Friday, October 28, 2011

Butternut Squash Pizza with Chicken and Caramelized Onions

For the last few weeks, our Friday pizza nights have been the same. Pepperoni with olives. Nothing wrong with that combo- but...a little boring after awhile. I had two motives to try something out of the ordinary. 1) I was bored with plain old pepperoni and 2) I had some butternut squash in the fridge begging to be made into something delectable. As I was looking through recipes containing the sweet orange gourd, I happened upon the suggestion of pizza. Squash on pizza? Sounds a little strange. But so many people in various corners of the world wide web were raving about it, so I thought it couldn't be all bad. And after my recent soup experience, I was ready to have an open mind toward this glorious vegetable (or is it a fruit?). I searched for awhile, looking for the perfect combination of ingredients I currently possessed and ingredients that sounded appetizing together. Nothing really fit the bill, so I finally decided to make up my own combo. And, boy, it was a winner, if I do say so myself!

I decided to top a thick and chewy crust with a white, almost Alfredo type sauce, then layer on roasted butternut squash, caramelized onions, chicken, and mozzarella cheese.
This was definitely a much more involved pizza than I'm used to. There were a lot of steps, but, like the soup, it would be well worth it once in awhile.
 The thin, whole wheat crust I usually make is a jiffy, and doesn't require any rising time, so the pizza is usually together in under 30 min. However, for this masterpiece, I decided to try a more traditional, thicker crust, and used Paula Deen's "Basic Pizza Crust"- it was absolutely delicious! But, it required 45 min of rise time, so I got to work on that.
Meanwhile, I also started the squash roasting. I cut it into 1 in. chunks, tossed them in olive oil (the chunks amounted to a little over a cup) and roasted them on a baking sheet at 450 for 20 min.
While the squash was roasting, I started the onions doing their beautiful thing in a shallow pan on the stove top. They sizzled away for a good 30 min in hot butter and a little olive oil, releasing their natural sugars to make a beautifully brown, sweet pan of deliciousness. Even if you are not a fan of onions in general, I urge you to try caramelizing them. They are simply transformed! The harsh, pungent, tangy onion becomes a mellow, sweet, slightly crispy delectable addition to pizzas, sandwiches, burgers, omelets, etc!
While the dough was rising, the squash was roasting, and the onions were caramelizing (this is beginning to sound like a Dr. Seuss book!) I got the white sauce going. Most meals I make (and certainly not pizza) don't have this many "irons in the fire" as it were, but I thought it was sort of fun thing to do on a cold, quiet afternoon.
Anyhow, I simply made up the white sauce in my Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook (the cheese version- using Parmesan cheese), cutting all of the amounts in half. It still made enough to cover two pizzas (the dough also makes enough for two pizzas, so I froze one half of it).
Once the dough had done it's thing, I stretched it out and topped it with the sauce, the squash, the onions, some cubed chicken, and then sprinkled it with cheese (I used a pizza blend containing mozzarella, cheddar and provolone). I really wished I had access to ricotta or feta or something a little more fun, but alas! our little market did not have it. Then I popped the whole thing in the fridge.
When I baked it later, I wanted to try out the new pizza stone my brother and sister-in-law (cooks and fellow bloggers themselves!) gave me for my birthday, but was sadly disappointed when my pizza stubbornly refused to slide off the pizza pan and onto the heated stone. I pulled and tried spatulas, but to no avail. I think I shall have to invest in the famed "pizza peel" or else try freezing the pizza first for easier transportation. However, the pizza baked up beautifully on the pizza pan, and it was delicious!

Disappearing fast...
We ate almost the whole pizza between the two of us, and thoroughly enjoyed the delightful co-mingled unusual flavors. On the whole the flavors were very understated, with the simple white sauce a perfect back drop for the sweet and mellow squash and onion. What a great discovery!

Butternut Squash Pizza with Chicken and Caramelized Onions
(printable version)
a KitchenJoy original recipe (with help)
Makes 1 12-14 in. pizza

pizza dough of your choice
1/2 recipe white sauce (recipe follows)
1-1 1/2 cups cubed peeled butternut squash, roasted
1/2-1 cup diced cooked chicken breast
1 medium onion, sliced and caramelized
1/2 cup or so cheese of choice

Spread pizza dough in pan. Cover with white sauce. Top with squash, chicken and onions. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake according to dough directions.

White Sauce (adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook)
Makes enough for 2 12in. pizzas
1 TB butter
1 TB flour
dash salt
dash pepper
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

Melt butter on stove top. Whisk in flour, salt, and pepper; heat till smooth and bubbly. Stir in milk. Heat to boiling; boil 1 min or until thickened. Stir in cheese until melted and smooth. 

Source for dough:

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...