Shredded sharp cheddar, roasted butternut squash, fresh tart cranberries, tangy red onion and pungent blue cheese top this incredible autumn-inspired harvest pizza. A finishing drizzle of balsamic glaze adds zing and sweetness, for an irresistible pizza pie.
This pizza can serve two functions.
- It’s great made all fresh ingredients, like I did here.
- Or … it could serve as the best vehicle for Thanksgiving leftovers. Move over turkey sandwich. Afterall, the turkey is my least favorite dish on Thanksgiving – it’s really all about the sides. And typically, in our family at least, we have plenty of sides left over. Like cranberry sauce, roasted veggies, leftover cheese from cheese plates, etc. A pizza crust serves as the tastiest place to use up all those Thanksgiving leftovers. You could add: dollops of cranberry sauce, bits of stuffing, roasted veggies, chunks of cheese, etc. Just don’t overload the pizza.
Adrian and I recently took a pizza making class at Baking Steel, with Andris, the founder. (Baking Steel is basically a pizza stone, but made of steel – you get far better thermal conductivity for an amazing crust on steel vs stone.) We learned many important things about pizza, a few of which are:
- Less is more when it comes to toppings. Adrian always emphasized in our pizza-making-past, but I typically didn’t listen. Too many toppings equals a soggy pizza and no one wants that. Plus you’ll have a hard time transfering the pizza to the oven.
- Homemade dough is the way to go. Usually. Store-bought dough pales in comparison to homemade dough in flavor, texture, ease of use, etc. Guess it’s an obvious one, but I didn’t realize how flavor is affected in a such a large way. All that being said, sometimes (ok, most times), after a long day with the kiddos, the last thing I want to do is make pizza dough from scratch while two screaming kiddos run circles around me waiting on dinner. Plus, there is always a very large mess that goes along with making homemade dough, especially with kiddos. Sometimes that’s ok, other times not so much. Making your own dough is easy, but it’s messy. Adrian actually used to always make our pizza dough. Then kids came along. So. For days when there’s extra time (what’s that?) and when Adrian is home, homemade dough is a very good idea. Other days, store-bought dough is a better idea. This Harvest Pizza is made from the dough balls you buy refrigerated at your local grocery store.
- 72 hour pizza dough is the best. At the pizza class, Andris taught us how to make his 72 hour dough. Now that dough requires foresight, planning and patience … but it’s worth it, because the flavor is better than any pizza crust you’ve ever tasted. But you gotta plan ahead to make the dough and let it rest for 72 hours before you can work with it. We haven’t made it yet at home.
So. For this pizza, you’re working the dough into two 11-inch pies (one pie would be too large to fit on our Baking Steel and probably too small for your pizza stone too).
Then, you’re topping with these sweet, tart, savory, nutty, tangy and umami-rich ingredients. Have you tried cranberries on a pizza? What about blue cheese? You are in for a treat.
Here’s how to make this Harvest Pizza:
- 1 16 ounce refridgerated pizza dough at room temperature
- 6 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 2 cups cubed and roasted butternut squash or sub another roasted veggie
- 1 cup fresh cranberries washed and picked over
- 1/4 red onion thinly sliced
- 2 ounces blue cheese crumbled
- freshly ground pepper
- balsamic glaze optional
- Preheat oven to 500 degrees with Baking Steel or pizza stone inside on the top 2/3 of the oven.
- Lightly flour working surface and your hands. Divide dough into two even balls. Gently work dough balls into two approximately 11-inch pizza crusts. Add cheddar cheese evenly to both pizzas, leaving about a 1/2 inch border. Add roasted butternut squash, cranberries, red onion and blue cheese.
- Using a pizza peel, transfer pizza from working surface to Baking Steel or pizza stone, or pizza pan. Bake until crust and cheese are lightly browned and bubbly, rotating pizza 180 degrees after 2-3 minutes. Cooking time will vary, depending on oven. Ours took about 8-10 minutes total. Repeat with second pizza. Transfer pizzas to a baking rack and let cool 1-2 minutes. Top with freshly ground black pepper and balsamic glaze, if desired. Slice and serve.
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