I don’t know what I’m going to do when Pizza Month is over. Luckily for me (and you) we are only about half way through, because we’ve got some good ones for you. Including today’s feature: Roasted Pumpkin Pizza with Fried Sage and Toasted Pecans. And as a special treat – at the end of the post Astor Wines has again treated us with some wine pairings. So don’t forget to check those out.
So, by now I am assuming that you have roasted your wee lil’ pumpkin just like I told you to on Monday. If not, get to work, post-haste, because you are going to need those little golden nuggets of roasted pumpkin-ness right now. And go:
What you need:
Roasted pumpkin slices (use your judgment on how many)
A handful of whole pecans (more if you snack on them while you cook, like I do)
A small bunch of sage
1/3 cup heavy cream
2 Tbsp butter
Pinch of nutmeg
1/8 cup grated Parmeggiano Reggiano
salt and pepper
What To Do:
Heat up your oven (with pizza stone if you’ve got one) to 500 degrees. Prepare your dough. Maybe by now you’ve tried your hand at making some? At this point it should be ready to go, so get it ready by rolling it out and placing it on your pizza peel (sprinkled with semolina flour or cornmeal so your dough doesn’t stick) and set it aside.
In either a grill pan or a frying pan, melt 1 Tbsp of the butter. Then place your slices of roasted pumpkin in the pan to toast them. Give them a sprinkling of salt while they are in there.
Once you’ve got those pumpkin pieces nice ‘n’ toasty, set them aside in a bowl.
Now, get excited everyone, because we are going to make an Alfredo sauce – or a variation on it – for the pizza. Get out a frying pan (or wash and reuse the one in which you toasted your pumpkin). Melt the other 1 Tbsp of butter in there. Pour in the 1/3 cup of heavy cream. Add some salt, pepper and the dash of nutmeg and stir. You will want the cream mixture to start bubbling a bit. Keep stiring. You need it to thicken (so it doesn’t run right off the pizza and make a big ol’ mess, setting off all the smoke detectors in your kitchen….not that that’s ever happened to me or anything. I’m just warning you). As it thickens, you will notice that it will start to coat the back of your wooden spoon (or whatever stirring implement you happen to be using – I find a small squeegee works in a pinch*). Once you have the sauce at a nice thickness, remove from the heat and stir in your grated parm. Oh so creamy!
Ok, before we get too excited, let’s put all the pieces together.
Using a spoon, smooth that Alfredo sauce on your uncooked, rolled-out, fantastic-looking pizza dough. Then, place your roasted, toasted pumpkin slices on top of that, in a nice arrangement. Then, place some pecans on top of that.
How’s it going? Good? Good. Now, shimmy that thing into the oven and onto your pizza stone (which by now should be nice and hot) via your semolina-coated pizza peel.
Now, we are gonna need that frying pan a THIRD time. I know, it’s nuts. But it’s worth it. Heat a little olive oil in the pan. How much? 1 Tbsp? Just a bit. Take about 5-6 leaves from your bunch of sage, and once your oil is nice and hot, throw those little leaves in the pan. They should start to fry and get crispy. Once that happens you can take them out of the frying pan. And put them in the fire. NO! Put them aside (on a dish or paper towel).
Now I know you’ve been keeping an eye on your pizza that’s in the oven during this time. Please don’t forget about that. Take a peek at it and see how things are moving along in there. Is the sauce bubbling? Are the outer crusts turning golden brown? If so, you have my permission to remove the pizza (carefully) from the oven using your trusty peel. Once your masterpiece is out, place it on a serving dish and garnish with the fried sage leaves.
You’re gonna like it.
When we made this, we added a salad of spinach, purple figs and cucumbers with a honey dressing. Like this one:
Now, the obvious question remains. WHAT are you going to drink with this? To answer this question, I turned to the experts at Astor Wines in NYC. These guys are just so helpful. They seemed intrigued by this combination in a pizza and have offered 4 different wines. Below, I give you their recs with tasting notes.
1. Bourgogne Rouge “Le Chapitre”, René Bouvier 2006 (20558) – A pinot noir with nice red fruit, here you get rustic raspberries, again will work well with the pumpkin. This wine also shows a bit of herbaceous notes and is slightly earthy on the end making it a no brainer with the sage and pecans.
2. Lagrein, Muri Gries 2008 (45679) – Pizza/Italy/Italian wine – a natural choice for the type of dish but also will go beautifully with the ingredients. Like the pinot noir, it will offer some lush fruit, but as a relative to Syrah, it also offers some spice and herb qualities that can bring all the flavors together in a unique and delicious way.
3. Moscato Giallo “Vigna Giere”, Vivallis 2008 (20466) – This Italian white has a touch of sweetness on the palate that will actually play off the natural sweetness of the pumpkin, making this dish a touch more savory as a whole. The slightly floral aromatics will blend nicely with the sage. Watch to not over-chill the wine or you’ll miss out on the subtle orange aromatics.
4. Stuhlmuller Vineyards Estate Chardonnay 2008 (22188) – Chardonnay that has a touch of oak influence will blend the creamy aspects, the pumpkin and cream. The food and the wine together will create a nice round feeling in your mouth and with hints stone fruit in this white the fruit will bring out the pumpkin flavor.
* We would like to note that a squeegee actually makes a terrible Alfredo sauce stirring device. We just really like the word “squeegee”. Squeeeeeeeegeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee… ok, sorry.