Sunday, November 6, 2011

Pumpkin Pear Pesto Pizza

Okay, yes, Halloween is over...darn :( 

I truly love Halloween.
Costumes. Candy. Crazy people.
It doesn't get much better than that.

Halloween accomplishments this year:
  • Dressed up like a leopard
  • Went to parties
  • Danced the night away
  • Watched scary movies
  • Went trick-or-treating! (you can never be too old, right?)
  • Ate WAY too much candy
  • And...made pumpkin pizza...oh it was divine 
I felt like it was a successful holiday.

This is me and Devin about to head out the door to go trick-or-treating.

Our conversation:
(A few days before)
Devin: "Let's go trick-or-treating on Halloween!"
Me: "Okay, that sounds like fun!"
(An hour before)
Devin: "Are you ready to go?"
Me: "Devin...I don't know...aren't we a little too old to go trick-or-treating?"
Devin: "Sarah, seriously? You can't just change your mind right before we go..."
Me: "But all these little kids keep coming to my door. I haven't seen any adults yet. And I feel bad..."
Devin: "Sarah, we are going."
Me: "Ugh..."
(After about 10 minutes of Devin and my roommate Jane convincing me to go)
Me: "Okay, fine...I'll go."

And I am so glad we went. People LOVED our costumes. Plus we got invited into someone's house to eat mouthwatering scones and hot apple cider. Yum :)
Oh, and did I mention that Devin dressed up as Moses?
I could not stop laughing when I saw his costume. I couldn't even look at him...but in all seriousness, he looked like a stranger to me. Thank goodness he only looked this way for one night :)


Best friend couples! Me and my bestie Katie. And Leah and her bestie Ashley.

Okay, so this guy's costume was amazing. He dressed up like an old man AKA Mr. Rogers. He dyed his hair gray, drew wrinkles on his face, and dressed in old-school clothing. Definitely legit.

Bored Sarah = photo editing

Now onto the FOOD!
Have you ever had a pear gorgonzola pizza?
Or a butternut squash pizza?
Well if not, you are missing out.
To me, pizza is not that great.
Pros: tastes good.
Cons: greasy, too much cheese, unhealthy toppings (sorry pepperoni-lovers...)
However, pizza can taste delicious without all the bad stuff...
This pizza is proof.

First things first...roasted butternut squash with caramelized onions and rosemary.
You will think you've died and gone to heaven. Roasted veggies are my weakness. I eat them like a little kid would inhale candy. Nom nom nom.

And what better way than to serve them on a pizza?

And not to forget about another AMAZING pizza topping...pear.
Yes, you heard me. Pear, with gorgonzola cheese of course.
I had never had this combination before until Devin told me about it.
He had it a couple of times at restaurants, and loved it.
So we gave it a try. And it was...SO GOOD.
The combination of the sweet pear with the salty cheese. Perfect.
Oh, and don't forget the pesto!

Get in my belly...

Devin showing off his pizza dough tossing skills.

Show-off :)

 Flattening pizza dough my way.


We decided to eat on the floor. Cute, right?

Confession: I only have one chair in my house...hence why we sat on sofa cushions.
Let's just pretend that we made the decision to sit on the floor ourselves :)

The wonderful pumpkin we carved.
A bit gruesome, I admit.


Classic Pizza Crust

  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour


  1. In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast and brown sugar in the water, and let sit for 10 minutes.
  2. Stir the salt and oil into the yeast solution. Mix in 2 1/2 cups of the flour.
  3. Turn dough out onto a clean, well floured surface, and knead in more flour until the dough is no longer sticky. Place the dough into a well oiled bowl, and cover with a cloth. Let the dough rise until double; this should take about 1 hour. Punch down the dough, and form a tight ball. Allow the dough to relax for a minute before rolling out. Use for your favorite pizza recipe.
  4. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. If you are baking the dough on a pizza stone, you may place your toppings on the dough, and bake immediately. If you are baking your pizza in a pan, lightly oil the pan, and let the dough rise for 15 or 20 minutes before topping and baking it.
  5. Bake pizza in preheated oven, until the cheese and crust are golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Whole Wheat Pizza Crust

  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups white-wheat flour


  1. In a large bowl, dissolve sugar in warm water. Sprinkle yeast over the top, and let stand for about 10 minutes, until foamy.
  2. Stir the olive oil and salt into the yeast mixture, then mix in the whole wheat flour and 1 cup of the white-wheat flour until dough starts to come together. Tip dough out onto a surface floured with the remaining white-wheat flour, and knead until all of the flour has been absorbed, and the ball of dough becomes smooth, about 10 minutes. Place dough in an oiled bowl, and turn to coat the surface. Cover loosely with a towel, and let stand in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  3. When the dough is doubled, tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and divide into 2 pieces for 2 thin crust, or leave whole to make one thick crust. Form into a tight ball. Let rise for about 45 minutes, until doubled.
  4. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Roll a ball of dough with a rolling pin until it will not stretch any further. Then, drape it over both of your fists, and gently pull the edges outward, while rotating the crust. When the circle has reached the desired size, place on a well oiled pizza pan. Top pizza with your favorite toppings, such as sauce, cheese, meats, or vegetables.
  5. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes (depending on thickness) in the preheated oven, until the crust is crisp and golden at the edges, and cheese is melted on the top.

Basil Pesto
  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed (or 1 cup fresh basil leaves and 1 cup fresh spinach leaves)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano or Romano cheese
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts
  • 3 medium sized garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. Combine the basil/spinach in with the pine nuts, pulse a few times in a food processor. (If you are using walnuts instead of pine nuts and they are not already chopped, pulse them a few times first, before adding the basil.) Add the garlic, pulse a few times more.
  2. Slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on. Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula. Add the grated cheese and pulse again until blended. Add a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Pumpkin Pizza (Butternut Squash Pizza)

  • 1 cup thinly sliced onion
  • 1/2 butternut squash - peeled, seeded, and thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • Pizza crust dough
  • Pesto (or marinara)
  • Mozzarella and Parmesan cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place sliced onion and squash in a roasting pan. Sprinkle with rosemary, salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil; toss to coat.
  2. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until onions are lightly browned and squash is tender; set aside.
  3. Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees F. 
  4. Spread pesto or marinara over the pizza dough (I like to spread half of the dough with pesto and the other half with marinara). Cover with Mozzarelle cheese (however much you like). Distribute squash mixture over the cheese. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
  5. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the crust is firm.

Pear Gorgonzola Pizza
  • 4 ounces sliced provolone cheese (or swiss cheese)
  • 1 Bosc pear, thinly sliced
  • 2 ounces chopped walnuts
  • 2 1/2 ounces Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
  • Fresh basil
  • Pizza crust dough
  • Pesto (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Place pizza crust dough on a medium baking sheet. Layer with Provolone (or swiss) cheese. Top cheese with Bosc pear slices. Sprinkle with walnuts and Gorgonzola cheese.
  3. Add fresh basil, if desired.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven 8 to 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted and crust is lightly browned.


  1. Interesting post Sarah. And while I do see the nutritional value associated with whole wheat crust, I am a firm, old-fashioned believer in the divinity that is "white flour." Good ol' bleached, nutrient-deficient white flour. However, maybe someday––with enough persuasion––I will take a dip in the mysterious world of whole wheat...just maybe.

    1. Devin, I sure hope that one day you will join the whole-wheat-bandwagon. Whole wheat is so full of vitamins and nutrients and FLAVOR, I am sure you would love it! Maybe first try eating some hearty whole wheat bread full of nuts and grains, and who knows...your mind might be forever changed.


Thanks for being a friend!

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