Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Butternut Squash, Mushroom, Caramelized Onion and Gruyere Pizza

It's December 1st. Welcome to official Meteorological winter! And I'm officially tired of eating turkey soup, turkey hash/casserole, turkey anything at this point. Well, I didn't tire of those cold turkey sammiches during the first couple days right after Thanksgiving. And pumpkin pie or cheesecake for breakfast is almost a necessity, pairs well with some hot coffee. Next year there will be more time devoted to the game plan for the leftovers, which really are the reason for the season.

After re purposing the leftover turkey meat, it is time to get back to a much-loved staple. Another day, another pie. What to put on your tombstone this time? We've already done this and this and this. Perhaps a seasonal approach? Find some stuff that tastes good and throw it on top, you can't really go wrong there. There's cheese on it too, so you know it's gonna be good. If you make this pizza, you will like it. It is delish. And that's easy.

So it's winter time, cold air does not hold as much moisture as warmer air, your doughs might need an extra ts or so of water. If you weigh your flour, good for you. I know this guy would be proud.

Oh, and buy some good cheese for this too- freshly shredded, of course. Buy some cheap shit and you'll taste it. You can't polish a turd, you know.

Butternut Squash, Mushroom, Caramelized Onion and Gruyere Pizza

1 butternut squash, halved, seeded
1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 TB butter, divided
1.5 C Gruyere
1/2 C mozzarella
1/4 C parmigiano reggiano
1/4 C EVOO
1 large clove garlic, thinly sliced
1/4 ts red chili flakes
black pepper
2-3 sprigs fresh thyme
handful of cremini or button mushrooms, about 1 C, sliced

pizza dough, the quick method-
2.5 C bread flour
1 C warm water
1 packet active dry yeast
1 ts honey
1 ts dried thyme
1/2 ts kosher salt

Measure out 1 C of warm water, add 1 ts honey and stir to incorporate. Add the yeast and give it a stir, let sit until foamy, about 5-7 minutes. During this time, add the flour, salt and thyme to the bowl of your stand mixer. Whisk to combine, then add yeast water mixture and give that a stir. Then with the dough hook attachment, stir on speed 2 (or low) for 5 minutes. Once the dough is nice and shiny and the gluten has developed, turn out onto your board and knead with your hands for a couple of minutes. You always want to give your pizza doughs a couple minutes by hand. It's for both practical reasons and just because. I like to speed up the process (a full 10 min) using the stand mixer but finish it off with a personal touch. Form a nice tight ball with the dough, place into a lightly-oiled bowl and roll it around to oil it up, then cover with a clean kitchen towel and place into a somewhat warm, draft free area until doubled in size, about 1.5 hrs. Punch down to release the gas and then let sit until needed. Can be parked in the fridge for a few hours, just bring back to room temp before rolling out.

In a small dish, add the EVOO, sliced garlic, and hot chili flakes. Stir it up and then set aside.

Fire up the hotbox to four hundred. Get the bottom rack and pizza stone set up, and a rack in the middle. Rub some oil all over the squash halves, then sprinkle with S&P. Roast on a sheet pan for about 40-45 minutes, until nicely softened and browned. Let cool, then slice off the skin like you would a watermelon. Chop into large chunks and set aside. Increase the heat to 500F.

While baking the squash, melt the butter in a large skillet over low heat. Add the onions and stir to coat with the butter, then sprinkle with a tad of freshly cracked black pepper. Leave it alone for 15-20 minutes, let it do its thang. Then you may stir, and again let it sit for bit, to get some browning action and start caramelizing the onion. Cook for about 30-40 minutes on low heat until deeply browned, stirring occasionally. Let cool and set aside.

Melt a TB of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the shrooms in a single layer. You never want to crowd the fungi so it will saute, not steam in it's own liquid. That liquid needs room to evaporate, and you need room to flip them after a couple minutes. Once nicely browned on both sides, turn down to low and cook for another five minutes or so until they are done, stirring occasionally. Want to impart some tastiness? You can add in a ts or so of sliced shallot, a little fresh thyme, a minced clove of garlic, a couple shakes from the pepper mill. You can also toss in the garlic and chili flakes from the EVOO for the dough.

Roll out your dough into something that resembles a 12X14" shape. Ain't gots to be perfect. Move the dough to your pizza peel that has been covered with cornmeal, which will assist to slide your pie easily to the hot stone. Coat with the EVOO up to an inch from the edge, reserving the garlic and chili flakes, if you didn't add that to the shrooms. Top with as much of the caramelized onions as you wish, you may have some leftover, and that will be a good thing. Combine the 3 cheeses into a medium bowl. Add 1/2 of this mixture to the pie, then add the squash and lay the shrooms out evenly. Slide the pie onto your stone, which should be on the lowest possible spot in the oven. Bake until well browned and extremely delicious looking, about 10 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes, sprinkle with some fresh thyme, then slice up and enjoy.

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