Individual Squash Mac and Cheese

Squash Mac and Cheese-5397 on Whisk Together

 

Oh yes, we have LOTS of spaghetti squash here thanks to Aldi.  The stock up store.  And their 69 cents squash sale!

Unless you want to stock up on: canned green chilies and whole wheat sandwich buns…. then you’re pretty much out of luck at Aldi. 🙂

But back to the squash.  This recipe is based on one of my favorite recipes: Cheesy Spaghetti Squash and Spinach.  On meal prep day, I will roast some items for lunches and include a few spaghetti squash.  I don’t recommend freezing this dish.  Squash just doesn’t usually freeze well and becomes very mushy.

Why I love this recipe:

1.  It’s super fast (once the squash is roasted)
2.  It’s full of flavor
3.  You can add what you want to it
4.  You can make it just for yourself because your kids aren’t being fooled by squash instead of pasta 🙂
5.  Simple ingredients you probably have at home
6.  It’s healthy, nutritious and filling

To pack this in your lunchbox, just layer everything in a sealed microwave safe bowl.  Then, at work you can just pop it into the microwave and stir!  Hot lunch that tastes as good as mac and cheese without all the calories.

How to Roast Spaghetti Squash:
The last post is how to roast all the squash on sale at Aldi.  But here is a refresher for spaghetti squash.

Cut it in half lengthwise.  Scoop out the seeds.  Spray the inside with a little olive oil.  Place cut side DOWN on a rimmed cookie sheet that has been sprayed with olive oil.  Bake 375 degrees for 40 minutes.  Or bake at 350 degrees for about an hour.  Or bake 400 degrees for 30 minutes.  It is soooo easy!  You can’t mess it up.  Then let it cool a little bit and drag your fork inside to get the “spaghetti”!  I would not recommend freezing the cooked spaghetti squash.

Trick for Scooping Seeds
The trick for scooping seeds out of the squash is… wait for it…. a grapefruit spoon!  Yes we love grapefruit spoons because they are NOT uni-taskers.  Instead, grapefruit spoons are perfect for using their serrated edges to scoop out the fibers and seeds inside your squash.

 

Squash Mac and Cheese-5388 on Whisk Together

Squash Mac and Cheese-5391 on Whisk Together

 

Squash Mac and Cheese-5393 on Whisk Together

Squash Mac and Cheese-5394 on Whisk Together

Individual Squash Mac and Cheese
Author: Mary Ellen P. Riley / Whisk Together
Ingredients
  • 1 cup roasted spaghetti squash
  • 1 Tb. milk
  • 1/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1-2 Tb. shredded Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/4-1/2 cup baby spinach (optional)
Instructions
  1. In a microwave safe bowl, add the spaghetti squash.
  2. Pour in a splash of milk (about a tablespoon).
  3. Sprinkle cheese on top.
  4. Sprinkle salt, pepper and onion powder.
  5. Stir in baby spinach.
  6. Microwave covered and on high for 30 seconds. Stir. Microwave for another 30 seconds if cheese needs to melt more. Mac and Cheese is ready once cheese is melted and the squash is hot.
  7. Top with more Parmesan cheese if you like.

 

 

How to Roast Squash

Roasted Acorn Squash on Whisk Together-5451

Book:  Still re-reading “The Last Child” by John Hart.  In the meantime, I discovered “The Good Wife” has Season 6 released on Hulu.  One of the smartest shows ever!  The writing is so funny, and you learn so much about the behind the scenes of politics and the law.

Recipes:  I almost titled this post “How to Roast Autumn”…. but then felt bad for the little girl I know 🙂

So… here is how to Roast Acorn Squash and the other Fall Vegetables.   I find roasting is my favorite way to eat vegetables (other than perhaps hidden in a warm soup).  It isn’t the fastest, but with a little prep you can have yummy veggies quick and easy while the main dish cooks.  This is also another reason why I love having a little convection oven in the kitchen – I can cook the main meal in the oven and use the little oven to roast the veggies.  I know it is $250 – but it lasts forever.

