Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Autumnal pizza: onions, squash, kale, blue cheese, and walnuts

We made one of our better pizzas a few days ago, when J and A joined us for dinner. As with our other recent meals, we forgot to take photos.

In the morning, make a pizza dough. Dissolve a tablespoon or so of honey in about a cup of warm water, and then whisk in a tablespoon of instant yeast. In the standing mixer, combine two cups white flour and a bit more than a cup whole wheat, and a tablespoon of salt. Then pour in the yeast mixture and mix to combine. You don't need to knead that much. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the warmest part of your house. Since our heater isn't working, the best spot for us was in the oven (turned off) right above the pilot light.

About an hour before you want to eat, remove the dough from the oven, and begin preheating to 450–500ˆ with the pizza stone inside. Divide the dough into two pieces and roll it out with a floured rolling pin. You want to let the dough rise a little rolled out, so if your kitchen is still very cold, place the rolled-out dough in the oven for just about two minutes (enough to get a bounce, but not enough to kill the yeast).

Thinly slice a large white onion, and saute it in some olive oil and salt until translucent. Set aside. Peel two delicata squash, cut into half- or quarter-inch rings, and poke/cut out the seeds. Heat some oil, and fry the rings of squash on both sides until just starting to brown. Bring to a boil a medium pot of water with a teaspoon of baking soda. Wash, destem, and cut into half-inch ribbons one bunch kale, and boil in the soda water for just a minute or two, so tenderize and bring out the bright green color (the soda is to prevent discoloration: what makes vegetables discolor when cooking is the acids released from the veggies). Drain the kale and rinse under cold water so you can handle it.

Cut a little less than a pound of mozzarella into thin slices. Begin assembling the pizzas: onions as a "sauce", then a single layer of squash, then the kale, then mozzarella. On top of that, crumble about half a pound of a strong blue cheese, and then top the pizza with fresh walnuts.

Bake each pizza between twenty and twenty five minutes. This type of autumnal pizza will pair with any wine or beer that you like, but cold weather calls for a hearty red.

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