All right, this is just not pizza. I mean, maybe it is pizza-like or pizza-esque or even pizza-ish, but I have a terrifically hard time calling it pizza. In fact, when I saw Giada DeLaurentis make this on her Food Network show last weekend (I seem to have broken a seal with her, no?) all I could think was “that’s not pizza!” and then hmm, that would be a fun Sunday night dinner. So, I did the only rational thing: I decided to not call it pizza. In fact, as soon as I started to think of this as a flat bread, an open panini or an assembly of some of my favorite things, the deliciousness near-overwhelmed me.
So, let us take this apart, shall we? We start with a thin layer of pizza dough. You can use my easy-as-sin one, though I have myself moved onto the just as easy wine-and-honey version I updated a few months back. If you don’t feel like making your own, I’m really not doing my job here, but nevertheless, feel free to pick up one from your local pizza joint (what, you don’t have one on your block?) or grocery store. The recipe calls for a one-pound dough, though my homemade one clocked in at 13.5 ounces and, lo, the world did not end.
You sprinkle it with mozzarella and crumbled gorgonzola, something we’d been lucky enough to pick up that morning from Murray’s Cheese. Meanwhile, you have roasted lightly sweetened and seriously spiced slices of acorn squash, which cooks much faster and is much easier to take apart than butternut. Once your crust is baked and the cheese is bubbly and brown, you spread the roasted slices of squash on top and sprinkle arugula on top and voila!
Despite thinking–as you probably are right now–that this was the weirdest dish in the world, we loved it. It was the perfect light meal with salad and a hearty vegetable right on top of a little decadence. We drank some wine, bit our fingernails watching The Wire and fantasized about going to Rome this spring where we are sure to see no “pizza” of this sort.
But, you know what? Their loss.
Roasted Acorn Squash and Gorgonzola Pizza
Adapted from Giada DeLaurentis
Yield: 4 side dish servings
1 (1- pound) acorn squash
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (we used 1/2 tsp. and it had plenty of kick)
1/4 teaspoon salt, plus 1/4 teaspoon
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus 1/4 teaspoon
1 pound pizza dough
1 cup shredded whole milk mozzarella
1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola
1 cup arugula
Squeeze of lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Slice the squash in half from top to bottom. Scoop out the seeds. Slice the squash into 1/2 to 3/4-inch wide half moons and place in a medium bowl. Toss the squash with the syrup, olive oil, red pepper flakes, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Place the squash on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake the squash until tender and golden, about 20 to 25 minutes.
Keep the temperature on the oven at 375 degrees F. Roll out the pizza dough on a flour dusted piece of parchment paper to a 13-inch diameter. Place the pizza and the parchment paper on a baking sheet. Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese and the Gorgonzola on the pizza dough. Bake in the oven until golden and cooked through, about 25 to 30 minutes.
Peel the skins off the squash. Top the cooked pizza with the cooked squash. Toss with arugula with the squeeze of lemon juice and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Slice and serve.