TASTY AUTUMN EATS
Autumn means the start of a new season, meaning new colors, smells and food. We can take all of these aspects and incorporate them into comforting and warm flavors that autumn seems to subliminally bring out in every dish. Try out these delicate and tasty autumn inspired recipes to start off this fall.
A slice of pre-cooked polenta, fried in a bit of butter, salted
Two slices of canadian bacon, lightly browned
One egg, fried in a greased heat-safe biscuit cutter, salted and peppered
Three leaves of fresh arugula
A few shavings of parmesan
Make the Dough
3 1/2 cups Lukewarm water
1 tablespoon yeast
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
7 1/2 cups (2 lbs. 6 oz.) unbleached all purpose flour
Add yeast to the water in a 5-qt bowl or, preferably, in a lidded (not airtight) plastic food container or storage bucket. Don’t worry about getting the yeast to dissolve completely. Add the flour and salt and mix with a wooden spoon (or food processor or stand mixer) until incorporated. Use wet hands to get the last bit of flour to incorporate if you’re not using a machine. Do not knead; it isn’t necessary. You’re finished when everything is uniformly moistened without dry patches. This step is done in a matter of minutes and yields dough that is loose enough to conform to its container.
Cover vessel with a non-airtight lid and allow dough to rise at room temperature until it begins to flatten on the top, about two hours, depending on the temperature of the room and the initial temperature of the water. Do not punch down the dough.
Refrigerate the dough overnight or for at least 3 hours. Once it’s refrigerated, the dough will collapse, and it will never rise again in the bucket — that’s normal for this dough. Store the dough in the refrigerator.
On Baking Day
Thirty minutes before you’re ready to bake, preheat a baking stone at your oven’s highest temperature, placed in the bottom third of the oven. Do not use an insulated baking sheet — this will not yield as crispy a crust as traditional baking pan.
Prepare a pizza peel with flour, cornmeal or parchment paper to prevent sticking. Sprinkle the surface of your refrigerated dough with flour. Pull up and cut off a 1/2-pound (orange-size) piece of dough, using a serrated knife or kitchen shears. Hold the piece of dough in your hands and add a little more flour as needed so it won’t stick to your hands. Gently stretch the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the dough a quarter turn as you go to form a ball. Most of the dusting flour will fall off; it’s not intended to be incorporated onto the dough. The bottom of the dough may appear to be a collection of bunched ends, but it will flatten out and adhere once you roll it into a pizza or flatbread. The entire process should take no longer than 20 to 30 seconds.
Flatten the dough with your hands and a rolling pin on a work surface or directly onto the pizza peel to produce a 1/8-inch-thick round, dusting with flour to keep the dough from adhering to your work surface. The dough round should be about 12-inches across. Use a dough scraper to transfer the round to pizza peel.
Add your toppings (See Below)
Slide pizza onto baking stone or place sheet pan in oven. Bake 8 to 10 minutes, turning half way if one side is browning faster than the other. Bake for as long as five minutes more if necessary.
Butternut Squash Pizza with Crispy Sage
1 small butternut squash (about a pound, but you will likely have leftover squash)
2 cloves garlic
Fresh ricotta cheese
A few sprigs thyme, leaves removed
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
10-15 sage leaves
Canola oil for frying
Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Remove the skin: Slice the top of the squash about 1/2-inch under the stem to create a flat edge. Repeat with the other end. Cut crosswise through the squash just above the bulb — cutting the squash into two pieces makes the peeling process easier. Stand the squash (whichever piece you want to peel first) upright and run your knife down the sides of the squash removing the peel along the way. Repeat with bulb portion if desired. After peeling the bulb portion, cut it in half, scoop out seeds and discard. Cut the peeled squash crosswise into 1/4-inch thick slices.
Place the slices of squash on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, season with kosher salt to taste, toss to coat, redistribute onto sheet in one layer and place in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until fork tender.
Meanwhile, peel and finely chop the garlic and add it to about 1/4 cup of olive oil. After rolling out a pizza round and placing it on a prepared baking sheet (see recipe above), brush dough with the garlic olive oil. Spread a thin layer of fresh ricotta over the garlic oil. Sprinkle with fresh thyme to taste. Top with baked squash slices. Top with grated Parmigiano. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, fry the sage. The sage leaves should take no longer than 5 seconds in hot oil to crisp up. Frying the leaves one at a time in a small sauté pan filled with a layer of canola oil works well. The crispy sage adds a really nice flavor.
Remove the pizza from the oven and top with the crispy sage.
3 fennel bulbs
1 tablespoon softened butter
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1/3 cup grated Parmesan
4 sprigs thyme
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Boil 3 fennel bulbs, trimmed and split lengthwise, until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain fennel, cut side down, on paper towels, 5 minutes.
Place fennel, cut side up, in a buttered 8-inch square baking dish and brush with 1 tablespoon softened butter. Season with coarse salt and ground pepper and top with 1/3 cup grated Parmesan and 4 sprigs thyme.
Bake until cheese is golden brown, about 20 minutes.
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