Squash and arugula pizzas
(vegetarian, opt. gluten-free, opt. vegan)
by Sean Kinlin
These can be easily made with whatever crust you want to use, but the below recipe makes a nice wheat crust. However, you can also make or buy a gluten-free crust – just follow the directions on the package.
Prep times: Note that, except for the squash, most of the prep times overlap with cooking or dough rising times. The total approximate time for this recipe from start to finish is about an hour and 10 minutes.
Squash: 10 minutes
Crust: 40 minutes
Other toppings: 10 minutes
Squash: 45 minutes
Pizza baking: 15 min
Crust for 2 pizzas (12 to 14 inch diameter):
2 cups warm water
1 heaping tablespoon instant yeast
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups white flour
3 cups whole wheat flour
extra flour and corn meal for pan and for handling dough
Toppings for 2 pizzas:
1 pound gouda cheese, shredded. Can substitute with vegan or other cheese as well.
1 small to medium butternut squash, pumpkin, or equivalent amount of other squash (delicata, acorn, etc.)
2 cups washed and chopped fresh arugula, spinach, and/or other veggies as desired
First, cook the squash. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees (F). Slice the squash in half vertically, scooping out the guts*, and placing the halves cut side down in a baking pan. Fill the pan with a half-inch of water, and place in the oven. Cooking time should be 45 minutes or less, depending on the size of the squash. While the squash is cooking, start the crust – see below.
Test for doneness by sticking a fork through the skin into the flesh. It should easily pass through. When done, drain the water and allow squash halves to cool with cut side up. Then remove skin and slice flesh (quarter-inch thick slices work well; they can be up to 3 inches long). If you have gone ahead and made the crust while the squash was cooking, turn up the oven to 500.
While the squash is cooking and cooling, start the crust. To make the crust, put water in a medium to large mixing bowl, and add yeast and salt. Mix these ingredients, either with electric mixer or by hand, and add the flours while mixing – one cup at a time. Once the dough is completely mixed, knead in mixer for 6 minutes (or hand knead for 2 minutes). Let sit in bowl (covered with a clean towel) to rise for 15 to 20 minutes.
After the dough has risen, punch it down, then divide into 2 balls (using white flour to handle it). Flatten each ball into a small disk, then leave these to rise another 10 to 15 minutes.
While the crust is on its second rise, shred the cheese and prepare the arugula and/or any other toppings.
Preheat oven to 500 degrees. To assemble each pizza, sprinkle a layer of corn meal on a round pizza pan or a pizza stone. (You can use a rectangular pan if you don’t have a round one.) Take a disk of dough and place it on the pan/stone, keeping hands floured to avoid sticking, and spread the dough out to appropriate diameter. Place half of the chopped arugula on each prepared crust, then cover with half of the cheese. Place half of the squash slices on top of the cheese, distributing them evenly over the surface of the pizza. Once pizza is assembled, bake for 13-15 minutes. It should be done when crust is hard and cheese has browned in spots. Let cool for at least 5 minutes before slicing.
*As with pretty much all squash and pumpkins, you can clean and toast the seeds. See the previous post on delicata squash for instructions.