Some foods are better together, like peanut butter and jelly or ketchup and French fries. One combo that may not immediately come to mind? Roasted squash and ricotta! They both have natural sweetness, but when combined with lots of roasted garlic and melty Parmesan and mozzarella on top of pizza, they become a beautiful, creamy, savory dream come true. I used delicata squash here, one of my new obsessions. (We’ve been making chips with them allll the time…stay tuned for that!) It has an edible striped skin (no peeling needed!) and a sweeter flavor, but you can also use butternut, acorn, or whatever you can find. Oh, and because I know you’ll ask… you can use pre-made crust here, but you should give this homemade version a try! There’s a little bit of sugar in the dough that helps it caramelize and crisp in the oven, and plays well with the natural sweetness of the squash. I swear it’s easy and totally worth the extra effort for an at-home pizza night.
- 30 large or 40 medium cloves peeled garlic (about 1 ¼ cups—this makes extra; recipe can be halved)
- 2 ¼ cups olive oil
- ¾ cup warm (like lukewarm bath) water, plus more as needed
- One packet (2 ¼ teaspoons) active dry yeast
- 1 ½ tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 cups flour, plus more as needed
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Two small or 1 medium delicata squash (6 ounces), seeded and cut into ¼ inch rings; can use small butternut squash if delicata is not available
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 6 ounces fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
- 1 cup finely shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 4 ounces (½ cup) fresh ricotta cheese
- 1 tablespoon finely sliced fresh sage
- 1 teaspoon finely minced Thai bird or other fresh hot chiles (seed only if you want to!), plus more for garnish
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Make the stovetop roasted garlic:
Combine the oil and garlic in a small saucepan. Turn the heat on medium-low and don’t turn it any higher, you impatient people! The oil will heat up slowly and the garlic will start to sort of fizz and sizzle after about 10–15 minutes.
Continue to cook the garlic until it slowly turns golden brown but stays really soft, 30–40 minutes longer (if it gets dark or develops a bubbly, sort-of hard outer layer, turn the heat down). Turn off the heat and let the garlic sit in the oil on the counter for another hour or two, or up to 24.
Strain the garlic from the oil and reserve 15 cloves (or more!) for topping the pizza. Keep garlic and oil refrigerated separately in tightly sealed containers until ready to use. You can use the oil for drizzling on the finished pizza, roasted veggies, or even popcorn, or making salad dressing or using it as a dip for bread. (Before using, remove the oil from the fridge and let it come to room temperature or run the jar under warm water for 1 minute to liquefy).
Make the dough:
While the garlic is cooking, place the water in a small bowl, then sprinkle the yeast over the water, then ½ tablespoon of the sugar. Let the yeast foam up for 10 minutes; if it doesn’t, then start again.
Transfer the yeast mixture to a medium bowl, then add the rest of the sugar along with the flour, olive oil, and salt. Use a wooden spoon or silicone spatula to stir the ingredients until they come together, then transfer dough to a lightly floured counter and use lightly floured hands to knead, adding a small amount of flour as needed until a loose, slightly shaggy, and somewhat sticky dough forms, 1 minute.
Clean out the bowl, lightly oil it, transfer the dough inside, and seal with plastic wrap. Let rest in a warm place until doubled in size, 30–40 minutes.
Prep the toppings and make the pizza:
While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 450°F. If you have a pizza stone, preheat it. Brush both sides of the squash with 1 ½ tablespoons of the oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Roast until lightly golden, 10–12 minutes. Reserve.
When the dough has risen, transfer it to a large parchment-lined baking sheet and stretch the dough into a 13-inch circle or 16×12 inch oval. Brush with olive oil, season with salt, then scatter the ricotta, roasted squash, mozzarella, Parmigiano-Reggiano, garlic cloves, sage, and chiles all over the dough. Season lightly with more salt and pepper.
If using the pizza stone, slide the parchment-lined pizza onto the sheet; if not, put the pizza with its tray in the oven and bake until the cheese is bubbly and the crust is golden and crisp, 13–14 minutes. Remove from the oven and drizzle lightly with more olive oil. Sprinkle with more chiles if you’re up for it!