Pumpkin Pizza for the Holidays!
I have a lot of fun planning for the holiday meals, from the table decor to the food! I get inspired walking through the farmer’s market, taking in the colors and the fresh smells of the produce, the fall harvest of pumpkins, pomegranates, persimmons… Often, just as I sample a good cheese, a great meal takes shape in my mind and I can’t wait to share it with my family and friends. I start mixing and pairing flavors in my imagination wondering if they are as good in reality.
For Thanksgiving this year I thought of offering small pumpkin pizzas as appetizers to start off the meal. I did a test run in the wood fired oven and I loved the results, I hope you and your guests will too.
After making the pumpkin appetizer pizzas, I had extra dough and wanted to try something our customers Elisa and Jay Arne of Penn Valley, CA mentioned in an email to me: their children garnished a pizza with Nutella, among other ingredients, as dessert. And the way life is, a few days later the chef at Urbano Pizza Bar had us taste a small pizza dessert with hazelnut spread. Visions of chocolatey pizza lingered and I did my own version, couldn’t resist…
Pumpkin Pizza with Sage, Caramelized Onions and Ricotta Cheese
- 1/2 medium-small organic Kabocha squash or pumpkin, cut in 1″ cubes, about 2 cups
- 1 red onion, sliced
- 1 handful of fresh sage leaves
- 1/2 small basket of fresh ricotta cheese
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 tablespoon red balsamic vinegar
- Sea salt to taste
- Optional: prosciutto slices to garnish
Click here for Pizza Dough recipe and How-to-video
Prepare your pizza dough, divide in small 3-ounce balls, and let it rise.
Clean and cut the Kabocha squash or pumpkin in 1″ cubes.
Ahead of time: I love the option of preparing garnishes ahead, so that I can spend more time with my guests. Steam the cubed pumpkin for 10 minutes until soft. Add salt to taste. Add two tablespoons of olive oil and 1/2 tablespoon red balsamic vinegar mixing well, mashing the cubes a little bit with the fork, and set aside. In a skillet slowly saute the sliced onion with a tablespoon of olive oil until slightly browned. Salt to taste. Set aside.
At the oven: If you prefer to stay by the oven and bake everything in it, then use a cast iron skillet with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and add the cubed pumpkin, salt to taste. Place on the hot oven floor, taking care to keep it closer to the opening for a cooler spot to avoid burning. Place some foil on top of skillet if needed. Bake until soft and then mash the cubes a bit with a fork. In another skillet slowly cook the sliced onion until it has slightly browned. Salt to taste.
Flatten a pizza ball with your hands and shape. Place on wooden peel. Brush surface with olive oil and garnish with pumpkin, ricotta cheese, and onion. Lastly place 3 leaves of sage after having dipped them in olive oil.
Note: Don’t get any food or oil spills on the wooden peel! This will make your life difficult when you try to slide the pizza in the oven… the pie might stick.
Slide the pizza in your oven, bake, and serve! If you like prosciutto, then add a slice of it after the pizza is out of the oven.
Next, I made the dessert pizzas. Same pizza dough recipe, same 3 ounce pizza balls, but garnishing first with a lovely plum jam, spread evenly over the pie. Then a glob of hazelnut spread (like Nutella) in the middle, with strategically placed ricotta around it and two slices of fresh figs. You want to keep the chocolate from “running” off the pie, so that’s where the ricotta comes in handy. Do not bite into this pizza right away since the sugar in the ingredients will be super hot. Wait for it to cool down!
I posted a lot more photos of the whole process on our FaceBook page, check them out under the Pizza and the holidays album. Isn’t it fun to have a wood fired oven? I love showing it off during the holidays, love the pleasantly surprised exclamations of my guests when they discover we cook the whole meal in the oven…
Here at Los Angeles Ovenworks we wish you a wonderful holiday season, one in which you will experiment, have fun, and bake good food. Buon appetito!