Blind Lady Ale House is one of our favorite restaurants in San Diego. It pairs an outstanding selection of craft beers with delicious pizza, salads, and seasonal specials. A few years ago, Sean and I became obsessed with a pizza offered as a special: butternut squash, shiitake mushrooms, sage, fontina, bechamella, and lemon zest. We would order it whenever it was offered--and, for a time, it became a fixture on the regular menu--but more recently it has only been offered as a special in the fall and winter months.
This week, I decided that, seasons be damned, I wanted that butternut squash pizza. I set out to recreate it, with only the ingredient list from Blind Lady's menu to guide me. It was definitely an experiment, but it turned out quite well and scratched the butternut squash itch!
Butternut Squash Pizza
Inspired by Blind Lady Ale House
1 recipe Pizza Dough (you can use your favorite recipe or store-bought - I will share my go-to recipe below, which comes courtesy of Elissa!)
- 1 tsp. instant or rapid-rise yeast
- 3 cups flour (either all-purpose or bread flour - you can also substitute up to half with whole wheat flour)
- 2 tsp. kosher salt
- 1 to 1 1/4 cups water
- 2 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. olive oil
Combine the yeast, flour, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Turn on machine and add 1 cup water and 2 tablespoons olive oil through feed tube. Process for about 30 seconds. Mixture should begin to form a ball. If needed, gradually add up to 1/4 cup ore water (dough should be a little sticky). Remove from food processor and form dough into a ball. Grease a large bowl with 1 teaspoon olive oil and place the dough in bowl. Cover with plastic wrap or towel and let rise for 1 to 2 hours. (I have also had success making the pizza dough in the morning before I go to work, and then putting it in the fridge for a slow rise. When you come home, take it out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature for about 30 minutes.) Makes 1 large or 2 (or more) smaller pizzas.
- 1 cup bechamel sauce (I used this recipe from Mario Batali, which turned out quite well)
- 1 cup grated Fontina cheese
- 2/3 cup sliced cremini mushrooms (I couldn't find shiitakes at my local store)
- 1 cup frozen butternut squash, cooked according to package instructions
- 2 Tbsp. fresh sage, chopped
- 1 Tbsp. lemon zest
Preheat the oven and your pizza stone (if using) to 500 degrees. Roll out the pizza dough on a floured surface into whatever shape you like - mine usually ends up being kind of an oblong, rounded rectangle to match the shape of my pizza stone. Once it's rolled out, I like to slide a piece of parchment paper under the dough to facilitate easy transfer to the oven/pizza stone using my pizza peel. Spread the bechamel in a thin layer all over the crust, followed by the cheese. Then arrange the mushrooms and the butternut squash. The squash that I purchased (Whole Foods' 365 brand) came in rather large chunks, and I broke them up into smaller mounds to ensure more even distribution. Sprinkle the sage over the top, and transfer the pizza to the oven. Bake for about 12 minutes, until the crust is puffed and golden brown on the bottom and everything is looking melty on top. Remove from the oven, allow to rest for at least five minutes, and top with lemon zest. Enjoy!