There you go—recipe card up top, so you don’t have to scroll through lots of photos and words to get to what you want most. This is my first blog post (!!), so please forgive any errors or oddities. I’m learning as I go…
This pizza is nothing short of a knockout. It’s beautiful, delicious, healthy, easier than it looks, and meatless. Just keep in mind that the pizza is your entree, not your entire meal—so serve it with a side salad or some roasted veggies. Here are some helpful tips as you’re making it:
First, make sure you get the pizza dough out of the fridge. Let it stand at room temperature as the oven heats and you do all the prep work. Trust me, this is a crucial step. Room-temp dough is much easier to work with than cold dough. That cold dough will snap back and fight you as you try to roll or stretch it out. But room-temp dough? It’s much more well behaved.
For the onions, I recommend standard yellow onions—not sweet onions, which (with the butternut) would take the pizza in a too-sweet direction. Besides, the standard guys gain a little sweetness through the caramelization process. I call to vertically slice them, which helps them hold their shape better. It basically looks like this:
As for caramelizing those onions, I encourage you to exercise patience. Don’t try to rush the process by turning up the heat; you won’t get the silky texture you’re after. Listen as the onions cook; if you hear too much sizzle, they may be sticking or scorching—at which point you should stir in a tablespoon of water. This is what they should look like when they’re ready (this is before I stirred in the thyme and salt):
Now for the squash. Do the prep for this as the onions are cooking. Since you’re aiming for long ribbons, choose a squash with a long neck; this will make creating long ribbons much easier. Here’s the one I used:
I peeled the entire neck with a vegetable peeler, then cut it off near the bulb. I then cut the neck in half vertically, then into a few one-inch thick slabs. Then I ran the vegetable peeler over the slabs to create ribbons; I found it easiest to start at the farther edge and pull the peeler toward me. You’ll have leftover squash, which is perfect for cubing and roasting for a side dish or to puree for a soup.
Once you toss your squash with a little oil and salt, it's time to assemble the pizza. Stretch the dough into a 12-inch circle on a piece of parchment paper. The paper allows you to lift the pizza, on the paper, and place everything (paper and all) on the hot pizza stone. You still get the crispy crust, and the whole process is much easier than trying to slide the dough from a pizza peel onto the hot stone. Once the dough is shaped, top with the onions.
Now pile on the squash. It may seem like a lot, but it cooks down a good bit in the oven.
Pop that guy in a 500°F oven for 10 or so minutes, then take it out and brush a little oil onto the outer rim of the crust; this adds sheen and flavor. Now top with cheese, sage, hazelnuts, and black pepper. (If you add the cheese before the pizza goes in the oven, it will turn into buttery goo; it’s delicious, but it just melts away to have a visual impact. The residual heath from the hot pizza will soften and slightly melt the cheese anyway.) That’s it! Enjoy!!