On Friday night pizza night, my dilemma is that if I make the pizza to please everyone, we will end up with tomato and mozzarella pizza. Always. And Only.
There's a reason that that classic combination has endured, and I am a fan. But it's the lowest common denominator of pizzas, really. The pizza that appeals to everyone. No matter how good it is, something about its universal appeal tempts me to get in there and mix it up.
I usually just see what is languishing in the vegetable bin or the cheese drawer, or what leftovers are hiding in the back of the refrigerator. Pizza is a great way to use up the odds and ends. Sometimes the combinations work and sometimes they don't, but it is always fun to play.
One night I had a bit of delicata squash left over and I decided to try slicing it thinly to see whether it would cook sufficiently in the 10 minutes or so that it takes to cook the pizza. Delicata squash is great to cook with because it doesn't have to be peeled; the rind is tender enough to eat. I had a bit of Stilton on hand and some sage wintering over in the yard. Thrown together, they were quite tasty: the sweetness of the squash was a great foil for the earthy sage and tangy Stilton.
Because squash and Stilton will send Chloe and -- depending on the day, Oscar -- in the opposite direction there was plenty left for those of us that wanted more adventure on the plate.
2009: Sage Risotto with Wild Mushrooms
2010: Cauliflower Soup with Stilton
2011: Caramelized Onion Dip
2012: Curried Apple Slaw
We prefer a light touch on the toppings and the measurements for the toppings on this pizza reflect that. If you prefer a cheesier pizza, add some mozzarella, too.
1 batch pizza dough (this is our favorite)
one medium delicata squash, scrubbed
olive oil for drizzling
4-5 ounces Stilton, crumbled
4-5 ounces mozzarella (optional)
handful of sage leaves, torn
pinch of sea salt
Make the dough ahead and when you are ready to cook the pizza, place a pizza stone or baking tiles in the oven and heat the oven to as high as your oven will go (usually about 450 to 500 degrees).
Lay a piece of parchment paper on a pizza peel or rimless baking sheet. Roll out the dough and transfer it onto the parchment paper. Drizzle olive oil over the dough and spread it evenly with a rubber spatula.
Cut the delicata squash in half and set half aside for another use. Scoop the seeds out of the middle of the squash with a spoon. Slice the delicata thinly into rings. Arrange the rings on top of the dough and sprinkle with salt. Flip the rings over. This is my cheaters way of coating both sides of the rings with a bit of olive oil.
Sprinkle on the Stilton and the sage leaves and the mozzarella, if you are using it. Transfer the pizza on the parchment paper onto the pizza stone. Bake until the crust is lightly brown and the cheese has melted, 8-12 minutes.