Unlike my Keurig machine.  Which was totally awesome until it died last week.
My French press hasn’t died in 20 years.

Roasted Acorn Squash on Whisk Together-5454

Aldi right now has spaghetti squash on sale for 99 cents and butternut and acorn squash on sale for 69 cents.  Super cheap side dishes with a huge nutritional boost as well!  So what’s the best way to make them?

This acorn squash is cooked differently than most.  Spaghetti and Butternut squash do well in the oven.  Acorn squash turns stringy or grainy and tends to be dry.  This microwave method is faster and results in a nutty and silky acorn squash you are sure to love.  The printable recipe is at the bottom.

How do you roast the other vegetables?

Roasted Butternut Squash Lasagna_3 on WT

Butternut Squash:  First, you could cut it in half lengthwise.  Scoop out the seeds.  Spray it with olive oil.  Place on a rimmed cookie sheet that has been sprayed with oil.  It should be cut side DOWN.  Bake 375 degrees for 40 minutes.  Or bake at 350 degrees for about an hour.  Or bake 400 degrees for 30 minutes.  Your fork should pierce through easily.  Scoop, mash and eat!
Second, you could cut the skin off.  It is tough skinned, but it is possible.  This is the kid’s favorite way to eat squash.  Cut it into 1/2″ cubes.  Toss in a little olive oil or melted butter. Throw on some cinnamon/brown sugar or thyme/rosemary/garlic.  Bake for 25-30 minutes at 375 degrees or until tender.

Make Butternut Squash Lasagna!  You will not regret it!  I STILL here about this recipe a year after I served it.

Cheesey Spaghetti Squash and Spinach on WT

Spaghetti Squash:   Cut it in half lengthwise.  Scoop out the seeds.  Spray the inside with a little olive oil.  Place cut side DOWN on a rimmed cookie sheet that has been sprayed with olive oil.  Bake 375 degrees for 40 minutes.  Or bake at 350 degrees for about an hour.  Or bake 400 degrees for 30 minutes.  It is soooo easy!  You can’t mess it up.  Then let it cool a little bit and drag your fork inside to get the “spaghetti”!  I would not recommend freezing the cooked spaghetti squash.

Make Spaghetti Squash Mac and Cheese!  Or Spaghetti and Meatballs!  Or any favorite dish with squash instead of pasta.

Pumpkin Bowl Soup_7 on Whisk Together

Pumpkin:  Cut off the top.  Scoop out the seeds.  Spray inside with olive oil.  Roast at 425 degrees for 25-30 minutes.  It will be tender when pierced with a fork when done.  Fill it up with your favorite soup and eat!  Coolest eating bowl ever and much healthier than a bread bowl.

Try with this Squash Soup in a Pumpkin Bowl!

sweet potato casseroleCR

Sweet Potatoes:  I peel and cut these into cubes and store in the freezer.  When I want sweet potatoes as a side dish, I just thrown some olive oil, brown sugar and cinnamon on them and pop into the oven at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes or so.  When I want mashed potatoes, I’ll nuke the frozen cubes until tender.  Storing sweet potatoes in the pantry works, but I would forget about them and they would go rancid.  So now I prefer storing them in the freezer.  Mashed sweet potatoes freeze well, too.

Make Sweet Potato Soup or Sweet Potato Casserole!

Brussel Sprouts CR

Brussels Sprouts:  Break off the outer leaves if they are about to fall off.  Slice them in half lengthwise.  Toss in a little olive oil, salt and pepper.  Roast in the oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.  Toss in a little lemon zest, browned butter or maple syrup.

Try Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Browned Butter Glaze!

