Friday, October 14, 2011

Recipe: Harvest Pizza

 We make pizzas on the grill all summer long and they are incredible. The fire and high heat of the grill gets the dough to a perfect crunchiness with a little bit of charring. I wanted to get one more pizza in before the temps dropped too low but was lacking my usual go-to toppings. This turned out to be what my man Bob Ross would have called a happy accident.

Instead of basil and olives and peppers, I had potatoes, carrots and turnips on hand. And some sage. And garlic. And butternut squash. Hmm, would all of these somehow work together? The answer is a resounding hell yeah! This pizza was perfectly different-- earthy, deep deep flavors, complex and really exciting. Bring those neglected root veggies center stage and make yourself a Harvest Pizza tonight.

Harvest Pizza

3 medium potatoes, cubed
Half of a small butternut squash, cubed
1 large turnip, cubed
2 carrots, sliced
1 Small eggplant, cubed (optional, I happened to have one in the back of the fridge)
3 tomatoes, cored and sliced
Nice bunch of fresh sage leaves, sliced or chopped
Pizza dough (I use Portland Pie Company's)
Olive oil (if you have a flavored oil or basting oil even better)
3 Tb butter
1/2-3/4 cup of milk or cream
3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 425. Put all of the vegetables except the tomatoes in a large bowl. Toss with enough olive oil to coat, add salt and pepper, toss again. Spread out on a baking tray and bake for about 30 minutes or until they just start to brown on the edges and collapse a bit. Stir them around once during baking.
2. Lay your sliced tomatoes on the edges of a colander or on a mesh splatter guard, anywhere they can drain. Salt them liberally and let them sit for 10 minutes. Then place on a lightly oiled tray and put them in the oven for the final 15 minutes of the other veggies' bake time.
3. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add most of the sage leaves and cook for a few minutes. Then slowly add the milk, whisking while you do, and then the cheese. Keep your eye on this and whisk continually until thick, around 15 minutes depending on the type of milk you use. I used 2%, and at 10 minutes I threw in half a handful of flour, which definitely helped to get the thick pizza-sauce consistency I needed.
4. Prep your dough and spread your sauce and toppings on as usual, root veggies first and then the tomatoes. Sprinkle the remaining sage leaves on top, and finally the mozzarella if using. Cook until done and enjoy!

How to cook pizza on the grill
1. Pre-heat grill on high with cover down for 3 or 4 minutes and brush olive oil on to one side of the dough.
2. Put dough, oil side down, directly on the grill grates. The high heat will prevent it from slipping through and set it up immediately.
3. Oil side facing you while lower side cooks.
4. Have all of your toppings ready to go because things happen fast from this point on.
5. Lower heat to low (or move to cool part of the grill) and flip dough over (time will vary, just keep checking till done to your liking). A pizza peel really helps here.
6. Apply sauce, toppings and cheese as quickly as possible. Close cover so cheese melts, and keep your eye on the bottom of the crust so it doesn't burn. Remove from grill when bubbly, crunchy and just slightly charred.

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