Delicata is one of my all time favorite squash if nothing else than for its simplicity. As the name implies, the tender skin is well, delicate, only slightly tougher than a summer squash, and does not need to be peeled before eating. I like to slice it into rings and roast (seeds removed of course.)
I found this recipe months ago and it was inteneded to be topped by summer peaches, but I loved the idea of using sweet roasted squash instead. The pizza crust doesn’t have to rise overnight in the refrigerator, but the results will be more flavorful. As a matter of fact, I baked some leftover dough about 4 nights later with good results.
It is very hard to get stellar results in your home oven, but I think a pizza stone is a wise investment that will give you as close to a blistered, chewy crust as you are going to get without a wood-fired oven. I actually use one of The Professor’s kiln shelves, but you can find pizza stones at any kitchen or big box store.
4 cups bread flour, plus extra for stretching dough and dusting pizza peel
1/2 cup cornmeal
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
For the Toppings:
1 medium delicata squash, cut into 1/4-inch thick rings, seeds removed
1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 yellow onion, sliced
1/2 cup hazelnuts, coarsley chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
red chile flakes, to taste
5 ounces baby spinach
Shaved Parmesan, optional
For the Dough:
Combine water, yeast, and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment. Let sit until foamy, about 5 minutes. Add 3 cups of flour, cornmeal, olive oil, and salt; mix until combined, about 2 minutes. If dough seems sticky add remaining cup of flour a little at a time until dough cleans the sides of the bowl. Continue mixing until dough is very tight, about 3 mintues more.
Cover with a towel and let rest 20 minutes. Knead on medium speed until dough is smooth and springs back to the touch, about 5 minutes more. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate over night. (Take dough out of refrigerator 1 hour before making pizzas.
For the Toppings:
Heat oven to 425°F. Brush both sides of squash rings with olive oil and lay in a single layer on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and roast until knife tender, about 15-20 minutes.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a medium frying pan over medium heat. Add onions and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally until brown and caramelized.
Heat remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil in a medium frying pan over medium-high heat. Add hazelnuts, garlic, and paprika and cook, stirring occasionally until hazelnuts are toasted and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.
For the Pizzas:
Place a pizza stone or a upside-down baking sheet in the bottom of the oven and heat oven to 500°F. Divide dough into 8 pieces. Dust a pizza peel or the back side of a baking sheet with flour. Working with one piece at a time, stretch dough until 1/4-inch thick on a lightly floured work surface. Transfer dough to pizza peel, brush with olive oil and top with some onions, a few slices of squash, a sprinkling of nut mixture and some chile flakes.
Slide pizza onto hot stone and bake until blistered and crust is crisp, about 8 to 10 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough and toppings.
Remove pizza from oven and top each with a handful of spinach a drizzling of olive oil, and shavings of Parmesan.