**Technically most of these are NOT vegetables.  Pumpkins are large berries.  Squash obviously have seeds.  But most people consider them veggies, and they are on the vegetable side of Aldi.  Plus “How to Roast Fall Fruit” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.**

How to Roast Acorn Squash
Author: Mary Ellen P. Riley / Whisk Together
Ingredients
  • 1 acorn squash
  • salt
  • 2 Tb. butter
  • 2 Tb. light or dark brown sugar
Instructions
  1. Cut the acorn squash in half longways. From top to bottom. Use a nice big sharp chef’s knife because these are pretty tough.
  2. Scoop out the seeds in the middle along with the stringy stuff attached to them. I find the best way to do this is with a grapefruit spoon! Yes. Grapefruit spoon! My saving grace in Fall in this spoon.
  3. Now sprinkle a little salt on the inside.
  4. Place the squash cut side DOWN into a pyrex dish or other microwave safe and oven safe container. If using pyrex (I use my 7×11 dish), fill the bottom with 1/8 cup of water).
  5. Cover the squash with a microwave safe lid like glass or the plastic one made for microwaves.
  6. Microwave for 15 minutes.
  7. Pierce a fork through the center of the squash. It should go through easily and this means the squash is done.
  8. While that cools, melt the butter in the microwave. Add the brown sugar and give it a stir.
  9. Flip squash over. Drizzle the butter/sugar mixture.
  10. Broil the acorn squash on high for a few minutes. Of course, always remember to keep the door slightly ajar when broiling. Keep an eye on it because the sugar will caramelize quickly.
  11. Scoop and eat!
Notes
Recipe adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

 

 

Maple Mash Butternut Squash

Maple Butternut Squash Mash_1 at Whisk Together

I stopped reading “The Opposite of Lonliness” by Marina Keegan.  The intro and first essay were excellent.  After that, the entire book loses my interest.  I wouldn’t recommend it.

Recipe:

I have been a little obsessive with butternut squash.  I’ve made it into soup and lasagna.  Now, it is just straight up mashed!  You can make this in the slow cooker, oven, or microwave.  The result is always the same and if you add this special awesome ingredient, it will taste great, too!  This super awesome ingredient is Natural Maple Flavor sold by King Arthur Flour.  As soon as you open the bottle, you know it is something special.  Totally worth the $5 and they always have shipping specials if you sign up for emails.  It is what I use in my maple buttercream and anything else that needs a subtle or deep maple flavor without purchasing a $20 bottle of natural syrup.

Of course, you can substitute real maple syrup or the maple flavor you find at the store.  I just think this one is the best I have found and wanted to pass that on to you.    Since maple goes great with pork anyway, I paired this recipe with a pork tenderloin and will share that recipe next!

Maple Mash Butternut Squash

Ingredients

  • 3 lb. butternut squash
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (or 1 tsp. maple flavor and 2 Tb. of any kind of maple syrup)
  • 2 Tb. butter
  • 1 Tb cream or half and half

Instructions

  1. To cook in slow cooker: cut squash into 1" pieces (skin removed of course). Cook on low 4-5 hours or high 3-4 hours with salt. Mash in the slow cooker with remaining ingredients. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  2. To cook in the oven: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Slice the squash in half lengthwise. Spray inside with cooking spray. Place flesh side down on a rimmed cookie sheet lined with silicone, parchment or cooking spray. Bake 40 minutes or until fork goes through the flesh easily. Let cool for 20 minutes. Scoop seeds and discard. Scoop out flesh into a large bowl and mash with remaining ingredients. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. To cook in microwave: Clean the outside of the squash with water. Poke all over with a fork. Place in a microwave safe dish and cook in microwave for 5 minutes. Remove from the microwave. Use a knife to cut it in half lengthwise. Place the squash back into the dish with the flesh side down. Cook another 5 minutes. If a fork pierces all the way through easily, than let it for a few minutes. Scoop out seeds and discard. Scoop out flesh and mash with the remaining ingredients. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Recipe adapted from America's Test Kitchen Slow Cooker Revolution 2
http://www.whisktogether.com/2014/11/10/maple-mash-butternut-squash/

Maple Mash Butternut Squash
4-6 servings

3 lb. butternut squash
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup maple syrup (or 1 tsp. maple flavor and 2 Tb. of any kind of maple syrup)
2 Tb. butter
1 Tb cream or half and half

To cook in slow cooker:  cut squash into 1″ pieces (skin removed of course).  Cook on low 4-5 hours or high 3-4 hours with salt.  Mash in the slow cooker with remaining ingredients.

