Making is an excellent opportunity to play with the bountiful selection of that each time of year brings. In fall, the harvest brings vegetables that boast a variety of warm, earthy flavors and textures that can transform a simple pizza into a celebration of the season. By incorporating these ingredients, you not only get to experience the peak of autumn's produce but also support local agriculture and enjoy a freshness that can't be found in out-of-season veggies.
This roasted pumpkin and sausage pizza brought to us by food developer is the epitome of autumn on a plate. Begin by roasting until it's just caramelized and tender, which concentrates its flavor and adds a delightful chew. Pairing the velvety pumpkin with savory Italian sausage and a creamy ricotta base creates the perfect balance of textures for a fall dinner. It's not just a meal, it's a way to savor the full essence of the season, with each bite bringing together autumn's signature warmth and spice.
To make pizza you have to start with a good dough. Whether you buy it pre-made from a store or make a batch yourself, shoot for a ball roughly 16 ounces in weight. The roasted pumpkin that goes on top should be cut into chunks and will be seasoned with olive oil, salt, pepper, and thyme before roasting. The sausage should be uncased, mild Italian sausage, though a hot or spicy sausage would also work as well. The base of the pie is a whole milk ricotta mixture flavored with raw garlic and topped with low-moisture mozzarella. Finally, a few leaves of fresh sage serve as the final garnish to this fall favorite.
Preheat your oven to 400 F.
Toss the pumpkin pieces with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, salt, pepper, and thyme.
Spread the pumpkin out on a baking sheet and roast for about 25-30 minutes, or until the pumpkin is tender and lightly browned.
Break up sausage, spread out on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake until sausage is lightly browned and cooked through, about 10 minutes.
Increase the oven temperature to 475 F or prepare a pizza oven.
Stretch or roll out the dough on a floured surface to your desired thickness.
In a small bowl, combine the ricotta cheese and minced garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Mix well.
Brush the pizza dough all over with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil.
Scatter the mozzarella evenly over the pizza dough.
Dot the ricotta-garlic mixture over the top of the mozzarella.
Spread the roasted pumpkin pieces evenly over the ricotta layer.
Sprinkle the cooked sausage over the pumpkin.
Place the pizza in the preheated oven and bake for about 12-15 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is bubbly and lightly browned.
Remove the pizza from the oven and let it cool for a few minutes. Sprinkle with sage leaves. Slice and serve hot.
While fresh roasted pumpkin is recommended for its depth of flavor and texture, you can use canned pumpkin as a time-saving alternative. However, it's important to note that canned pumpkin puree will have a different moisture content and will be much smoother than freshly roasted cubes of pumpkin. To get a similar effect, spread the puree in a thin layer over your pizza crust before adding the toppings. If using canned, opt for pure pumpkin rather than pumpkin pie filling, which contains added sugars and spices. Remember to adjust the seasoning since canned pumpkin isn't usually seasoned, whereas you would season fresh pumpkin while roasting.
If you don't want to use canned pumpkin, any kind of cubed squash can be substituted here, from Delicata to butternut. Not a squash fan? Try a different late-fall vegetable, like roasted mushrooms, sauteed peppers, or even roasted Brussels sprouts.
Homemade pizza can be an art form, and a few key tips can elevate your pizza game to rival your local pizzeria's offerings. One of the most crucial factors is the heat at which you cook the pizza: Your oven should be as hot as possible. Most commercial pizza ovens reach temperatures well above the maximum on a home oven, but you can still achieve great results. Preheat your oven to 450 F or higher for at least an hour before baking with a pizza stone or steel inside. Be careful not to burn yourself, but this high heat is crucial for developing the classic pizza crust.
This setup mimics the heat distribution of a pizza oven, allowing for a crispy crust with a chewy interior. Don't have a stone? Try using a rimmed baking sheet turned upside down. You'll still want to preheat it so that it can properly cook the bottom of the pizza.