Thursday, September 23, 2010

Roasted Autumn Vegetable Pizzas with Toasted Walnuts, Gouda and Mozzarella Cheeses

Being that today was the first official day of Autumn, I was inspired to create a dish taking full advantage of autumn produce.  I thought of salads, casseroles, or simple roasted vegetables, but what really made me hungry the minute I thought of it was pizza!  It was a disgusting rainy day in Minnesota and what better than a comfort food like pizza to remedy the blahs of such a day!  I had some parsnips, carrots, rutabegas and apples at home as well as some shallots, and I knew they would go wonderfully together atop a crispy crust nestled in cheese of some sort.  Locally produced goat gouda was my cheese of choice, since gouda goes so well with apples and roots, but I threw on a bit of mozzarella as well, to spread out the flavor.  Some walnuts were added to the pizza as a last minute addition for a bit of crunch along with the soft veggies and some toasty nutty goodness!  It was a beautiful masterpiece with all the different colored veggies before it went into the oven...and smelled incredible when it emerged!  Biting into the cheesy roasted vegetable goodness atop the crispy crust was an where I had to close my eyes and say Mmmm!  The apples provided a  tart sweet pop along with all of the savoriness of the veggies and cheese as well.  Autumn is here, so celebrate, and make yourself a pizza! 

Autumn Vegetable Pizzas with Toasted Walnuts, Gouda and Mozzarella Cheeses
Makes 2 10 inch pizzas

2 medium parsnips,  thinly sliced on the bias
2 medium carrots, thinly sliced on the bias
1 small rutabega, thinly sliced into pieces about the size of the other veggies
1 small tart sweet apple, sliced
extra virgin olive oil
6 small shallots, slice
2 garlic cloves, minced
balsamic vinegar
2 whole wheat pizza crusts store bought or home-made*
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp dried thyme
sea salt
freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup toasted walnuts
4 oz shredded mozzarella cheese
4 oz shredded Gouda cheese

A good quality pizza stone is essential to a crispy crust. Place the stone on the highest rack in the oven, then crank up the heat as high as possible at least an hour before baking the pizza (but if you don't have a stone, still use the top rack, but you will need to leave the pizza on a sheet pan to bake). Line a sheet pan with foil, and spray with non-stick spray. Toss parsnips, carrots, rutabegas and apples with just enough oil to coat and spread out on it, and roast until softened, and starting to brown at edges, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside. Meanwhile, in a medium non-stick skillet, heat a little olive oil, on medium heat and add shallots. Cook, stirring occasionally for about 10-15 minutes until browned, softened and caramelly. Add garlic and cook for a minute more, until fragrant, and add a splash of balsamic vinegar. Remove from heat. To assemble pizzas, place one piece of the dough on a piece of parchment paper, spray rolling pin with non-stick spray and roll out as thin as possible (about 10 inches is best) Repeat with other piece of dough using another sheet of parchment. Sprinkle salt and pepper over crust, then rosemary and thyme, then veggies, walnuts, mozzarella and gruyere. Using a pizza peel, or an upside down sheet pan, carefully slide the dough (keeping it on the parchment) into the oven. Bake for about 3-5 minutes, or until crust is starting to brown and cheese is bubbling. Carefully slide the parchment onto a sheet pan or pizza peel to remove from oven. Let cool a few minutes and serve!

*Amy's Whole Wheat Pizza Crust
Makes 8 10 inch crusts
4 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 Tbsp Salt
2 Pkgs rapid-rise yeast
2 cups warm water

To make the dough, in a large bowl, combine the flour and salt. Make a well in the center, pour in the water and then dissolve the yeast in the water. Gradually stir the flour into the water mixture, until the dough comes together. Turn out onto a floured surface, then knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Oil a large bowl with olive oil, then place dough in bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Place in a warm area, such as near the oven, and let the dough rise until doubled in bulk. When dough has risen, punch down and divide into 8 pieces. You can either freeze the dough in individual portions (just place in ziplock bags and take out the night before you want to use it, then it will be ready to use the next day), or set aside to use right away. If making the recipe above, you will need two crusts.


Lindsey @ FRESH AIR + FRESH FOOD said...

Ooooo! Sounds so gooooouda!

Shirley said...

Yum! I love roasted vegetable pizzas. Never thought to try one with gouda, but I do like gouda!

Anonymous said...

Looks to die for! I loved vegetable pizza, it is the only pizza I eat!

We Love said...

We love pizza and we really love walnuts, could be the best combination ever! Thanks for the post. Will certainly be making this for Sunday dinner. What a great recipe, thank you!

Stella said...

Yum Amy, you always create the best flavor combinations!

Claudia said...

Now, you know how to usher in autumn. The cheeses, the vegetables and then those nuts - perfect!

Amy said...

This looks amazing! It's springtime where I am right now, but I'm tucking this away for future reference - in about 6 months time :) All those flavours look as if they would meld together so well.

x Amy