To cook in the oven:  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Slice the squash in half lengthwise.  Spray inside with cooking spray.  Place flesh side down on a rimmed cookie sheet lined with silicone, parchment or cooking spray.  Bake 40 minutes or until fork goes through the flesh easily.  Let cool for 20 minutes.  Scoop seeds and discard.  Scoop out flesh into a large bowl and mash with remaining ingredients.

To cook in microwave:  Clean the outside of the squash with water.  Poke all over with a fork.  Place in a microwave safe dish and cook in microwave for 5 minutes.  Remove from the microwave.  Use a knife to cut it in half lengthwise.  Place the squash back into the dish with the flesh side down.  Cook another 5 minutes.  If a fork pierces all the way through easily, than let it for a few minutes.  Scoop out seeds and discard.  Scoop out flesh and mash with the remaining ingredients.

Recipe adapted from America’s Test Kitchen Slow Cooker Revolution 2

Squash Soup in Pumpkin Bowls

Pumpkin Bowl Soup_7 on Whisk Together

These bowls are just too fun and cute!  I love being able to eat my bowl and soup at the same time.  Squash is everywhere this time of year and makes a great soup.  Need a shortcut?  Trader Joe’s and most other grocery stores sell butternut squash soup in those cardboard containers.  That way you just cook your pumpkins and fill it with hot soup!  Then, take your soup and scrape a little bit of pumpkin from inside your bowl with every delicious bite.

You can use a number of toppings like chopped green onion, bacon, croutons, fried onions or ham.  I used homemade pepitas (pumpkin seeds) since I had seeds from scooping out the pumpkin bowl.

Pumpkin Bowl Soup_1 at Whisk Together

Squash Soup in Pumpkin Bowls

Ingredients

  • 4 pumpkin pie pumpkins
  • sugar
  • salt
  • olive oil
  • 2 medium butternut squash
  • olive oil
  • 1 apple, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/8 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 32 ounces (4 cups) chicken broth
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • 1 Tb. melted butter
  • 1 tsp. Worchestershire sauce
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. For the pumpkins:
  2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Use a knife to cut the stem off like a lid. Scoop out the seeds (I use my grapefruit spoon) and reserve if you want to roast them. Drizzle or brush a little olive oil inside the pumpkin. Sprinkle with about 1/2 tsp. of salt and sugar in each pumpkin. Roast for 20-35 minutes. It will be soft inside. I didn't go too long because you want the bowl to still be sturdy enough to hold the soup.
  3. For the Soup:
  4. I usually roast my squash the night before in order to save time. Just a preference. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the squash in half lengthwise. Brush with a little olive oil. Place it skin side up in the oven and roast 45 minutes. You can roast this at 425 degrees - at the same time as the pumpkin - just reduce your cooking time. Poke with a fork in several places to make sure it is cooked through. Once cooled, scoop out the flesh - discard the seeds. Set aside.
  5. In a large dutch oven or pot, heat 1 Tb. olive oil over medium heat. Add chopped apple and onion until tender. Add broth, garlic, spices and the squash. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Puree using an immersion blender or in a blender. Return back to the pot and season with salt and pepper to taste. Ladle soup into prepared pumpkin bowls
  6. For the Pepitas:
  7. Remove all the pumpkin orange stringy stuff from the seeds. Mix the seeds with the melted butter and Worchestershire sauce. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. You could add garlic powder, onion powder, etc. Roast at 300 degrees for 20-30 minutes. Pumpkin pie seeds are smaller than bigger carving pumpkin seeds, so they will cook faster.
http://www.whisktogether.com/2014/10/29/squash-soup-in-pumpkin-bowls/

