Sep 14 2010

Roasted Butternut Squash, Blue Cheese and Fried Sage Pizza

This was a good year for growing butternut squash in my garden.  It’s one of my favorites and such a great ingredient for soups and pastas.  I love a simple side dish of roasted butternut squash.  I decided a pizza was the next way to enjoy it and  I was very pleased with the outcome.

Here’s what I used:

1 Homegrown Butternut Squash

1 Yellow Onion

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Sea Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper (to taste)

Brown Sugar, about 1 Tablespoon

Alfredo Sauce, about 1/4 cup or more depending on size of pizza

Blue Cheese Crumbles

Mozzarella Cheese, thick slices

Pizza Dough

Fresh picked sage leaves and oil to fry in

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a jelly roll pan or roasting pan with silpat sheet or foil.  Peel and cube the squash into 1 inch cubes.  Lay out on roasting pan, slice onion and add to roasting pan.  Drizzle squash cubes and onion slices with olive oil, salt, pepper and brown sugar.  Place in oven to roast for about 40 minutes. Remove and let cool.

Turn on grill and get pizza stone preheating while your roll out pizza dough.  Spread thin layer of alfredo sauce on dough.  Add cubes of squash and slices of onion to the pizza.  Top with blue cheese crumbles and slices of mozzerella cheese.

Grill pizza on hot pizza stone for about 10 or so minutes until bubbly hot.  While pizza is grilling heat a pan with some olive oil and carefully fry fresh sage leaves, careful not to burn them.  Remove and lay leaves on paper towel to remove excess oil.

Remove pizza from grill and top with fried sage leaves prior to slicing.

Sep 6 2010

Fried Green Tomato Pizza (Roof-of-Your-Mouth-Burning-Good)

I love fried green tomatoes and I love creating unique pizzas.  So I decided to give this a try.  I have plenty of green tomatoes and basil in the garden right now.  I made a beer batter to fry the slices of green tomatoes in.

I selected one large and two small green tomatoes, sliced them into rounds about about 1/2″ thick.

I lightly dusted them in flour and dredged them well in the beer batter.

I used Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA for the beer and I thought it worked well.  I don’t like to use just any beer, if I don’t enjoy drinking it, I won’t cook with it either.

Before frying up the beer battered tomato slices, I chopped up about a 1/3 cup of pancetta and fried it in an iron skillet.

Once the pancetta was lightly browned I removed it, added about 1 inche of canola oil and heated it up.  When the oil was heated I started adding the battered green tomato rounds, in batches careful not to overcrowd the pan.  They brown up relatively quickly, after about 2-3 minutes carefully flip the slices and continue to fry for 2-3 for minutes.  Once they are done, drain them on paper towel to cool and remove excess oil.

Roll the pizza dough out, I used Trader Joe’s dough to save time.  I made a quick sauce of extra virgin olive oil, crushed garlic and torn fresh basil leaves, mixed well in a flavor shaker.  Brush the pizza with this mixture and then lay the beer batter fried rounds of green tomato on the pizza.  Spread the pancetta pieces all around and a bunch of fresh basil leaves.  I then added several slices of asiago and marinated mozzerella and shredded parmesan cheeses.  I followed up with strips of Capocolla ham and a final light drizzle of extra virgin olive oil all over the pizza.

We place the pizza on a preheated pizza stone on the grill and let it go for a good 10 minutes. This pizza paired well with Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA, Victory HopDevil Ale and Stoudt’s Scarlet Lady Ale.

Aug 2 2010

Rachel’s Pizza

My favorite pizza now has a name, “Rachel’s Pizza”.  A summery favorite of squash blossoms stuffed with ricotta cheese seasoned with fresh basil.  A simple sauce of crushed garlic and olive oil, marinated mozzarella slices and plump stuffed squash blossoms.

Jul 5 2010

Grilled Pizzas & Peach Prosecco Sangria

Squash Blossoms

I had the perfect plan, I was going to make a papaya milkshake to sip on while I sat down to write this post.  The little produce market up the street I sometimes shop at didn’t have papaya, major bummer…  But, I won’t let that stop me from writing.

Let me tell you how good those grilled pizzas came out, the ones I made Saturday night.  I collected a bunch of squash blossoms, since the squash patch is overflowing.  I decided to stuff each blossom with a fresh basil and ricotta cheese mixture, well seasoned.   Okay, I cheated on the dough to save a little time, Trader Joe’s works in a pinch.  I crushed some fresh garlic into some really good EVOO, slathered the dough with it and then placed the plump, ricotta filled blossoms on top along with lots of marinated mozzarella slices.  The other pizza was good too, though not as exciting, a slather of red sauce, thin slices of sopressata, lots of fresh basil leaves and a generous amount of marinated mozzarella slices.  Onto the grill they went, and fantastic!

The peach Prosecco sangria even came out well but I still prefer the traditional red sangria myself.  To the Prosecco I added about a 1/3 cup of peach schnapps and four sliced peaches, I had yellow but next time would definitely choose white peaches.  Let that chill in the fridge for several hours.  You can add sugar but I didn’t think it needed it.

BTW, I am not very good at following recipes nor do I write things down that I make, so hopefully this blog is going to help me with the second part at least.  I look at cooking as experimentation, I see recipes as a starting point for me to build from and make it my own.

I did not take the time to photograph the pizzas, but I know I’ll be making them both again soon and there will be another opportunity 🙂