First "Dinner Party" at My Apartment!
Tonight was the first time that I invited a large-ish group of people (Katy, Kate, Tai, and Laura, plus Steve) over to my new place for dinner. Of course I've cooked dinner for Steve and myself many times, but this required a larger effort. In order to accommodate the larger number of people, I decided to cook something I could make in bulk. On the menu: butternut squash pizza on a homemade whole wheat crust. On the side: a simple green salad with olive oil, lemon juice, and feta, accompanied by fresh rustic Italian bread from the local bakery, with oil and cracked pepper for dipping.
The pizza turned out delicious! And I even have leftovers :) The crust was both perfectly crunchy and just chewy enough. The mix of cheeses on the pizza (romano and fontina) was perfect with the caramelized onions, and the nutmeg in the butternut squash gave it just the right amount of home-y spice flavor that I've been craving ever since autumn started to roll around.
To drink, we had a Sicilian table red: a 2005 Talia Sicilia Rosso. It was very ripe-fruity and mellow, a perfect complement to the pizza.
Butternut Squash Pizza
(makes 2 medium-size pizzas)
1 batch whole-wheat dough (see below)
1 butternut squash
1 1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 small yellow onions, thinly sliced
3/4 c. grated Romano
1 1/2 c. grated fontina
Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees. Cut squash in half lengthwise and remove seeds. Prick rind with a fork. Place cut-side down in a baking dish and add 1/4 inch water. Microwave on high 10 minutes, longer if not yet soft enough to scoop flesh out easily. Remove and cool. Scoop out flesh and mix in a bowl with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Heat oil over medium heat and saute onions until soft. Remove from heat and cool, season with salt. In a separate bowl, mix cheeses. Roll out each ball of pizza dough (see below) into a 10-inch round crust. On top of crusts, layer cheese, onions, and dollops of squash. Bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes, or until crust reaches the desired level of crispiness.
Whole-Wheat Pizza Dough (can be made in advance and refrigerated)
1 tsp white sugar
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 Tbsp active dry yeast
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
In a large bowl, dissolve sugar in warm water. Sprinkle yeast over top, let stand for 10 minutes, until foamy. Stir olive oil and salt into the mixture, then mix in the whole wheat flour and 1 cup of the all-purpose flour until dough comes together. Knead until the ball of dough becomes smooth, about 5 minutes. Cover bowl loosely with a towel and let stand in a warm place until dough is doubled in size, about 1 hour. Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and divide into 2 pieces. Form each piece into a tight ball. Let rise another 45 minutes, until doubled. If refrigerating for later use, wrap each ball in plastic wrap.