Last week, it was freakishly cold, wet, and rainy here for a few days. These ingredients made it all better.
I piled them on pizza dough topped with fontal cheese and the result was amazing. Fontal cheese is a type of Fontina, only nuttier and earthier. If you can’t find it, I’d go for regular Fontina if you prefer mild cheeses or Taleggio, if you like more pungent cheeses.
Butternut squash – peeled and diced into 3/4 inch chunks, about 2 1/2 cups
4 ounces of an earthy, nutty cheese like Fontal or Taleggio, grated (if it is soft, it helps to stick it in the freezer for 10 minutes before grating)
1 cup of walnuts, roughly chopped
15 or so sage leaves, more if you’d like
Pizza dough (I use this one)
Olive oil, salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 425.
In a large skillet over medium high heat, add tablespoon of olive oil. Add the shallots and saute for about 8 minutes or so, until they become golden brown and carmelized. Remove and set aside.
In the same skillet, heat another tablespoon of oil. Add the butternut squash, and saute that for 5 minutes or so. This is really just to make sure it gets fully cooked when it goes into the oven. You don’t need to make it soft, just brown it for a few minutes to start the cooking process.
Roll out the pizza dough and brush the carmelized shallots over the base, making sure they are evenly distributed. It won’t be totally covered, just more of a flavoring. (If you want it totally covered, I would double the shallots.)
Sprinkle the cheese on top, followed by the squash and walnuts.
Bake in the oven for 8 minutes. While it is baking, toss the sage leaves in a drop of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. You just want to coat them so they don’t burn in the oven and get a little fried. Take the pizza out and sprinkle the sage over the pizza. Put the pizza back in the oven for another 8 minutes or so, until the cheese starts to brown. Then serve.
The end result really was incredible. I want to make this all the time. The walnuts get really sweet in the oven and complement the cheese really well. The salty sage leaves are a nice bite too. With a glass of pinot noir, this really did make life a lot better. I would definitely consider cutting this up in small pieces and serving this as a party appetizer. So good.