Pumpkin Bowl Soup at Whisk Together

Squash Soup in Pumpkin Bowls
serves 4

4 pumpkin pie pumpkins
sugar
salt
olive oil

2 medium butternut squash
olive oil
1 apple, peeled and chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1/8 tsp. ground allspice
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
32 ounces (4 cups) chicken broth

Pumpkin Seeds
1 Tb. melted butter
1 tsp. Worchestershire sauce
salt and pepper

For the pumpkins:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Use a knife to cut the stem off like a lid.  Scoop out the seeds (I use my grapefruit spoon) and reserve if you want to roast them.  Drizzle or brush a little olive oil inside the pumpkin.  Sprinkle with about 1/2 tsp. of salt and sugar in each pumpkin.  Roast for 20-35 minutes.  It will be soft inside.  I didn’t go too long because you want the bowl to still be sturdy enough to hold the soup.

For the Soup:
I usually roast my squash the night before in order to save time.  Just a preference.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Cut the squash in half lengthwise.  Brush with a little olive oil.  Place it skin side up in the oven and roast 45 minutes.  You can roast this at 425 degrees – at the same time as the pumpkin – just reduce your cooking time.  Poke with a fork in several places to make sure it is cooked through.  Once cooled, scoop out the flesh – discard the seeds.  Set aside.
In a large dutch oven or pot, heat 1 Tb. olive oil over medium heat.  Add chopped apple and onion until tender.  Add broth, garlic, spices and the squash.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes.  Puree using an immersion blender or in a blender.  Return back to the pot and season with salt and pepper to taste.  Ladle soup into prepared pumpkin bowls

For the Pepitas:
Remove all the pumpkin orange stringy stuff from the seeds.  Mix the seeds with the melted butter and Worchestershire sauce.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  You could add garlic powder, onion powder, etc.  Roast at 300 degrees for 20-30 minutes.  Pumpkin pie seeds are smaller than bigger carving pumpkin seeds, so they will cook faster.

Recipe for Pumpkin Bowls from Food Network

Roasted Butternut Squash Lasagna

Roasted Butternut Squash Lasagna_3 on WT

Book Update:  I have no books 🙁  I have been spending my spare time making our Christmas card and talking to our medical insurance company.  They denied my husband’s surgery, so I have had the pleasure of chatting with the surgeon’s office, the medical insurance company and my husband.  It is scheduled for next Wednesday… but it isn’t approved.  How that happened I dunno.  The saga continues….

In the meantime, here is our Christmas card!

Christmas card 2013

Recipe:  Even my meat-loving husband liked this recipe.  That’s how good it is.  I know lasagna always screams beef or sausage, but this one is really, really good.  Gooey cheese, roasted squash, caramelized onions and a hint of sage do a dance in your mouth.  It was well worth finding fresh sage in the winter time (which is $1.69 at Trader Joe’s) and locating a small amount of fontina cheese (only $3 at Trader Joe’s).  Trader Joe’s also carries pre-cut butternut squash.  I would use at least 3-4 bags.

Roasted Butternut Squash Lasagna_4 on wT

Roasted Butternut Squash Lasagna
serves 6-8

1 large butternut squash or 2 small/medium, peeled and cut into 1/2″ cubes
2 Tb. olive oil
kosher salt
1 onion, halved and sliced

Sauce:
4 tablespoons butter (original says 2, but then  the sauce doesn’t come together with equal parts in the roux)
10 sage leaves
1/4 cup AP flour
2-4 cups milk (2 cups for a thicker sauce, 4 cups for a very thin sauce; 3 cups is a good medium to cover the noodles without oozing) (warm/room temperature milk works into the sauce well)
pinch of ground nutmeg

