The combination of flavors in this pizza is unexpected and delicious. In-season ingredients like squash and walnuts, in addition to smoky flavors like pancetta and roasted red peppers, make this pizza the essence of autumn.
Fall in Florida
In Florida we really have to ease into autumn, otherwise you really start to question your own mental stability. “What was I thinking???” is what you will ask yourself as you sweat through your long-sleeve cotton shirt while you sip a pumpkin spice latte on any given 85 degree evening. So you find less warm ways to work in the season’s treasures. Well, I do anyway.
I eat pumpkin yogurt and drink pumpkin spice iced coffee, and buy as much seasonal produce as I can work into my meal line-up. This Butternut Squash Pesto Pizza is the perfect addition. It has all the flavors of fall, without being as dependant on cold weather as a soup.
We bring it out to the backyard table and pretend it’s 15 degrees cooler than it actually is.
Putting The Pizza Together
After roasting the squash and onions, you spread the pesto on your partially baked pizza crust.
Then you top it with the squash and onion mixture. Add chopped roasted red bell peppers and walnuts.
Sauté some pancetta.
Time for cheese! Asiago and Feta.
Bake for another 6-10 minutes and then this golden brown beauty is ready!
Kick back with a glass of wine and enjoy a ridiculously good introduction to fall (or really, just a great pizza any time of year).
Butternut Squash Pesto Pizza
- 2 1/2 cups diced peeled butternut squash
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 1 Tablespoon packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 homemade pizza crust* OR store bought pizza dough
- 4 ounces pancetta diced (you can easily make this vegetarian by omitting)
- 3 Tablespoons basil pesto (I use store bought)
- 1/2 cup chopped drained roasted red bell peppers from 7-oz jar
- 1/3 cup Chopped Walnuts
- 1 cup shredded Asiago cheese 4 oz
- 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese 2 oz
Heat oven to 400°F. In medium bowl, mix squash, onion, brown sugar, salt, black pepper and 1 1/2 tablespoons of the oil. Spread mixture on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until squash is tender and you can easily pierce it with a fork.
Spray large baking sheet or pizza pan with non-stick spray. Lay pizza dough on pan or stretch into a 13×9-inch rectangle on a baking sheet. Bake at 400°F 7 to 10 minutes or until light golden brown.
Meanwhile, in 10-inch skillet, over medium heat, cook pancetta until fat is rendered, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Drain on paper towels.
Spread pesto over partially baked crust. Top with squash mixture, pancetta, roasted peppers, walnuts and cheeses.
Bake 6 to 8 minutes longer or until edges are golden brown. You may need to turn the oven to broil during the last 2 minutes of cooking. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
Adapted from Pillsbury
*You can use a store bought pizza crust, or you can make your own. This pizza dough recipe is my go to. It makes two balls of dough, so use one for this pizza, and freeze the other one. That extra pizza dough means you have 1 of the 5 ingredients needed to make this for dinner.