Butternut Squash, Spinach, Caramelized Onion & Goat Cheese Pizza

I made this in December, back when butternut squash was a more appropriate and more seasonal ingredient but life gets ahead of me sometimes (and by that I mean ALL the time) so it is just now making its way onto the blog.  So bookmark for the fall, or ignore all that stuff you hear about seasonal eating and make it anyway!

This was one tasty pizza.  With all these yummy ingredients, how could it not be?  I love every single thing on top of this pizza on its own and together they are just perfect.

I found this recipe in my search for vegetarian dinner options on epicurious.  If you or someone you’re cooking for needs some meat, add some crumbled bacon for some meaty flavor and a nice crunch.  This really is a great vegetarian pizza with such terrific flavors that you won’t miss the meat, or at least I didn’t.

The trick to making this without finding yourself with an incredibly messy and hot kitchen at the end of the day is to prep all your vegetables earlier in the day and refrigerate them.  Roast the squash, caramelize the onions and saute the spinach all before lunchtime (or the night before if you’re doing this on a work day) store them all in separate tupperware or plastic bags and they’re ready to go on the pizza for dinner.  Prepping has become the key to dinnertime sanity for me.  And it’s smart for working folks, stay at home parents or people who just despise cleaning a bazillion pots and pans after having enjoyed their meal.

I used a store bought pizza dough ball (you can sometimes find these in the freezer section of your grocery store) but making your own is not too hard if you plan ahead.  I used this recipe for pizza dough not too long ago and it was easy to make, easy to work with and tasted great.  I followed the instructions up to the baking.  Instead of pre-baking and freezing my crusts, I divided the dough into 4 balls (keep it in one ball for one large pizza), placed them on a greased baking sheet, covered lightly with a piece of plastic wrap sprayed with non-stick cooking spray and put the pan in the fridge until I needed them (about 4 hours).  When I was ready, I formed them into crusts, topped them and baked them.  Once you get the hang of it, pizza dough at home is really easy.  If, like me, you didn’t have the foresight this time around to make your own dough, a frozen one is good.  Make sure to thaw it out overnight in the fridge, or on the counter for a few hours in its original packaging so it doesn’t dry out.

When I made this pizza I had a large squash, so I cubed the entire thing (probably ended up with 4 cups) and roasted it all.  You can use any leftovers tossed with some cooked pasta and goat cheese for a simple vegetarian pasta dinner, or you can use it at meal time for your toddler (which is the direction I chose to go).  The instructions below are for roasting just 2 cups, so if you plan to roast all your squash just increase the oil and seasonings.  It might also take more time to get a good roasted color if your pan is more crowded, so stir the squash and check them for tenderness every so often after the 25 minutes of cooking time recommended below.

My biggest problem with pizza is getting it from the pizza peel or cookie sheet onto the stone in the oven.  Here is a sweet and humorous home video (not my own) that shows you how to do it.  The trick is to do it quickly and use enough corn meal so it slides easily off the peel.

Note:  You may not use all of the onions or spinach.  Just add to the pizza what looks good to you.  Enjoy!

Butternut Squash, Spinach, Caramelized Onion and Goat Cheese Pizza

From epicurious.com

Ingredients

  • 2 cups cubed butternut squash
  • 1 6-ounce bag of baby spinach
  • 1 medium sized yellow or red onion, halved and thinly sliced
  • 6 ounces of goat cheese
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil
  • corn meal
  • 1 ball of prepared pizza dough, thawed if frozen
Directions
  1. Roast the Squash:  Heat oven to 400°F.  Toss cubed squash with a drizzle of olive oil just so it is lightly coated, 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper.  Spread out onto a rimmed baking sheet and roast for 25 minutes until squash is tender and lightly browned, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking and to brown squash more evenly.  Set aside or cool and put in a container and into the fridge if you’re baking the pizzas later in the day.
  2. Saute the Spinach:  Heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a medium skillet over medium heat.  Add a teaspoon of chopped garlic, let cook for 30 seconds, then add spinach and a pinch of salt.  Saute, stirring occasionally, until spinach is wilted down and most of the liquid has evaporated, 8-10 minutes.  Spread a few paper towels on a plate and pour the spinach onto the towels to drain some of the liquid.  Set aside or refrigerate in a container.
  3. Caramelize the Onions:  Heat a medium skillet over medium high heat with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.  Add onions, 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/8 teaspoon black pepper.  Cook, stirring, for 10 minutes until onions are light brown.  Add 2 tablespoons of water and cook an additional 5 minutes.  Onions should be very soft and brown in color.  Set aside or refrigerate.
  4. Heat oven to 450°F and heat your pizza stone or you can use the back of a cookie sheet, but don’t preheat the cookie sheet.
  5. Take your pizza dough and either roll it out on a floured surface using a rolling pin or use your hands to stretch it out into a round.  You should have either a 15 inch circle or a 10 by 16 inch rectangle.  Lay your dough on a pizza peel or the back of a cookie sheet coated with corn meal.
  6. Brush olive oil on the outer edges of the crust, then top the pizza with the squash, spinach, onions, crumbles of goat cheese and thyme.  Transfer pizza to pizza stone or place cookie sheet in the oven and bake for 10-12 minutes until cheese is melted and crust is lightly browned.

 

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