It’s been, what, a week since I made that other fall pizza? Whatever. I bought twice as many butternut squash as I needed for some other recipe and I wanted to use the leftovers before they went bad. Food waste is a real and pressing issue in this country. That being said, butternut squash freezes really well if you chop it up, and it’s easy to defrost and add to soups.
Down to business. Found the recipe in 17 Insanely Delicious Ways to Cook Butternut Squash this Fall, the recipe itself is Sweet ‘n’ Spicy Roasted Butternut Squash Pizza with Cider-Caramelized Onions and Bacon. So many words, right? Now, since I’d never made this before, I didn’t make any big changes to the instructions, so all of my comments are based on the vanilla recipe. (Did I just say ‘vanilla recipe’? I’ve been looking at r/skyrim too much.) However, I did use a Boboli pizza crust like I did with the previous pizza recipe, so take that info with a grain of salt.
This recipe calls for a chipotle chile in adobo sauce, which I’ve never had any trouble finding in the Mexican or Latin American food section at the grocery store. The thing is, you usually get about 5 or 6 chiles in a can, and you almost never need that many for one recipe. If you do, please tell me what that recipe is so I can eat it because that sounds delicious and incredibly spicy. I’ve successfully frozen tomato paste in the past (just drop tablespoonfuls of it onto wax paper, freeze, done) so when I bought a can of chipotle chiles about three months ago, I thought I’d try freezing the leftovers. Whether or not it works is…questionable. The adobo sauce is a lot thinner than tomato paste, so it has a tendency to run on the wax paper. Also, since it’s wetter, it absorbs into the wax paper and I ended up with little shreds of wax paper in my adobo sauce. In the end, it all froze, but it wasn’t pretty. It’s easy to get the paper out once the chile is defrosted, but it was kind of a mess and I’m not sure I’d do it again.
Moving on. Even though we had 1.5 pounds of frozen butternut squash, it still took another half of a medium-sized butternut squash before I got to the 4 cups required. Ugh it took so long. The glaze/sauce for the butternut squash is basically honey and olive oil, which don’t mix together very well. I even tried heating it up a little, but they just did not want to combine. I ended up mixing the glaze and the squash in a bowl before putting it on the baking sheet because I was worried that it wouldn’t mix very well on the sheet. That seemed to work pretty well.
When those finally got into the oven, I started on the bacon, since I needed the fat for cooking the cider-caramelized onions. The recipe says to cook the bacon all the way to crispy, but I cooked it a little short of that because I figured it would crisp up in the oven, which it did. When the bacon was done, I followed the recipe and poured off all but a tablespoon of the fat for cooking the onions. I saved the extra fat for frying the sage at the end, which the recipe doesn’t say, but I think it worked out pretty well and I used something that would otherwise have just been thrown out, so yay! Anyway, I was a little skeptical about the onions and the cider, but they turned out pretty well.
Slice up some apples on the mandoline, shred up some cheddar (or buy pre-shredded, which is what I did because I just can’t be bothered), you’re pretty much good to go. We put on the chipotle-olive oil sauce, the onions, half the butternut squash, the cheese, the apples, and then I realized that there was still half the butternut squash left. The pizza was already like three feet high so I decided to not use the other half of the squash. Also, I realized that the recipe calls for you to cook the bacon but it never says to put the bacon on the pizza! I almost left the bacon off! How dare she forget the bacon.
Once all five hundred ingredients were on the pizza, it got baked to the point where I realized that it’s a really oily pizza and maybe I should’ve put it on a rimmed baking sheet instead of a cookie sheet because now all the oil is dripping off the edges and making smoke…oops. The smoke detector didn’t go off, though, due to some very fast footwork by my lovely husband, so gold star to him.
Yay final product! (Why is it so tall?)
This recipe doesn’t require many special techniques – I think most of us know how to cut up a squash and slice an apple – so it’s not difficult in that respect. However, the fact that there are so many different ingredients (a point I’ll touch on more below) means that the prep takes quite a while. We didn’t make the pizza crust and we already had chipotle chiles and butternut squash in the freezer and it still took almost two hours. So…it’s pretty middle-of-the-road, I suppose. Ease of making: 5/10
The pizza tasted good, yes, but I have one major complaint: TOO DAMN MANY INGREDIENTS. There were just wayyyyyy too many things going on! Why does it need sharp cheddar AND bleu cheese? Chili powder and cinnamon go well together, and cinnamon and cumin go well together, but all three of them together was just too much. In all honesty, this pizza didn’t need apples, either – they didn’t really add anything when you consider that the butternut squash is already kind of sweet and it was roasted in honey. Plus, I only used half of the squash because the pizza was getting so overloaded with ingredients that I was worried it would get too soggy. (Ended up saving the other half and now I’m eating it as a side with lunch. Score.) You could probably cut half the ingredients and end up with a much better pizza. Maybe it didn’t taste as good because I didn’t use the fancy pizza dough the recipe calls for, but seriously? It’s all just too much. Also, if you look at the pictures on the source site, it looks like she’s got a dozen pieces of butternut squash on her pizza. WHAT IS HAPPENING??? Yum factor: 6/10
Would I make this again? Maybe, but in my opinion, the recipe requires so much adjusting that it probably wouldn’t be the same pizza anymore. I’d love for it to be more spicy, which might just be me, but if a recipe calls itself “sweet and spicy” it had better make my nose sweat. (Does that happen to anyone else?) Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go mop up all of the oil swimming around in the bottom of my oven.