Wednesday, November 12, 2014

At Home: Butternut Squash & Goat Cheese Pizza

For my first Blue Apron experiment...At Home, I tackled the Butternut Squash & Goat Cheese Pizza.  This recipe uses fall produce and a silky béchamel sauce to put a gourmet spin on the traditional pie. The goat cheese is from Vermont Creamery located in Websterville, VT, and is creamy with a crumbly texture and slightly tart flavor that cuts the sweetness of caramelized fennel and butternut squash. Any way you slice it, this meal is a delicious, warming autumn favorite perfect for vegetarians.

Butternut Squash & Goat Cheese Pizza (Adapted from Blue Apron - Makes 3 servings)
with Creamy Béchamel Sauce & Caramelized Fennel
  • 1 lb. pizza dough
  • 4 oz. goat cheese
  • 1 cup low-fat milk
  • 1 fennel bulb with fronds  (I used only ½ the bulb)
  • 1 lb. butternut squash  (I used only ½ the squash)
  • 1 red onion  (I used only ¼ the onion)
  • 1 bunch parsley
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
  • ½ teasp fennel pollen 
  • ¼ teasp crushed red pepper flakes
- Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.
- Wash and dry the fresh produce.
- Heat a medium pot of salted water to boiling on high.
- Crumble the goat cheese.
- Pick off and reserve 1 tablespoon of the fennel fronds. Thinly slice the fennel bulb and stems, keeping them separate.  (I used only ½ the bulb)
- Peel the squash; separate the round bulb from the neck. Halve the squash bulb lengthwise; scoop out and discard the seeds. Thinly slice the neck and bulb.   (I used only ½ the squash)
- Peel and thinly slice the onion.  (I used only ¼ the onion)
- Pick the parsley off the stems; discard the stems.
- In a small bowl, combine the honey and as much of the crushed red pepper flakes as you’d like, depending on how spicy you’d like the dish to be.  (I used all the red pepper flakes)
- In a medium pan, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add the sliced fennel bulb and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, 4 to 6 minutes, or until deep brown and fragrant. Transfer to a bowl.

Image via Blue Apron
- While the fennel bulb caramelizes, add the sliced squash to the pot of boiling water. Cook 2 to 4 minutes, or until tender. Drain thoroughly and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking process. Set aside. Rinse and wipe out the pot.

Image via Blue Apron
- In the same pot used to cook the squash, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium until hot. Whisk in the flour; cook, stirring frequently, 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until golden brown. Slowly whisk in the milk and ¼ cup of water until no lumps remain.
- Add a pinch of the fennel pollen; season with salt and pepper. Cook, whisking frequently, 6 to 8 minutes, or until thickened. Remove from heat.
- Lightly oil a large sheet pan. On a clean, dry work surface, gently stretch the pizza dough to a ¼-inch thickness; place on the sheet pan, massaging the dough into the pan.
- Spread the béchamel sauce onto the dough and evenly top with the cooked squash, caramelized fennel bulb, onion and goat cheese. Sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese; season with salt and pepper.

Image via Blue Apron
- Bake 18 to 20 minutes (turning halfway through), or until browned and the dough is fully cooked.
- While the pizza bakes, in a small bowl, combine the parsley and fennel fronds and fennel stems. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste; toss gently to coat.
- Remove pizza from the oven and let cool slightly. Drizzle the pizza with the honey-pepper flake mixture. Top with the fennel-parsley mixture and garnish with the remaining fennel pollen.
- Slice the pizza and enjoy!

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