This time of year is tricky…sure you might be lucky enough to have come across some fresh new spring greens by now. Maybe some mustard or arugula. Ya baby. And in the coming days there will be more and more nettles on the horizon. But for sustenance you are likely still eating squash, onions, nuts and cheese.
We made squash a little easier on ourselves and kept motivation up to continue cooking with squash, by peeling and chopping a bunch of kabocha into cubes and freezing it. Kabocha squash is one of my most favourite squashes. I love the dry, sweet texture. It reminds me of sweet potatoes and tends to soak up grease really well 🙂
Pizza pretty much never gets old in our house. Here is a yummy recipe that uses all the bits and pieces left over from winter that will pair quite nicely with an early arugula salad. Appease hungry tummies waiting for the pizza while it bakes with a roasted garlic and a fresh baked baguette baked by one of your favourite local bakers or my favourite: Ubuntu Canteen.
- As much garlic as your heart desires
- 2 large shallots (1 3/4 pounds total), thinly sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 small kabocha squash (1 pound), stemmed, peeled and halved lengthwise
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pre-baked whole wheat pizza crust
- 2 ounces Gorgonzola dolce or other blue cheese, cut or pinched into small pieces
- 1/2 cup raw unsalted walnut pieces, broken into large pieces
- 1/2 cup lightly packed baby arugula leaves
- 2 teaspoons pumpkinseed oil (or olive oil)
Set a baking stone, if using, on a rack in the oven; preheat to 450 degrees. (Alternatively, the pizza can be placed directly on the oven rack.) Have a large rimmed baking sheet at hand.
Heat a large cast-iron or other heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, then the garlic, tossing with tongs or a spatula, until they wilt and start to brown. Sprinkle with half of the salt, toss and reduce the heat to very low. Cook, stirring very occasionally, until the onions are deeply golden brown, very soft and sweet, up to an hour or more. (If they start to dry out during the cooking, stir in a few tablespoons of water at a time to keep them moist.) Let cool.
Meanwhile, scoop out and discard the seeds from the squash, then cut each squash half into 1/4-inch slices. Transfer to the baking sheet, drizzle with the olive oil, sprinkle with the remaining salt and toss to coat. Roast the squash slices until fork-tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool. If you are making the pizza right away, reduce the oven temperature to 400 degrees.
To assemble the pizza, spread the caramelized onions and garlic evenly over the crust. Arrange the butternut squash slices on top. Dot with the blue cheese and walnuts.
Slide the pizza onto the baking stone (or place on the oven rack). Bake until the pizza’s edges are browned, the bottom is crisp and the cheese is melted, about 20 minutes.
Immediately scatter the arugula leaves on top, then drizzle the pizza with the pumpkinseed oil. Cut the pizza into 8 slices; serve warm.
Adapted from from Joe Yonan, author of “Eat Your Vegetables” (Ten Speed Press, August 2013).