Welcome to my virtual housewarming! After almost two and a half years, I figured it was high time to gain some more creative control over this space. I’ve been learning and destroying it accidentally as I go with only the internets as guidance. While I’d been toying with the idea of self-hosting for years, last week in an impulsive fit of frustration, I finally bit the bullet. It feels just like adjusting to a new home after a move. And nothing makes a home feel like a home more than cooking a first meal there.
What better way to inaugurate a new space than with pizza? This isn’t just any pizza. This combo has nestled its way into my top 5 meals for sure. I cannot get over how good it is. When it comes to toppings you can use whatever is in season. This particular pizza does not hail from the school of restraint. Roast a bunch of beets, a butternut squash and two cloves of garlic in the oven. While that’s happening, wilt some kale and Brussels Sprouts in a pan, saute up a turkey sausage and caramelize the onions until they’re jammy and deeply sweet. It’s an exercise in multi-tasking for a little under an hour, but the only forethought involved is to throw together the few ingredients for Jim Lahey’s no-knead pizza dough the night before. The homemade dough is easy enough and lends the pizza an Italian artisanal taste and texture.
I used Gruyere and mozzarella-my faves and spread the garlic over a layer of olive oil and the onions. Throw it in the oven for 15 minutes and I guarantee you this is the best pizza you’ll have short of going to Italy. It’s so good it doesn’t belong in the same category of what we usually consider pizza, and I live in NYC, known for the good stuff.
There are few things that give me more joy in this world than spending time with the people I love, eating something that tastes this good and being able to share it. And so I wanted to make sure to acknowledge everyone who stops by here to visit and thank you for helping to make this house a home.
Roasted Beet, Butternut Squash & Garlic White Pizza with Kale & Caramelized Onions
For the dough:
- 2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp sea or kosher salt
- 1/8 tsp active dry yeast
- 3/4 cup plus 1 tbsp water
- 1 tbsp honey
For the garlic paste*:
- 2 bulbs garlic
- 1-2 tsp olive oil, plus more for drizzling during roasting
- pinch crushed red chili pepper
- 1 tablespoon milk
*You can make this the night before when you start the dough.
For the toppings*:
- 1/2 red or white onion, sliced thinly
- 2 cups kale, finely chopped
- 3 red beets, sliced
- 1 butternut squash, peeled and sliced
- oil for sautéing
- handful of brussels sprouts (optional)
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 1-2 cups shredded gruyere and/or mozzarella
- 1/4 cup goat cheese
- 1 egg (optional)
*You can make any of these the night before when you start the dough.
For the baking:
- about 1 tbsp cornmeal, or however much is needed to prepare baking surface
- 1-2 tsp olive oil, for brushing the dough before topping
For the dough:
In a large bowl, sift together flour and salt, then add the yeast, water and honey and stir until it forms a sticky dough. (Proofing the yeast isn’t required in Lahey’s recipe or most adaptations of it).
Cover bowl with plastic and keep at room temperature for approximately 18 hours, or until the dough has more than doubled. ( Note: If you have rapid rise yeast, use a little less than 1/8 tsp. It will work like a charm).
For the garlic paste and roasted vegetables:
About an hour before the dough is ready, start by roasting the garlic, beets and butternut squash. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Slice off the top of the garlic bulb so that each clove is exposed. Drizzle a bit of olive oil over top, rubbing each clove to make sure the oil is well-distributed, then wrap in foil and bake for 30-40 minutes. The garlic should be soft when pressed when it’s done. I like to add a little nutmeg to the butternut squash before baking, but otherwise, just cutting them and the beets up and tossing them in the oven for 30-40 minutes (until soft) should work.
Take the roasted garlic and pop out the cloves by squeezing, or with a fork. At the same time take out the roasted vegetables and set aside. Combine garlic with one teaspoon olive oil, the little bit of milk, sprinkle of crushed red pepper and mash with a fork until it becomes a paste.
For the kale, onions and Brussels Sprouts:
While the garlic is baking caramelize the onions, saute the kale and brussels sprouts until wilted. I do this by heating oil over medium-low heat in a large cast-iron skillet or saucepan, and spreading the onions in a single layer evenly across the pan. Let the onions sizzle in the pan for at least 30 minutes, but up to 50, stirring no more than once every 5-10 minutes. Once onions are soft, brown, nearly jammy, and sweet, they’re done. Drizzle a little bit of balsamic vinaigrette over top for extra flavor.
If you can multitask, heat a bit of oil in a saucepan and sauté the kale and Brussels sprouts until just wilted, seasoning with salt and pepper as desired, drain any liquid, and set aside. If you added turkey sausage like me, now would also be a good time to sauté them.
When the dough is ready, prepare your baking surface by sprinkling it liberally with flour or cornmeal. I never had a real housewarming party so I don’t own a pizza stone. Hello baking sheet. No need to preheat the baking sheet. Preheat your oven to its hottest setting, about 500-550F.
Scrape the dough out of your bowl onto a well-floured surface. Parchment paper helps. It should be quite sticky and soft. Flour the top of the dough, then divide the dough in half and form them into ball shapes. If you’re baking these one at a time, cover one ball of dough with a damp towel while you prepare the other.
Gently press, shape, and stretch the dough into a flat circle or rectangle however you like. I’m all about the “rustic” shape. I think we’re aiming for two 10 inch circle-type shapes or one larger pie.
Brush a small amount of olive oil over the dough, then spread the garlic paste in an even layer across it. Sprinkle desired amount of cheese over that, then your caramelized onions, kale, sprouts and root veggies. Add more cheese. I’ve also added a turkey sausage (sauteed for 30 mins until cooked).
Bake at 500 for 10-12 minutes, or until the pizza reaches your desired brownness and crust kind of bubbles. Enjoy the heck out of all of your effort and no need to tip the delivery dude.