Pizza Party!

We had a great dinner this weekend. Instead of regular pepperoni or cheese pizza, we went all out and made ourselves two delicious gourmet pizzas — a Winter Squash pizza (featured in The Oregonian’s FoodDay) and a Prosciutto & Arugula pizza (via America’s Test Kitchen). They were so, so good. Greasy pepperoni pizza has nothing on these two exquisite culinary masterpieces! With our pizzas we had a delicious salad with mixed greens, walnuts, pears, tomatoes and a few other secret ingredients 🙂

This weekend we also painted some plates that will be used for future Friday Night Dinners, but were made especially for a very exciting FND event we will be having on November 30th. I’m not going to tell you too much, but it is a pretty big thing for our group and will allow us to share the magic of our dinners with other people.

In the meantime, take a look at the recipes for the pizzas we made this week and try them out yourselves!

Winter Squash Pizza: 

Ingredients:

  • 2 small delicatas squash or 1/2 butternut squash — it needs to weigh about 1 lb.
  • Salt
  • 1 lb. pizza dough (we used dough from Trader Joe’s — SO GOOD!)
  • 1/3 lb. parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 sweet onion, diced into 1/2 inch pieces
  • handful of sage leaves, coarsely chopped
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. The day before: If your squash is large, cut it in half (you only need about a pound). Peel and scoop out the seeds, then slice very thin (about 1/8-inch thick). Fill a large bowl with water, and salt until it tastes quite salty, and add the squash slices. Let sit overnight.
  2. When you’re ready to make the pizza, take your dough out of the fridge if it’s refrigerated, and let come to room temperature for an hour. Preheat your oven to 500° Farenheit, and place a rack near the top.
  3. While the oven is heating and the dough is warming, prepare the filling. Drain the squash, then place in a large bowl and toss with the grated cheese, onion, and sage leaves. Drizzle in a few spoonfuls of olive oil, until it’s well coated, and season with salt and pepper (you shouldn’t need too much salt, since the squash will have taken in some salt from its soak, but you want to have enough to offset the squash’s sweetness). Set aside.
  4. Grease a half-sheet tray with olive oil, or line with parchment. Turn the dough out onto a lightly-floured countertop, and gently stretch out into a long rectangle. If the dough resists, let sit for a few minutes to relax, and try again. When the dough is stretched out, transfer to the prepared tray, then push-pull it until it is evenly spread to the edges.
  5. Sprinkle the squash filling evenly over the dough, right up to the edges. Bake until the squash is baked and starting to brown, and any dough you can see appears cooked, ~20-30 minutes. Let cool slightly, slice into squares, and serve.
  6. **We drizzled the pizza with a little honey after it cooked to add some sweetness and it was great!

Prosciutto & Arugula Pizza: 

(This recipe makes enough for 4 large pizzas.)

Ingredients:

Dough:

  • 6 cups bread flour
  • 4 tsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. instant or rapid-rise yeast
  • 2 2/3 cups ice water
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp. salt

Sauce: 

  • 1 can whole peeled tomatoes; drained with juice reserved
  • 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. red wine vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper

Pizza: 

  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 cups mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup baby arugula
  • 2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 oz. thinly sliced prosciutto, cut into 1-inch strips

Directions:

Dough: 

  1. Process flour, sugar, and yeast together in food processor until combined, about 5 seconds. With processor running, slowly add water. Continue to process until dough is just combined and no dry flour remains, about 15 seconds. Let dough sit for 10 minutes.
  2. Add oil and salt and continue to process until dough forms satiny, sticky ball that clears sides of bowl, about 1 minute. Transfer dough to lightly oiled counter and knead briefly until smooth, about 1 minute. Shape dough into ball, place in large greased bowl, and cover tightly with greased plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 24 hours and up to 3 days.

Sauce: 

  1. Process drained tomatoes with oil, vinegar, garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper in food processor until smooth, about 30 seconds. Transfer mixture to liquid measuring cup and add reserved tomato juice until sauce measures 2 cups. (Sauce can be refrigerated for up to 1 week).

Pizzas: 

  1. Position oven rack 4 1/2 inches from top of oven. Remove dough from refrigerator and divide into 4  equal pieces. Shape each piece into smooth ball and place on lightly oiled baking sheet, spaced 3 inches apart (you will use 1 piece for each pizza, so if you’re only making one, refrigerate the remaining 3 pieces). Cover loosely with greased plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour.
  2. Working with 1 piece of dough at a time, coat dough generously with flour and place on well-floured counter. Using fingertips, gently flatten dough into 8-inch disk, leaving 1 inch of outer edge, slightly thicker than centre. Using hands, gently stretch dough into 12-inch round, working along edges and giving dough quarter turns as you stretch.
  3. Heat oven to 500°F.
  4. Spread 1/2 cup tomato sauce over dough, leaving 1/4-inch border around edge. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan, followed by 1 cup mozzarella.
  5. Slide pizza into oven and bake until crust is well browned and cheese is bubbly, about 10-12 minutes. While pizza is cooking, toss arugula with oil in bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Once the pizza has finished baking, sprinkle prosciutto and dressed arugula over the pizza and serve.

Happy eating, everyone!

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