Butternut Squash Heaven
The slightly sweet and luxuriously creamy butternut squash cream is perfectly matched with the smokiness of the mozzarella. The red peppers and marinated artichokes liven up the flavor of this already insanely delectable pizza. No wonder it was deemed pope worthy.
Butternut Squash Cream
Cut the butternut squash in half lengthwise, then scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Peel the butternut squash with a vegetable peeler. Cut the squash into 1-inch cubes.
Toss the cubed butternut squash with salt, pepper, and olive oil and roast on a large baking sheet for 25 minutes at 400 degrees, or until just tender. Let cool.
Puree the butternut squash in a food processor, then combine with cow or sheep's milk ricotta and finely grated smoked mozzarella (Roberto imports his from Italy, but you can buy some at your local cheese shop or Italian deli.)
All 'Choked Up
Spread an even layer of the butternut squash cream over the surface of the pizza dough. Next, scatter the thinly sliced marinated artichokes on top of the puree.
It's time to spread the love by spreading the smoked mozz over the pizza.
Alternatively, you can omit this step for now, and continue putting all the other pizza toppings on, cook the pizza without the smoked mozzarella, and then add the cheese 2 to 3 minutes before the pizza is done cooking. This way, the cheese will melt, but it won't get to the runny phase and make your pizza crust soggy.
Next, lay the strips of roasted red and yellow peppers across the pizza so they look like spokes on a wheel. Actually, just arrange them however you find aesthetically pleasing. Then, top the pizza with a few leaves of fresh basil.
Into the Oven
Here you can see Eduardo, one of the awesome pizzaiolos at Kesté, cooking the pizza in a gorgeous wood-fired oven crafted by artisans who flew in from Naples.
Into the Oven II
You, on the other hand, can cook the pizza at the highest temperature your oven can reach. If you're using a pizza stone, you'll want it to be in the oven during the pre-heat. Cook the pizza until the crust is crisp and bubbly and the cheese has melted.
Remove the pizza from the oven, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, and contemplate the millions of reasons butternut squash is the perfect pizza topping.