Pumpkin Pizza

I. ROASTED PUMPKIN WASTE

Ingredients:
1 large pumpkin

Utensils:
Baking sheet (the ones with a slight ledge, not the completely flat ones)

1. Scoop out the inside of your pumpkin: stringy filament, seeds, a bit of flesh. Use the pumpkin to make a lantern. Keep the innards like it’s gold.

2. Pick out the seeds. Keep them for roasting later.

3. Preheat your oven to 350F. Place all of the filament you’ve collected on a baking sheet and roast for about 30 minutes, as you would with pumpkin flesh. The difference here is the water content. You will need to keep an eye on the pumpkin and take it out of the oven to remove excess water when you see puddles of pumpkin juice water forming.

4. When the filaments are tender and have darkened in colour (but before they start to brown at the top), take out of the oven and let cool a little.

5. Blend into a smooth puree. It should be way more liquid than traditional pumpkin puree. Freeze what you don’t use.

 

II. SPINACH PESTO

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Ingredients:
2 cups baby spinach leaves
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tbsp chopped garlic
salt and pepper to taste

Utensils:
a blender

1. In the blender, combine spinach, pine nuts and garlic. Blend and pulse until roughly chopped.

2. Gradually add the olive oil while blending to incorporate it as much as possible to the solids.

3. Add salt and pepper to taste. Give the pesto a final quick blend to mix the seasoning.

 

III. PUMPKIN PIZZA

Makes two large pizzas.

For the dough:
2 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup fine semolina
1/2 tbsp dry active yeast
a little warm water to dissolve the yeast (the pumpkin water will do)
2/3 cup pumpkin waste puree (preferably still warm)
1 tsp honey
a drizzle of olive oil

For toppings:
1/2 to 2/3 cup spinach pesto
4 yellow zucchini, sliced as thinly as possible
4 small eggplants (roughly the same diametre as the zucchini), sliced very thin too
1 ball of dry mozzarella
goat cheese to taste
1 dry pint mushrooms of various kinds

Utensils:
a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment
your favourite proofing bowl
your usual pizza cooking setup (which in this case was cooking on a piece of parchment paper directly on the oven rack)

1. Dissolve the dry active yeast in a little water. Add the honey in there too.

2. Start with semolina and 1 1/2 cup of flour in your mixer bowl. Make a well. Pour in the pumpkin puree, yeast and add a drizzle of olive oil. Mix together.

3. Add the remaining flour a little at a time while mixing, until an elastic dough forms. It should be still a little sticky so don’t give into the urge to pour all the flour in if it looks ready before all your flour is used.

4. Flour your work plan and turn the dough out. Give it a quick knead (5 minutes) and form a ball. The dough should still be very elastic.

5. Lightly grease your proofing bowl and let your dough proof until it doubles in size (took two hours but could be 45 minutes if the conditions are ideal). Don’t forget to cover your dough if your proofing bowl does not have a lid.

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6. When the dough is ready, divide it in two balls. Work each ball of dough by giving it a light stretch and tucking the stretched part back underneath the ball (like a more gentle version of kneading). Cover the dough and let it rest again for 20 minutes or so.

7. Now you’re ready to shape the dough. Press the dough down lightly with your fingers to flatten the ball while keeping the pizza circular, the same way you would press down focaccia. Pressing down does not get rid of any air bubbles because they simply spread horizontally. To let only some of the air out a bit, stretch the pizza dough gently a couple of times while turning it around. You should be pressing the near the sides and stretching so that it is the middle of the circle that is stretched first. Finish stretching the dough to its final size by stretching the sides to fit your pizza cooking setup.

8. Place your dough on your cooking setup. Press down with your finger 1/2 inch away from the edge of the dough to create a “crust”. This will prevent your pesto from melting off of your pizza.

9. Spread 1/4 cup pesto on your pizza first. Add more if you need to. Make sure to cover all the dough except the crust. Place the zucchini and eggplant slices in alternating patterns on top of the pesto.

10. Don’t grate the mozzarella. You want to make something that is between shavings and slices with a potato peeler. Sprinkle the mozzarella on the pizza.

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11. Cut or shred the mushrooms into bite-size pieces. Place them on the pizza.

12. Crumble 1 serving of goat cheese over each pizza to finish.

13. Bake at 375F for 10-12 minutes, until the dough is cooked and the veggies are tender.

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