I’m not going to pretend as though I knew all along what was going to happen with this recipe. What I did know is I had roasted an acorn squash earlier in the week and I had frozen pizza dough lounging in the freezer. I recently discovered what appears to be fresh ricotta (whether it is I’m not sure, but it tastes awesome) at Whole Foods in their fresh cheese refrigerator section. After reading a story on CooksIllustrated.com I discovered there is a vital difference between regular grocery ricotta and homemade ricotta, so I’m hoping I found a decent variety. These ingredients were my starting point.
A day in the refrigerator wasn’t enough to defrost the dough so I ended up trying both the toaster oven and the microwave on defrost and neither really worked (the micro started to cook the dough). I was impatient; waiting a half hour just wasn’t going to happen. I basically beat the dough with a rolling-pin until it did what I wanted. Next, I put a layer of ricotta and used it as you would a pizza sauce. Most recipes call for the ricotta to be dolloped on, but I really like smoothing it onto the dough. Next was a layer of diced/mashed roasted acorn squash that had been lightly sprinkled with kosher salt. The next few ingredients I threw in because I had them. About fifteen minutes later I had a very rustic looking pizza, thus the name (and yes, I stole a piece of the crust to taste- I had to make sure it tasted and good as it looked…and it did).
YUM. It was so ooey gooey delicious that I had to make myself eat a salad to stop from eating the whole thing. I’m glad I did because now there are leftovers in my fridge (not for long!). The crust was cracking a bit and I blame the defrosting process. However, I like how it turned out going with the rustic theme and all. In every bite you get a taste of the cheese-squash-garlic-basil combination. The ingredients were so substantial they basically stood an inch high atop the crust. I have to say, it was amazing.
Rustic Squash Ricotta Pizza
- 1 medium acorn squash
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 pizza crust (homemade or pick up at Trader Joe’s)
- 3/4 cup ricotta
- 3/4 cup carmelized onions*
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
- 2 tablespoons shredded basil
Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
Cut acorn squash in half and scoop out seeds. Place cut side up on a baking sheet lined with parchment (optional) and roast for 50 minutes or until just tender. Let the squash cool for 20 minutes. Dice one half of the acorn squash and mash the other half and sprinkle with kosher salt. Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees.
Roll out pizza dough. Spread top with ricotta cheese as if you were spreading pizza sauce. Layer roasted, mashed and diced acorn squash. Top with garlic, mozzarella and basil. Bake for 15 minutes or until cheese is melted.
Serves 2 with a salad.
*To make carmelized onions: Slice 1 large, preferably sweet [vidalia] onion. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a small or medium skillet. Add onions and cook until light brown and caramelized, about 20 minutes.