Saturday, November 22, 2008

Roasted Root Vegetable Pizza

Sounds crazy right? Well that's what you get when you combine competitive pizza making, a hatred of tomatoes, and a need to use seasonal ingredients. I'll take a step back. We have some friends who have a group called something like the Brooklyn BBQ Society. Every month or so they get together and have a cook off, hamburgers, ribs, etc. This being winter and all they decided to have a make your own pizza party.

Here's how you have a make your own pizza party. Invite about 12 friends over. Tell them to bring ingredients to make their own pizza and a bottle of wine. Go to the local pizza shop and buy about 8 rounds of pizza dough. Supply pizza stones, rolling pins etc. It was great great fun and we ended up eating about 7 different distinct and all very yummy pizzas.

I was inspired by a roasted squash soup I had last week. It was rich, sweet, and very appropriate for winter. I figured that as long as I got the consistency of the sauce right and pre-cooked everything it would go well. And it did. It was very rich and could probably have used something to brighten it up but it was delicious all the same.

You could very easily adapt the "sauce" to make pasta sauce and I made left over soup the next morning but pureeing it with some boxed roasted squash soup.

Roasted Root Veggie Pizza
Makes 2 10" round pizzas

Prep Time: 1.5 hours
Cook Time: 40 minutes, 10 minutes

4 pounds squash, peeled, cored, and quartered (I used acorn and delicata)
.5 pounds parsnips
.5 pounds carrots
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted, reserve 1 tbs of pine nuts
Olive Oil
2 tbs unsalted butter
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup chicken stock
salt, pepper to taste
2 tbs curry powder
1/8 tps coriander seeds, onion powder, nutmeg, cumin

Pizza dough can be homemade or just bought at the pizzeria. Making your own dough is very easy but I'm not going to cover it here.

Preheat the over for 400 degrees F. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the skin off the outside of the delicata squash. Cut them in half, take out the seeds with a spoon, and cut them into 1/4 inch cubes. You could do the same with the acorn squash but I halved it, put a tablespoon of butter in the center, salt and pepper and put those straight into the over. Roast for 30-40 minutes or until fork tender. Toss the squash in olive oil and half the spices to coat. Spread in an even layer on a cookie sheet or two. Those go in the over for 35-40 minutes or until they are fork tender. Peel and quarter the carrots and parsnips. Toss those in the spices and olive oil, spread in an even layer on a cookie sheet (or two) and roast those in the over for 35-40 minutes, or until fork tender.

Toast the pine nuts in the toaster or in a nonstick saute pan until they brown slightly and become very fragrant. This happens quickly and should only take 3-4 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Once the roasted veggies have cooled. Do a chunky puree of the squash with the pine nuts and butter from the acorn squash. It should hold it shape but still spread thinly. Salt and pepper to taste and add the other spices to taste as well. This is your sauce.

Roll out your dough and use about 1/2 cup of "sauce". Spread it around the pizza. All of this is fully cooked so you can make it as thick or as think as you want.

Grate your cheese and add 1/4 cup (or as much as you want) on top of the sauce. Sprinkle on your tablespoon of pine nuts as well. Sprinkle veggies on top to cover the cheese and the other 1/4 cup of cheese. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the crust is brown.

Repeat for pizza #2.

While this recipe is simple the preparation of the squash is labor intensive. I made extra, pureed it and plan to turn it into soup and sauce.

I didn't win the competition. It is very tough to beat our a pancetta and truffle oil pizza!

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