Monday, October 4, 2010

Acorn squash puree as a pizza sauce

Because we receive a weekly delivery from a co-op, we have been trying a wider variety of fruits and vegetables. In a recent delivery I got two beautiful acorn squashes, which I had always heard of, but never had a chance to try in all of their organic splendor. Some Internet research prepared me for a sweet, slightly nutty, earthy squash, but most of what I found as far as recipe ideas ran along the lines of:

roasted and candied as a side dish
served as a soup, or
pureed as baby food

Now, those ideas all sounded perfectly respectable, but I really wanted to try something new, to challenge the idea that squash has such a limited use. The result? I decided that this was a great opportunity to further explore my pizza experiments. I have already made sweet potato herb crust (and I have also substituted butternut squash, as well as zucchini, to make similar crusts), but I decided that I wanted to use my usual yeast crust, and this time use a squash puree in place of the normal tomato sauce. If you know someone that is allergic to tomatoes, has issues with acidity, or just likes to try "something different", I hope that this is giving you ideas.

***note: acorn squash is available year-round, and is in peak season October-December. This is a fresh option when tomatoes are not in season, and squash is a great source for  nutrients and fiber.

I removed the seeds, put them aside to toast later, and roasted both acorn squashes at 350° (app. 176°C*) for one hour. Removing them from the oven to cool enough to handle, I then scooped the flesh out of the skin, pureed each squash (reserving one for tomorrow's experiment . . . Acorn Squash Cookies ), and added basil, thyme and crushed rosemary to the remaining puree.

Once a batch of yeast crust had risen, and been rolled out, I spread this squash mixture on the crust, topped with mozzarella and bacon, and baked at 450° for app. 15 minutes. The result was unexpected, but both hubby and I want to repeat this recipe in the future. We love tomato sauce (and the occasional Alfredo sauce), but while tomato sauce is slightly acidic and naturally sweet, this has an earthy sweetness that brings out something special in the mozzarella. Next time I want to use a whole wheat crust, and top with veggies (onion, mushroom, maybe some yellow, orange, or red bell pepper) along with the applewood smoked bacon for that slightly smokey salt that is the perfect foil for the sweetness of the sauce.

Yet again, do not adjust your monitor, LOL. This is the acorn squash  and herb  puree spread on the crust, before  I added  mozzarella and bacon. Once the cheese and bacon were in place, this just looked like a "normal" pizza.

*I use an online conversion chart and round up or down, as seems appropriate. Please adjust according to your judgement, and send me a message if you find an error. Thank you.

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