Sunday, March 9, 2014

This Week's Homemade Pizza

The Man of the House is a creature of habit. He likes things the way he likes things, and he doesn't like surprises. I, on the other hand, love to mix things up and try new things, especially where food is concerned. To his credit, The Man has gotten pretty good about taking my culinary whims in stride, but the one thing he always says is, "Just don't mess with my Pizza!" Well, this week, I took a chance, and decided to stray from our list of traditional pizza toppings... things like tomatoes, artichokes, olives, peppers, basil etc. I felt like trying something outside of the typical Italian flavors that we normally associate with pizza. I had a big, beautiful butternut squash in the fridge... likely the last winter squash we'll have until the fall, as Spring is (thankfully!) fast approaching. I thought of one of my favorite Autumnal pasta recipes, which involves butternut squash, carmelized onions and sage. and then I thought... why not put that on a pizza? The Man was apprehensive. He asked me a few times if I was sure about this. And I was... I was very sure. And as soon as he took his first bite, he was sure, too. 

Here it is: 
Multigrain crust, walnut-cashew cheese, roasted butternut squash,
 carmelized onions, sage, spinach and a drizzle of pumpkin seed oil

I started by making up a batch of walnut cashew cheese.

The Walnut Cashew Cheese

This cheese is a slight variation on my favorite cashew cheese. I wanted to use walnuts, because walnuts go so well with squash. The color of this cheese ends up being a little weird, but don't worry... once it's under all the pizza toppings, you don't see it anyway. And it tastes DELICIOUS. 

1/2 cup of raw cashews, soaked
1/2 cup of walnuts, soaked
3 cloves of garlic 
3 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp white wine (optional)
2 Tbsp of nutritional yeast
salt and ground white pepper, to taste
water, as needed to make creamy

Combine everything in a food processor, and blend until creamy and smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. (If you have any leftover after you make your pizza, try it on crackers or in a sandwich)

Next, I cut the squash into cubes, tossed it with some olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted it at 400 until it was cooked through and starting to brown on the edges. While that was cooking, I sliced up some onions and slow cooked them with a bit of olive oil until they were soft and sweet. I wilted a bit of baby spinach, and chopped up some sage. Next, I sprinkled the pizza peel with cornmeal, and stretched out the dough, and covered the dough with the walnut cashew cheese. Then I topped it with the onions, squash, sage and spinach. I slid it onto the pizza stone, and baked it for 10 minutes at 475. (if you don't have a pizza stone, you can stretch your dough directly onto a cookie sheet and just bake it on there) 

After removing it from the oven, I drizzled the finished pizza with a little bit of this wonderful pumpkin seed oil I bought at The Saratoga Olive Oil Company this past October, when we visited Burlington, Vermont. It was the perfect finishing touch! I think maybe walnut oil or another nutty kind of oil would also be delicious.

Butternut Squash Pizza, with a nice glass of Sauvignon Blanc

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