Lasagna:
1 cup grated fontina cheese (4 oz.)
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese (4 oz.)
1 cup grated parmesan cheese (or substitute with more mozzarella and fontina)
1 Tb. flour
9 NO boil lasagna noodles

1.  Step One:  Roast the veggies!  Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Toss the veggies in the oil and place on a rimmed baking sheet (foil makes easy clean up)  Roast the squash 18 minutes.  Pull out the onion sooner – around 10-12 minutes.
2.  Step Two:  Make the sauce.  In a saucepan, melt the butter.  On medium heat, add the sage and cook for 1 minute.  Remove the sage leaves.  Whisk in the flour.  Cook that about 2 minutes to make the roux.  Lots of whisking!  Now whisk in the milk just a little at a time.  Warmed up milk seems to incorporate better.  Keep stirring it all in and boil.  Once at a boil, turn down to low and simmer 5 minutes.  Add nutmeg.  (Next time I’ll do 2 pinches, but I like nutmeg)  If the sauce still stays lumpy, it will be okay.  Just keep chugging.  The sauce will turn out great out of the oven.
3.  Step Three:  Make the lasagna.  Line a 9×13 dish with some nonstick foil or butter.  Mix the cheese with the flour.  Set aside about 1/2 cup for the top!  Lay 1/2 cup of the sauce at the bottom of the dish.  Layer 3 noodles.  Layer 1/3 of the sauce.  Layer half the cheese.  Layer half the veggies.  Add 3 more noodles.  Layer 1/3 sauce.  Layer rest of the cheese.  Layer rest of the veggies.  Add final 3 noodles and the rest of the sauce.  Cover the top with that 1/2 cup cheese you set aside.  Cover with foil sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake 45 minutes.  Take off the foil and broil the drop for 2 minutes.  Rest for 15 minutes before cutting.

Roasted Butternut Squash Lasagna_6 on WT

Recipe from Food Network Magazine

Cheesy Spaghetti Squash and Spinach

Cheesey Spaghetti Squash and Spinach on WT

Book Update:  I started the second book “A Thousand Splendid Suns” from our book club.  It is one of her favorite books ever, but it is not for everyone.  If you read his other book, “Kite Runner”, then you probably have an idea of what the other book will contain.   Oh!  And Veronica Roth has finally finished the “Divergent” trilogy!  It was released just a couple days ago and I was all set to buy, but the customer reviews are horrible.  I didn’t read them to avoid spoilers, but the amazon stars are 2.5/5! Her first book in the trilogy is a 5/5 on Amazon, so makes me wonder.  I am #245 on the waiting list for our county library.  So, I might get it like… maybe by Easter.

Recipe Update:  This side dish was actually BETTER than my main course.  Weird, but true.  So, our co-op gave us spaghetti squash, spinach and other items.  I felt this worked great with our basket for the week as well as being one of the best side dishes I have ever had.  It tastes like mac and cheese, but with spinach.  If you took out the spinach you have mac and cheese.  Of course, the “mac” is squash, so it is much lower in calories.  Enjoy!  It was well worth the effort.

Cheesy Spaghetti Squash and Spinach
yield 6-8 servings

5 and 1/2 cups cooked spaghetti squash (2 small or 1 medium)
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup minced onion
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk
1 cup chicken broth
8 oz. shredded mild cheddar
salt and pepper
4 cups (4 ounces) baby spinach
1/8 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1.  To cook the squash:  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Slice that squash in half long-ways.  Not through the equator.  Scoop out your seeds and squish stuff in the middle.  Bake in the oven on a baking sheet for 45 minutes.  Cool until able to safely handle.  Take a fork and rip out the insides.  It will come out looking like “spaghetti”.  Put that in a bowl.
2.   In a medium or large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat.  Throw in the onion.  Cook that down for about 2-3 minutes.
3.  Add the flour and whisk that in.  Whisk and cook about 4 minutes – it will turn more golden brown in color.
4.  Whisk in the milk and broth.  Whisk until smooth and bring this mixture up to a boil.  Keep stirring constantly while it boils and boil a good 2 minutes or longer.  The mixture should be thicker.  Add some salt and pepper.
5.  Take this pot off of the stove.  Stir in the cheese.  Stir in the spinach.  Once incorporated, stir in the squash.
6.  Spray a 2 qt. dish or 7×11 pan with cooking spray and bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes.  Cool and eat.  For added nutrition, I put mine on a bed of more spinach.

