Friday, October 26, 2012

Squash and Bacon Pizza

So, in case I haven’t made it clear yet, I love pizza.  To be honest, in the past two weeks, I think I have had pizza four times.  One of them, that I had at Pizzeria Paradiso in Alexandria, Virginia, is what inspired this pizza.
It incorporates two of my favorite things: pizza and fall flavors.  And even though the temperature is supposed to hit 80 degrees this week (a big ol’ WTF to that!), the CSA’s and grocery stores are full of pumpkins and squash, and this is a different way to use them.
This pizza is also weight watchers friendly, unlike some of the pizzas I have posted about in the past (see gyro pizza and Indian inspired pizza).  One of my big things with pizza is that I will pretty much eat however much is put in front of my, so I had to come up with a recipe for dough that wouldn't break the bank, points-wise. In order to make it work, I make this crust very, very thin.  The dough is almost translucent when it is stretched out.  I prefer a thin crust pizza anyway, so this doesn't bother me at all, but if you prefer a thicker crust you can use the same amount of dough and just stretch it out less. Scott, my official pizza dough stretch, can make this dough cover our entire 14 inch cast-iron pizza pan.

Homemade Pizza Dough
Rising pizza dough
Serves 2, 7 Weight Watchers Points Plus

1 cup white flour
½ tablespoon olive oil
½ cup water
1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon bread machine yeast (I use this instead of a packet because I go through a decent  amount of yeast, and this will be fine in the fridge for a while)

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, or a food processor fitted with a dough blade, put the flour, salt and yeast.  Stir together.  Pour in the olive oil, and then slowly drizzle in the water with the machine on low.  The dough will start to come together, and when it pulls away from the sides and forms a ball you know it will be good.  If it is very sticky you may have to add more flour, but this could increase the points depending on how much you need. 

At this point, let the mixer or processor run for about 4-5 minutes to knead the dough.  Put the dough in a bowl coated with olive oil spray, turning the ball of dough to coat it, and cover with plastic wrap.  Let rise in a warm place for about an hour.

Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees.  I like to par-bake my pizza dough because I find it get crunchier this way.  Stretch your dough to the desired size.  If you stretch this size dough to cover a 14 inch pizza pan, bake it for 7-8 minutes until the top has a nice crustiness.  If you make it smaller and thicker, you will have to bake it for longer.  Once your pizza crust is par-baked, you are ready to top it.  Then you bake for another 7-8 minutes until done. 

Beautiful roasted squash
Squash and Bacon Pizza
Serves 2, 14 points per serving

One serving of pizza dough
1 small acorn squash
1 small onion
¼ cup water
Salt and pepper to taste
2 slices of bacon
3 ounces of cheese, shredded
Olive oil spray

Once your pizza dough is rising, you can get your other ingredients together.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds and put on a baking sheet. Peel and quarter the onion and put on the baking sheet.  Spray both with olive oil spray. Roast until the squash is soft about 45 minutes.
Onion with a hint of carmelization

Meanwhile, dice the bacon and sauté until crispy, then drain on paper towels.  Reserve for later.  Once the squash and onion are done, let rest until cool enough to handle, then scoop out the flesh into a measuring cup or food processer along with the onions, salt and pepper, and water.   You can also throw in some red pepper flakes for heat if that is your thing. Use a immersion blender or food processor to puree until smooth. 
Bacon getting crispy
Shred your cheese.  I think this works best with a nutty cheese, such as a gruyere or aged cheddar.  It brings out the flavor of squash.

Once your pizza dough is ready, par-bake as described in the first recipe.  Once half cooked, pull from the oven.  Spread the squash puree on the dough, then top with the cheese and bacon.  Cook for another 7-8 minutes until dough is crispy and cheese is melted.

The finished product!
Let cool for a few minutes, slice and enjoy!

I hope these pizza recipes have inspired you to branch out and try something completely different!

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