner table figuring out all the possible rolls. Musubi? Same stuff, different shape – the little kids just like the squashing part :-)

*yes, you really really should own an electric skillet, it’s the Clark Kent of appliances. Latkes, doughnuts,salt cod fritters…stop turning the cookbook pages, you can make these!
**that grid one you use to cool off cookies, it is your electric skillet’s bbf now
***Once your children master this + the musubi mold, you can pretty much throw down whatever on the table and they can go to town.

Reply
Anna

I love squash puree spread on pizza instead of sauce, topped with mozzarella, goat cheese and caramelized onions. When it comes out of the oven I drizzle on some balsamic reduction. Of course this doesn’t help if no one in your family will eat it, but it is really really good.

Reply
kelli

Ah, squash. Always seems like a good idea, but not eaten very willingly at our house. The most appealing way we have prepared squash recently is Afghan Challaw Kadu. Yum!

Reply
Jennifer Laurie

I make something very similar but add caramelized onions and goat cheese then sprinkle with some fried sage at the end. I love it too! It’s good with some sausage too and I can imagine blue cheese wouldn’t be a bad thing either! Going to have to make one now!

Reply
christi

Butternut squash is my favorite vegetable!
My husband makes The Pioneer Woman’s butternut puree for Thanksgiving and Christmas. It is so silky smooth and wonderful.
We had a butternut squash pizza yesterday that included thinly sliced granny smith apple, fontina and cheddar cheese and some baby arugula. Delicious!!

Reply
Jessica

I have a feeling I may consume this one solo as well – both the ricotta and the squash being naysayed – but it looks like it will be worth it!

Reply
Carol

So, what happens in your house when no one eats what you’ve prepared? Does everyone make their own PB&J? Is there a backup plan for dinners that might not be well-received? I’ll freely admit I become pretty unhappy (yes, angry) when I’ve put work into something and no one wants it, and jumping up to make something else doesn’t help. Strategies for those days would be helpful!

Reply
Rosie

Too funny as this describes my family situation to a “T”. I love butternut squash, pumpkin, delicata-you name it but hubs and 8yo daughter can only take it in specified doses: soup is okay, pasta is passable and of course quick breads/muffins/pancakes are allowed. Your pizza looks delicious-their loss, your gain.

Reply
M

Your butternut squash soup recipe from DALS is my all-time favorite use for butternut squash. We always have that soup with paninis the night before Thanksgiving – it’s so fall-like that it feels festive, but so healthy and easy at the same time right before The Big Feast.

Reply
Janie

I’m going to make this for book club on Sunday. Thank you! It looks delicious, and there is no way anyone at my house (except me) would eat it. Glad to hear my kids aren’t the only ones who do the gutteral groan about dinner sometimes.

Reply
Susan

Sounds like your family’s attitude about squash mirrors my own family! I love it, but it takes some creative cooking to present it to my husband and kids in a way they’ll eat it. I think I have to try this pizza. It looks great!
I’ve discovered that throwing it into risotto works well, especially if there is sausage in the risotto, too. And occasionally I sink to the level of pureeing squash and hiding it in homemade mac-n-cheese. So far no one’s complained…

Reply
Emily

This looks delicious! I’d help you eat it… I LOOOVE squash…and that farro salad sounds like an ideal light-but-fall-appropriate Thanksgiving side. I also did a pizza with butternut squash, blue cheese, and bacon that was a game-changer. Keep fighting the good fight!

Reply
Caty Winyard

Omg, this looks amazing!!!!!! I’m totally making this soon! Squash is on the no-fly list with Hubby, but my 2 little boys and I will devour it when he travels for work every week.

Reply
Veronica

Yum! I made a version of this last week. I used caramelized onions and opted for mozzarella instead of parm and ricotta and it was excellent!

Reply
Randy

Hi there! The pizza looks so gorgeous! I love to add squash into the pizzaaaa!!! I’m afraid that I can finish this pizza myself. By just looking at the pictures also mouth-watering. Going to make one later.

Reply
Anthony

Awesome, I love pizza very much and currently learn to make it myself. I will try your recipe, thank you so much for sharing this recipe!

Reply