As I mentioned in my post homemade pizza with feta & pesto last month, Mr E & I make our own pizza from scratch 95% of the time now. It's so straightforward to make your own pizza base, and of course it means you know exactly what the family is eating; rather than wondering what all of those long, unpronounceable words actually are in the ingredient list.
Now Mr E & I are creatures of habit, I guess like a lot of people. We often enjoy the same home made pizza; we know what we like! However, last week we decided to change it up a bit and use some different flavours on our pizza; after all, as they say "a change is as good as a rest!" So knowing that butternut squash and goats' cheese are a perfect marriage, we thought we'd give those flavours a whirl on our pizza.
We certainly weren't disappointed. The sweetness was brought out of the butternut squash during the roasting process and when served with the creamy goats' cheese a beautiful flavour combination was had. We'll certainly be using these flavours on our pizza again.
The pizza base was topped with our usual tomato sauce, scattered with a couple of handfuls of mozzarella, topped with chunks of roasted butternut squash, sprinkled with goats' cheese, and finished with a scattering of thyme leaves before baking in a hot oven. Mmmm, yum!
As I've mentioned before, I make the pizza base in the morning and allow it to prove in the fridge during the day. This allows me to get on with my day and assemble the pizza quickly when we're ready for our feast. It's simply a case of remembering to remove it from the fridge about 15 minutes before you're ready to shape it thus allowing it to come to room temperature. The sauce I use for my pizzas is made from a 400g can of tomatoes. This clearly makes a LOT of sauce, but I portion it into small Tupperware containers and freeze them, simply pulling a portion out of the freezer when required.
So, let's get to it and bake.
Butternut Squash, Goats' Cheese & Thyme Pizza
Yield: 1 large pizza
Serves: 2 adults, generously
Time: Dough 15 minutes, plus proving time. Tomato sauce 15 - 20 minutes. Baking time 10-12 minutes.
You will need:
1 large flat baking tray (ideally with no sides)
Grease proof paper
For the pizza dough
50g Strong Wholemeal Bread Flour
160g Strong White Bread Flour
3g Easybake Yeast
1 tbsp. Virgin Olive Oil
125ml approx. Lukewarm water.
For the tomato Sauce (this will make sufficient for 4 or 5 pizzas) (freezable)
400g tin Tomatoes
pinch of Sugar
pinch of Salt
generous squirt of Tomato Puree
generous squirt of Garlic Puree (or 1 or 2 garlic cloves)
1-2 tsp dried Basil (or fresh)
For the topping
2 - 3 handfuls of Grated Mozzarella Cheese
½ Butternut Squash
70g rindless soft Goats' Cheese
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
How to make it:
1. Roast the butternut squash. Pre heat the oven to 220c / 200 Fan / Gas 7. Wash the butternut squash, and using a sharp knife cut it in half just above the bulbous part. Cut the main part of the squash into good sized chunks (you can leave the skin on, removing it after cooking) and place into an oiled roasting tin. Place in the oven and roast for about 20 minutes. The squash will be par-cooked at this point, but will be cooked through once the pizza is ready to serve. Remove from the baking tray & place onto some absorbent paper to remove any excess cooking oil. Set aside until you're ready to assemble your pizza.
2. Meanwhile make the pizza dough. Place the flours, salt and yeast in a good size bowl. Combine with your hand. Make a well in the flour. Add the olive oil & two thirds of the water. With your hand mix the flour into the liquid aiming to make a dough. Add more liquid as required. Once all the flour has been picked up with the dough and the bowl is 'clean', place the pizza dough onto the work surface.
3. Knead. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes.
4. Prove the pizza dough. Once it is smooth and stretchy place into a large clean bowl and cover with either cling film or a new (clean) shower-cap. Place either in the fridge (if you don't require the dough for several hours) or warm place if you're looking to eat within the next hour or two. Leave the dough until it has doubled in size.
5. Meanwhile make the tomato sauce topping. Place the tinned tomatoes (cutting the tomatoes up if you buy whole tomatoes, like us), sugar, salt, tomato purée, garlic purée and basil in a pan. Stir to combine. Place on the hob over a low to medium heat and allow to cook for about 15 to 20 minutes until the sauce has reduced by about half. Stir regularly to avoid the mixture from sticking and burning. You're aiming for a thick sauce.
6. Remove the dough from the fridge. Fifteen minutes before you're ready to assemble the pizza, remove the dough from the fridge, to bring back up to room temperature.
7. Preheat the oven to 250C / 230 Fan / Gas 9. Place a flat pizza tray in the oven to be heating.
8. Start the stretch the pizza dough. Place the pizza dough on a lightly floured work surface and knock-back. Start stretching the dough into a flat disc to form your pizza base. It will soon start to feel as though it wants to spring back. Leave it for a couple of minutes whilst you prepare your pizza toppings. Gently complete stretching the dough to form the pizza base, about 28 -
30cm diameter. Remember you don't want it too thick so it's not cooked
through; but not too thin so the dough tears.
9. Transfer the pizza base. Place the stretched pizza base onto a piece of greaseproof paper. Slide this onto a large chopping board. This will allow you to transfer the dressed uncooked pizza onto the heated cooking tray far more easily.
10. Dress the pizza. Place 3 or 4 teaspoons of the tomato sauce onto the pizza base & spread out. Scatter on the grated mozzarella. Remove the skin from the butternut squash and place chunks onto the pizza. Break up the goats' cheese and distribute over the pizza. Scatter the thyme leaves over the top.
11. Bake the pizza. Remove the heated baking tray from the oven. Slide the uncooked pizza from the chopping board onto the baking tray. Place the tray back in the oven and bake for 10 - 12 minutes. You may need to rotate the tray after about 8 minutes.