Butternut Squash

Caramelized Butternut Squash Pizza

November 22, 2021
5 Stars
Photo by Carolina Gelen
Author Notes

This month’s Recipe This or That poll winners were homemade dough, butternut squash, mozzarella, maple syrup, and baking. I knew exactly what I was going to make: your new favorite pizza. One of my objectives was to highlight the butternut squash’s flavor, instead of masking it into something like faux pepperoni or bacon. So I kept it simple with maple syrup, black pepper, coriander, cayenne, and enough salt to contrast all the sweetness. Roast until deeply browned (that means lots of sweet, awesome flavor). To really lean in to the poll, more maple syrup gets mixed into the pizza dough and brushed onto the crust at the end. After I pulled out my pizzas, I was shocked by how well it all worked. Creamy cheese, candied squash, savory shallot, spicy pepper, citrusy coriander. Just don’t shy away from the salt at the end—it brings everything together. If you aren’t into homemade doughs, feel free to swap in store-bought pizza dough for ease. Also, if you’d like to plan ahead, you can proof the dough overnight in the fridge instead of at room temperature; this yields a more deeply flavored crust. And if you’d prefer to make larger instead of smaller pizzas, you can divide the dough into three or two pieces instead of four, roll them into bigger circles, then extend the cook time accordingly. —Carolina Gelen

  • Prep time 2 hours 40 minutes
  • Cook time 1 hour 20 minutes
  • makes 4 small pizzas
Ingredients
  • Pizza Dough
  • 135 grams (about ⅔ cup) lukewarm water
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 205 grams (about 1¾ cups) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1/2 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
  • Toppings
  • 1 pound butternut squash, halved lengthwise, seeded, and thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup, plus more for finishing
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons coriander seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne
  • 400 grams (about 1¾ cups) ricotta
  • 400 grams low-moisture mozzarella, grated (about 3½ cups)
  • 1 medium shallot, thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • Flaky salt, for sprinkling (optional)
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. Make the dough: In a medium bowl, stir together the water, olive oil, maple syrup, and yeast. Once the yeast has dissolved, add in the flour and salt. Using a fork or spoon, mix everything until you have a shaggy dough. Knead the dough for about 2 minutes, until there are no more dry spots. Shape the dough into a ball, place it in an oiled bowl, cover it, and let it proof for 1½ to 2 hours in a warm spot, until doubled in size.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the oven to 375°F. Place the butternut squash on a parchment-lined rimmed sheet pan. Drizzle with the olive oil and maple syrup and sprinkle with the salt, pepper, coriander seeds, and cayenne. Toss to coat, then spread into an even layer. Roast for 30 to 40 minutes, flipping the squash halfway through, until it’s deeply browned. Transfer the squash to a big plate and discard the parchment.
  3. Divide the proofed dough into 4 pieces. Shape each piece of dough into a ball, grease it with olive oil, and let it rest on your working surface, covered, for 5 to 10 minutes.
  4. Increase the oven heat to 450°F. Place two sheet pans on lower racks to heat for 10 minutes (you can reuse the emptied one from the squash).
  5. Dust each dough ball with flour, then use your hands to pat and stretch it into a circle 6 to 8 inches in diameter. Remove the hot sheet pans from the oven and drizzle each with oil. Evenly divide the four dough circles between the sheet pans. Bake for about 8 minutes—the crust will still be pale at this point, but should be mostly cooked through.
  6. Take out the sheet pans. Position a rack in the top quarter of the oven and turn on the broiler. To each crust, add a quarter of your toppings: ricotta, mozzarella, shallot, garlic, and squash (and all its crispy seasonings). Brush a little maple syrup on the crusts and sprinkle all over with kosher or flaky salt. One sheet pan at a time, broil the pizzas for 2 to 3 minutes, until the cheese is gooey and slightly charred. Drizzle with oil to finish.

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Carolina is a resident at Food52. She's also one of the hosts of Choose Your Own Recipe Adventure, our YouTube show where our Food52 readers pick the ingredients and techniques for a brand new recipe. Carolina recently immigrated to the U.S. from Transylvania, a place she spent most of her life. She continues to get inspired by the classic Romanian and Hungarian foods she was raised on, creating approachable, colorful, and fun recipes. For more cooking ideas and candid moments, check out her Instagram @carolinagelen.

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