Recipe from Skinnytaste.com

Butternut Squash Pizza with Whole Wheat Crust

I love pizza!  After going on my diet to lose the baby weight, I really lost my taste for heavy meats on pizza.  Don’t get me wrong – you have a good Italian sausage pizza lying around with friends to enjoy it with and I’ll be right there.  However, if I have my choice I really prefer vegetables on my pizza now.  The restricted calorie diet changed my taste buds a bit I think.
Well, anyway – this is Butternut Squash Pizza with homemade wheat crust.  You could also make the crust with 100% whole wheat flour by substituting 1 cup of whole wheat flour for 1 1/2 cups of AP flour in the recipe.

What I love about the crust:  It contains whole wheat flour.  It is crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside.
What I like about the toppings:  It is something different!

Butternut Squash Pizza with Wheat Crust

Crust:
1 tsp. sugar
1 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees)
1 Tb. active dry yeast
1 Tb. olive oil
1 tsp. salt
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cups AP flour
cornmeal for sprinkling


Toppings:

3 Tbs. olive oil, divided
1 large pinch of kosher salt
1 cup thinly sliced onion
1 butternut squash- peeled, seeded and thinly sliced
1 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary or dried
salt and pepper, to taste
2 Tbs. grated Parmesan cheese

For the Crust:
1.  In a measuring cup, add the white sugar, warm water and active dry yeast.  Set aside for 5 minutes while doing the next step.
2.  Mix the flours and salt together thoroughly.  Make a small well in the middle and pour in the 1 Tbs. olive oil and wet ingredients from the measuring cup.  Knead the dough for 10 minutes, or until it forms a ball and isn’t very sticky.  Allow to rise for 1 hour (or until doubles).
3.  Form the ball into 2 small balls for 2 thin crust pizzas, or form into 1 large ball. Form into a tight ball and allow to rise again for 45 minutes.

For the topping:
4.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.   In a large saute pan, put 2 Tbs. of olive oil over medium heat.  Once hot, add the thinly sliced onion and 1 large pinch of kosher salt.  Sweat for 5 minutes and constantly stir.  After the onions have “sweated”, put the pan on medium-low to low and stir often.  Caramelizing the onions will take about 30 minutes.  Add a tiny bit of water and pinch of sugar if they get too dry.
5.  While the onions cook, put the cut up squash in a large bowl with the remaining 1 Tbs. olive oil, rosemary, salt and pepper.  Bake on a cookie sheet for 20 minutes or until tender.

Putting it together:
6.  Sprinkle some cornmeal onto your pizza stone (or stones for 2 thin crust pizzas).  I use a large bar pan.  You could use 2 standard round pizza stones, or a jelly roll pan.
7.  Spread your pizza dough onto your pan.    (I use the baker’s roller).  Lay the cooked squash onto the pizza dough.  Place the caramelized onion on top.  Bake 12-20 minutes, checking often towards the end for doneness.  The edges will be golden and crisp.    The bake time is a large span because it depends on the thickness of your crust.
8.  Remove pizza from oven and sprinkle the parmesan cheese on top.  You may want to add additional salt depending on your taste.

Recipe adapted from several other ones on allrecipes.com

**I think next time I will just try roasting the entire squash (cut in half  and taking the seeds out of course) similar to when I use to make baby food.  The slicing and removing the skin off of the squash does take a little time and effort.  Roasting the entire squash will take longer… but then all you have to do is scoop out the insides and mix it with some rosemary, olive oil, salt and pepper.

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