One of my favorite things to experiment with, is pizza. A nice crust is a vehicle for delicious toppings. I’ve had a lot of different varieties but my favorite crust to work with is always the refrigerated Pillsbury Thin Crust. It’s the perfect level of thickness. It’s definitely not a true thin crust but it is truly delicious.
So tonight, I made a pizza that was a touch heavier on the toppings than usual. A lot of times, a topping heavy pizza is a pet peeve of mine because when I’m eating pizza I just want something I can kind of grab and go. No plate necessary, just a hand and a napkin. This was no such pizza, this was a fork and knife pizza. Luckily, its level of deliciousness completely won me over. So without further adieu, I give you the Butternut Squash and Chorizo Pizza.
1 Pillsbury Thin Crust Pizza Dough
1 bag Italian Blend shredded cheese (2 cups)
1 large red onion, chopped into large chunks
1 cup bacon, chopped in 1 inch pieces (6 pieces of cooked bacon)
1.5 cups chorizo sausage, cut lengthwise and chop in 1/4 inch slices (2 medium sausages should do the trick)
2 cups butternut squash, cut into quarter inch cubes
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons balsamic vinaigrette (I use the Kraft fat free version)
Dash of Salt
Dash of Pepper
1/2 tablespoon Paprika
1 teaspoon Ground Ginger
1 teaspoon Powdered garlic
You can mix all the spices together right away because you’re going to use them, first thing.
The first thing you want to do is cook the squash and onion.
To cook the squash, I used the forgotten potato method. I chopped up the squash and onion, coated it in olive oil and sprinkled about 3/4 of the spice mixture over the squash and onion and layed them out on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil (this will be key later so remember this part), and threw them in a 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes. Unlike forgotten potatoes, you do want to watch these and make sure that they stay just a little undercooked because they will continue cooking when you bake it with the pizza. Squash never really gets as crispy as potatoes do anyway. They tend to kind of get a little mushy, and then burn. Mushy is ok though, I promise. It really works with the texture of the pizza. When the squash is done, it’ll look a little something like this –
While the squash is cooking, you can cook the chorizo, and the bacon if you haven’t already (There is a rule in the Baccala household that bacon is always cooked in the toaster oven on 400 degrees for 15 minutes – it has to be crispy. For me that’s the only way to eat bacon). You can also use the pre-cooked bacon, which isn’t terrible but I like the crispiness and thickness of the real deal. Pre-cooked works if you’re in a rush, but you have to wait for the squash anyway, so why not just make the good bacon? I promise it will be worth it!
As for the chorizo, that’s cooked on the stovetop over a medium-high heat in a greased skillet, until its got a slightly crispy look to it also. It’ll take around 5 -10 minutes, if that. Just make sure your skillet is warm before you put the chorizo in or it can tend to get extra greasy. Here’s what it should look like when it’s ready
Once all of the above is cooked and ready to go, it’s time to pre-bake the crust. The good thing is that the crust and the squash cook at the same temp, and if you remembered to line your baking sheet with aluminum foil for the squash, you can just lift up the potatoes, put down a new piece of foil (spray with a little cooking spray so it doesn’t stick) and put it in the oven. For the thin crust dough, you pre-cook it for 5 minutes. Once it’s in the oven, it’s a good time to kind of line up all your ingredients to start layering up the pizza!
Once the dough is out, the layering begins. And it goes as follows:
- First brush on the balsamic vinaigrette. If you have a little extra that’s ok. You don’t want it to be too heavy, just enough to coat the crust.
- Then you want to sprinkle half the cheese evenly over the dough
- Next goes the squash and onion mixture
- Then the choirzo
- Then the bacon
- Then the rest of the cheese.
- And just as a finisher, I like to put the rest of the spice mixture over the top of the cheese. It gives it just that extra little kick of flavor.
Then it goes back in the oven for 6-10 minutes. I usually give it about 8 minutes. Just until the edges of the crust start to brown. And that’s it. I know it seems like a lot for a pizza, but it’s fancy pizza. Get over it!
Here’s a visual of the layers for you to enjoy!
And then, the TaDa moment of completion! I hope you enjoy it!