Week 23: Zucca di zucca

The burst of subconscious virtuousness that comes from first buying butternut squash makes it easier to put a pint of ice cream in the cart later.

Charles Duhigg
Vegan Butternut Squash Pizza

As a lifelong vegetarian, going out to eat with meat eating friends pretty much consisted of ordering a salad. You might get lucky enough to order soup, if it wasn’t made with chicken or beef stock. It’s only been in the last decade when some areas of the country have finally started to offer more plant-based meals. One of the few dishes I remember having and loving as a child was butternut squash soup from Wolfgang Puck’s. It was creamy, delicious, and smelled of a bountiful fall harvest.

I have such strong memories of this velvety soup that I wanted to recreate that “mouth feel” on a pizza. In week 14 we tried a butternut squash pizza recipe, but with frozen, organic butternut squash cubes, because we couldn’t find any whole butternut squash in season.

It was OK. The pizza was great, but I picked the butternut squash off my pizza. So, I wouldn’t call that a big success.

According to Bon Appétit, butternut squash is available year-round (which means you really shouldn’t have to buy it frozen), and is best from early fall through winter. In our local grocery store, however, it showed up in early summer.

We decided to recreate a similar recipe using real squash, using the leftovers to make soup.

We didn’t realize how hard it would be to cut the squash. It was really, really hard. This prompted me to ask for a proper chef’s knife for my birthday next week, instead of less practical things like a drum or a hula hoop. Butternut squash requires a chef’s knife, chainsaw, or meat cleaver.

To save your fingers, if you are trying this for the first time, here’s a helpful tutorial I found, after we had been hacking away at our squash for about 20 minutes. The one part of the tutorial we did not follow, that in retrospect would have been very helpful, is to put it in the microwave for two minutes before trying to peel it.

I’m not going to run out and buy another whole butternut squash again, but if I ever do, I won’t skip the microwave step.

So far this year we’ve made about forty pizzas. I’m getting pretty good at making and rolling out the dough, if I do say so myself. I can roll the crust pretty thin and get consistent results every time.

What makes each pizza unique are the toppings. For this pizza, we made a variation of our week 14 pizza, inspired by vegan chef Chloe Coscarelli. Her butternut squash, caramelized onion, and apple pizza has a white bean puree base. We tried it her way and then again using vegan mozzarella and decided the cheese version tastes better to us.

Cheese makes everything better. It also balances the earthy flavor of the squash, the sweetness of the caramelized onions, and the tartness of the apples. The flavor combo here is tasty, one of our favorites.

Unbaked Vegan Butternut Squash Pizza

Ingredients

For the roasted squash
  • 2 cups peeled and cubed butternut squash
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
For the onion and apple topping
  • 1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium red apple, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
Other ingredients
  • pizza dough of your choice
  • shredded vegan mozzarella cheese
Baked Vegan Butternut Squash Pizza

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°.
  2. Place butternut squash cubes in a bowl. Cover with 2 tablespoons olive oil, salt and pepper.
  3. Turn out onto a baking sheet or pan. Roast for 25-30 minutes, until squash is tender. (Note: if your squash cubes are small, roasting time will be less. Don’t let them burn.)
  4. While the squash is baking, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet.
  5. Over medium-high heat, sauté the onions until soft and lightly browned, about 20 minutes. (It seriously takes this long. If you are impatient, like me, this will seem like a long, long time!)
  6. Season with salt and pepper. (Note: don’t add salt in the early stages of frying the onions. Wait. Be patient.)
  7. Add the sliced apples and fry another 4-6 minutes.
Cut and Cooling, Butternut Squash Vegan Pizza

Assembly

  1. When your butternut squash comes out of the oven, turn it up to 450°. You want your oven hot for pizza.
  2. Roll out your dough to your desired thickness. We made this one one a thinner crust pizza.
  3. Sprinkle a handful of mozzarella around the pizza, leaving a 1/2 inch edge.
  4. Slide the onion and apple mixture out of the pan and on to your pizza, using a spoon or tongs to even it out.
  5. Top with the roasted butternut squash.
  6. Bake for 12-14 minutes, depending on the size of your pizza and the temperature of your oven.
  7. Let cool for 5 minutes, then slice, eat, and enjoy!
Slices of Vegan Butternut Squash Pizza

We liked this pizza, but I don’t think we’ll be trying to cut up another butternut squash again anytime soon. Although, if I get that chef’s knife for my birthday, I might consider it. Since it’s my birthday, I might be adding that pint of ice cream too!

If you make this or any vegan pizza recipes, we’d love to know about it @52veganpizzas. Buon appetito!

Published by 52veganpizzas

We're a couple living in the Bay Area who are committed to a pie a week in 2020. Join us!

One thought on “Week 23: Zucca di zucca

  1. Would love to know how you made the soup too! This pizza looks so delicious. I’ve not ever tried apples and squash.

    Like

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