Thursday, November 4, 2010

Three Cheese Butternut Squash and Prosciutto Pizza

This pizza recipe came to me in a bolt of inspiration. I spend a lot of time looking for recipes and trying to create my own, but this idea popped into my head completely out of the blue. Pizza is one of easiest ways for me to explore unique flavor combinations and create new recipes. This is the prime time of year for squash and I've been eating plenty, much of it simply roasted and pureed. I also have a large cache of Wisconsin cheeses, including Hook's Parmesan and Forgotten Valley Gruyere and Swiss and it was only a matter of time until I put these two wonderful ingredients together. The sweetness of butternut squash pairs well with the salty and rich cheese and prosciutto, creating a very hearty and satisfying pizza (or panini).

Three Cheese Butternut Squash and Prosciutto Pizza
serves 3 to 4

1 to 2 T. olive oil (depending on the size of the onion)
1 medium to large onion, peeled
12-inch prepared whole-grain pizza crust (I really like Rustic Crust)
1 c. butternut squash puree, canned or fresh (canned will have a more even texture and intense flavor
1 to 2 oz. prosciutto or ham (or even bacon or pancetta), cut into small pieces
1/2 c. shredded Gruyere cheese
1/2 c. shredded Swiss cheese
2 T. shredded Parmesan cheese

1. To caramelize the onions, tut the onion in half through the stem and slice into 1/8-inch-thick half-rings. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a pan over medium-low heat and add onion, tossing to coat with oil. Cook slowly, stirring occasionally until caramelized, about 30 minutes. If the onions begin to burn, lower the heat. Set aside. Meanwhile, combine the three cheeses and mix well.

2. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (or as directed on pizza crust packaging). Spread squash puree evenly over the crust and evenly distribute the prosciutto and onions on the crust. Cover the top with cheese and bake for 8 to 12 minutes, or as directed on crust packaging, until the cheese is melted and starting to brown. Slice into 8 pieces and serve hot.

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