Way back in January, my husband and I went on our first trip to Europe together. Zurich, Athens, and Rome were our hosts for a glorious two weeks or so. The food was amazing just about everywhere we went, but each city had its standouts. Switzerland had its chocolate. Greece had its glorious grilled meats. And Italy, of course, had its pizza.
Actually, I think Italy’s pizza was tied with its pasta, and gelato. Just about everything seemed to have been made to perfection out of gorgeous ingredients. But Rome offered pizza like we had never seen it before. The sheer variety and quality of all the pies we tried left a lasting impression on us.
All I have to say is, food ideas make the best souvenirs.
This pumpkin and squash blossom pizza is inspired by one of our favorites from our time in Rome. These squash blossoms look almost too gorgeous to eat, but don’t be fooled; they’re delicious. Atop a sauce of garlicky pumpkin puree, the squash blossoms taste subtly of zucchini and are delicately floral. Milky, aromatic goat cheese pairs beautifully with it all, rounded out with a bit of honey. Shredded mozzarella melts beautifully under the broiler, the perfect finishing touch to a uniquely tasty creation.
Special pizza toppings call for an extra-special pizza crust. Jim Lahey’s No-Knead Pizza Dough fit the bill perfectly. Crispy on the outside but somehow still tender, it provides the perfect base to the intricate toppings.
- 1/2 recipe Jim Lahey's No-Knead Pizza Dough
- 10-12 large zucchini squash blossoms
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, crushed in a garlic press
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
- 6 tbsp. milk
- 2 tsp. sugar
- Pinch of salt and pepper
- 4 oz. goat cheese, room temperature
- 1 tbsp. honey
- 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
- 1. Gently open squash blossoms and pluck out the pollen stem. Rinse under cold water, being careful not to damage the thin petals, and then lay flat on a few paper towels to pat dry.
- 2. Heat olive oil in a frying pan over medium-high heat and add crushed garlic. Sauté for about 1 minute, until garlic is fragrant. Stir together pumpkin, milk, sugar, and a pinch of salt and black pepper and add to pan. Sauté for another 2-3 minutes, until heated through. Remove from heat and set aside in a small bowl. Mix together goat cheese and honey in a separate bowl and set aside.
- 3. Preheat oven, with a pizza stone inside, to 450 degrees or as high as you're comfortable with. On a well-floured surface, shape pizza dough into two balls. Gently stretch each ball into an 8-9 inch round, and place on a pizza peel. Smear one half of the sauce on each round, and sprinkle with one half of the squash blossoms. Dollop one half of of the goat cheese all over each pizza, and sprinkle each pizza with half of the mozzarella.
- 4. Turn on the broiler and slide the pizza into the oven. Cook each pizza for 5-7 minutes, or until cheese is very lightly browned and crust is slightly crispy on the outside. Remove pizza to a cutting board and serve immediately.
- Pizza dough recipe adapted from Jim Lahey's No Knead Pizza Dough.