Butternut Squash and Sage Pizza

As another work week came and went, thoughts turn to the weekend. As a general rule, any good food intentions go South and I crave something inevitably unhealthy and preferably delivered.

But no. Not this evening. Remembering the ball of mozzarella in the fridge the answer was clear – pizza, the king of toasted bread. I’m a big fan of the original thin and crispy Margherita pizza having had some excellent ones on various trips to Italy and so try to keep toppings suitably simple. The idea of the butternut squash/sage combo came as a result of a risotto dish I had originally planned to make earlier in the week.

It was pretty good, if a little too sweet for my taste. To be honest, it was crying out for some salty bacon or chorizo, but I will persist with meat-free January! I should have used some goats cheese instead in hindsight – ah well, next time.

I’m used to making the dough in a 500g batch for bread, so stuck with that. I used half the dough for the pizza(s) and half for a small loaf for breakfast…

Serves 4 (or 2 hungry people – I hold my head in shame)

  •     500g strong white ’00’ flour
  •     350ml water
  •     10g salt
  •     1 packet yeast (7g)
  •     1 tbsp oil
  •     Can of chopped tomatoes
  •     large pinch salt
  •     large pinch sugar
  •     The thin part of a butternut squash, chopped into small cubes (the rest went into soup….)
  •     About 10 sliced sage leaves
  •     Oil for frying
  •     1 Ball of mozzarella, sliced

Mix the bread ingredients, knead for 10 minutes and half the dough . Put half in the fridge to be ready for tomorrow’s bread and leave the rest in a warm place to rise (for the pizza!) for about an hour

Start by turning the oven on to its highest setting. Place the butternut squash into a tray with some a salt and a drizzle of olive oil on one rack. I have a pizza stone too which sat beneath it.

Whilst all this is happening, pour the tomatoes into a frying pan with the salt and sugar. Leave on the heat to reduce until thickened. Turn off the heat and leave until needed once done.

Take the squash out after about half an hour and set aside. Leave the oven on for the pizza.

Although certainly not essential, add some oil to a small saucepan and fry the sage leaves. I tip the pan to ‘pool the oil’ to kind of deep fry it. Drain on kitchen paper and set aside.

Once the dough is ready, flour the work surface and turn out the dough onto it. Half it again – there’s enough for two pizzas here

Roll it out until very thin and as round as you can! I removed the pizza stone from the oven and stood it on an iron stand. Place the thin pizza base on a well floured pizza stone or tray. Add the tomato sauce with a large spoon and spread it out with the back of it. Layer on the mozzarella and squash cubes. Finally add the sage and a good pinch of salt. You can add a drizzle of olive oil too if you want.

Whack it in the hot, hot oven and cook for between 5 and 10 minutes until the edges are crispy and the cheese slightly browned. Repeat with the second batch of dough.

Phew – should have just ordered the damn thing!

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