Pizza with Butternut Squash and Sage Pesto

Delicious fall flavors that will blindside your tastebuds and smack you upside your head.  Make my pizza dough based on Chez Panisse’s recipe–it’s tried and true and so delicious–and the entire pizza in all its fabulousness will creep up in quiet baby steps in an explosion of deliciosity.  I’ve been making this dough for about 12 years.  The rye flour and beer gives the pizza crust so much flavor that it’s a perfect vehicle for the autumn flavors of sage and butternut squash — who wants a bland pizza crust, anyway?   If you just can’t bring yourself to strive for excellence, then pick up some Trader Joe’s dough.  I understand.  I’ve been there.

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Sage pesto:

2/3 cup fresh sage leaves, torn
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
2-3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons finely grated parmesan cheese
I usually make half of the pesto recipe which is perfect for one pizza

While dough is rising, combine sage, pine nuts and finely grated parmesan cheese in a food processor and blend until combined. Stream in olive oil and blend until pesto-like.  Set aside.

Butternut Squash
1 1/2 cups butternut squash, cut in small dice
1 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

Heat a medium skillet oven medium heat and add 1 tablespoon butter. Toss in butternut squash cubes, along with salt, pepper and nutmeg. Cook for 10 minutes, tossing occasionally.  Cook until tender and just starting to caramelize. Set aside.

Caramelized Onions
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced

In the same skillet, add another 1/2 tablespoon of butter and onions with a pinch of salt. Cover and let caramelize for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Set aside.

Other Pizza Toppings
6 thin slices prosciutto, torn
Toss the prosciutto into the hot skillet and allow to cook until it just starts to turn crispy.

4 ounces parmesan cheese, freshly grated
8 ounces goat cheese, sliced and crumbled
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts

Pizza

Preheat oven (I use a pizza stone)  to 475 degrees F.

Once dough has risen and you are ready to assemble pizza, spread 2-3 tablespoons of pesto all over dough in a thin layer. Top with half of the grated parmesan, then sprinkle butternut squash on evenly. Top with onions. Top with torn prosciutto pieces, then  sprinkle goat cheese over the pizza. Sprinkle with remaining parmesan.  Bake for 8 minutes and prepare to fall in love!

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