November 23, 2011

Thankful

Winter squash, goat cheese and caramelized onion pizza


I have a lot to be thankful for. I try to remember this and keep gratitude nearby, but I know that there are lots of times when it is easier to be frustrated or discouraged than to remember how very lucky I am. Perhaps it isn't luck, but somehow I've wound up with an amazing husband, a loving and supportive family, the chance to do lots of creative work even if it's not yet how I make my living.

I give thanks for the small, but important, things like the down comforter that keeps me warm every night and the things that seem insignificant but that really matter (to me), like all the food we have stored for the rest of the winter. There are cold snowy days that let me be cozy inside, cups of tea, good books and blogs to read, rediscovering knitting and the chance to take more yoga classes. It is crazy how many good things I have in my life and somehow even the challenging things usually turn out okay.

I'm so thankful that there are some of you out there who want to read this, and for the opportunity that this blog has given me to learn more about writing, photography, and the online world. None of this is directly related to that delicious slice of pizza, although I am immensely thankful to have discovered the combination of winter squash, goat cheese, caramelized onions and balsamic reduction that it is made up of.

I know that you are probably thinking more about turkey and pie than pizza and you might just be eating left overs all weekend. But if you happen to be with family or friends for a few days and you are the type (like me) who likes to share lots of time in the kitchen with loved ones (or cook for them), maybe some homemade pizza is in order.

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!


Winter Squash, Goat Cheese and Caramelized Onion Pizza 
I make this one a lot in the fall and winter. It has similar elements to the beet pizza I told you about a while back. I guess I just love the combination of a sweet vegetable with tangy goat cheese and chewy mozzarella.You can use any kind of winter squash (except spaghetti) even leftover mashed squash from you Thanksgiving feast. Here is the basic idea, you can adjust everything as you like 

Pizza dough 
1 small onion
balsamic vinegar
1 cup pureed winter squash (bake the squash and mash it or run it through a food mill so it is spreadable)
chevre style goat cheese
shredded mozzarella
chopped rosemary (optional)

For the caramelized onions: cut off the each end of the onion, cut the onion in half and thinly slice each half. Place a saute pan (I use a small cast iron pan) over low heat. Add a splash of olive oil and the onions. Cook the onions slowly, stirring occasionally so that they slowly brown but don't burn.

For the balsamic reduction: pour 1-2 cups balsamic vinegar into a sauce pan (the reduction keeps well and is a nice addition to salads, pizzas, risotto and a variety of meat dishes so you can even reduce a whole bottle at a time). Bring the vinegar to a gentle simmer and continue simmering until it has s syrupy consistency. If it gets too hot it may burn or reduce too much so that it is not pourable. When it is syrupy, remove from heat. I store it in a jar in the fridge for months, it is more pourable at room temperature.

Put it all together: Preheat the oven to 450'. If you are using a pizza stone, you'll want the oven to be hot for at least 30 minutes or more to get the stone nice and hot. For pizza on a pan it is not as crucial, but a good hot oven is ideal for pizza.

Shape your pizza dough as desired. Spread the squash on top of the dough, like you would a sauce. Crumble the goat cheese and spread it out across the pizza. Sprinkle on mozzarella. Distribute the caramelized onions around the pizza. Sprinkle on the rosemary if desired. Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and a bit bubbly and the crust is crisp (or however you like it). Remove from the oven and drizzle a garnish of balsamic reduction on top. Let the pizza cool for a few minutes before cutting and serving.

3 comments:

  1. I am just reading this one now. That looks fantastic. My next pizza day will have to be this one. And I have never thought about making a balsamic reduction; it sounds perfect to have on hand. xo

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