Oh yeah – Acorn Squash and Smoked Gouda Pizza is totally a thing. Why limit yourself to one vegetable to spread atop your pizza dough?
We all have our favorite pizza toppings, right? Pepperoni, Sausage, Pepper and Onion, Bacon and Pineapple. My all time fav is freshly canned San Marzano tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, salt and olive oil. Well… it was. And then I made this Acorn Squash and Smoked Gouda Pizza. I was hoping to share this with some friends but the honest truth is I ate it all in about 15 minutes – with absolutely zero regrets. In addition to Acorn Squash being a contender for best pizza topping, this 24 hour dough produced one of the best crusts I’ve made so far.
The only unfortunate aspect of Acorn Squash and Smoked Gouda Pizza is the monotone-ness of it. Unless you really love yellow. The flavors though couldn’t be more complementary. The mild sweetness of the acorn is cut perfectly with the smokey aged gouda. They both have this way of coating the inside of your mouth, hitting each of your taste receptors, while the crunch of the pizza crust aids with not having a mouth full of baby food. A sprinkling of salt, pepper, and olive oil is added before baking this on a pizza stone at 600°F. The pizza is garnished with mushrooms I slow fried in garlic infused olive oil and some fresh minced chives.
This was one of my top five pizzas. I’ve made a lot so there’s some stiff competition. There was that pizza party back in 2015. The pizzas were thin crust and topped with a variety of ingredients my friends brought over. There was the whole wheat pizza I made just a few months ago. Man, that was a tasty crust. And there was one of the best topping combos with that Potato and Red Pepper Pizza. What made this Acorn Squash and Smoked Gouda Pizza one of the bests was the complimentary flavors of the toppings and the practically perfect crust.
For this crust I let the dough rise for about 36 hours. All I did was mix the ingredients (75% hydration) in a bowl, cover the bowl, and put it in the fridge for a couple days. When I was ready to make the pizza, I put the oven on broil and kneaded the dough. Now, when I say kneaded, I mean plopped it on to a well floured surface and formed a tight smooth ball. It took about 5 minutes. I let the dough ball sit on the counter with the mixing bowl turned over top of it for about an hour.
After an hour, the oven was screaming hot and the dough was ready for stretching. I pressed the ball in to a disc and flattened it out as wide as possible with my floured finger tips. I then used the knuckle-stretch-from-below method with my two hands. This is a wet dough meaning it’s susceptible to breaking if you were to stretch it in the air. Leave half the dough on the counter as you reach beneath with the knuckles and thumbs of your two hands and stretch from left to right along the edges of the crust. I’ll have to do a video sometime. Because of the relatively high hydration, the over 24 hour cold rise, and the screaming hot pizza stone, the crust was flavorful, light, filled with bubbles, and super crunchy.
Acorn Squash and Smoked Gouda Pizza
- 1 acorn squash roasted
- smoked gouda grated
- 4 crimini mushrooms
- 4 cloves garlic smashed
- 1 tbs fresh minced chives
- 200 g ap flour
- 150 g warm water
- 1 package active yeast
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- olive oil
- Combine the flour and salt in to a medium size mixing bowl. Combine and stir the water and yeast. Allow the yeast to proof for 10 minutes then add to the flour. Mix all ingredients until a dough forms and the flour is removed from the sides of the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and set in the refrigerator for 24 to 48 hours.
- Cut the acorn squash in half and coat it with olive oil and salt. Place the flat side down on a lined sheet pan and roast in a preheated 400°F oven for 35 minutes or until a knife can easily pierce the skin.
- Allow the squash to cool a bit before you scoop out the insides.
- In a cold pan, add 1/4 cup olive oil and 4 smashed garlic cloves. Heat over low heat for 5 minutes then add sliced mushrooms. Cook on low / medium-low for about 15-20 minutes until mushrooms begin to brown. Pour mushrooms, oil, and garlic in to a small bowl to cool and marinate for as long as possible.
- This can be done ahead of time and the squash can be cooled. If you're roasting the squash just before you make the pizza, you'll want to preheat the oven about 1 hour 45 minutes before you're ready to eat.
- An hour before you'r ready to eat, preheat the oven and pizza stone to broil and remove the cold dough from the refrigerator. Using damp hands, transfer the wet dough to a well floured surface. Dry your hands well and dust them with flour. Using flour sparingly, form the wet dough in to a tight smooth ball. Allow it to rest on a floured surface for an hour with the mixing bowl turned over top of it.
- Use the palms of your hands to press the dough ball in to a disc. Use floured finger tips to spread it out as wide as possible. Then left one half of the dough and stretch-and-spin the dough along the edges of the crust.
- Transfer the dough to a floured pizza peel. Lightly salt and pepper the dough then cover with roasted acorn squash, grated gouda, and a light drizzle of olive oil.
- Bake until the dough begins to harden, about 5 minutes. Remove the pizza, add mushrooms, continue to bake until the edges are browned and crispy. Garnish with freshly minced chives.