For the dough:
3 1/2 cups lukewarm water
1 Tbsp. yeast
1 1/2 Tbsp. kosher salt
7 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
Note: Do you not have the time to make your dough? You can pick up the all-ready-made dough at most stores!
For the pizza:
1 small butternut squash peeled and cubed
2 cloves garlic
fresh ricotta cheese (Whole Foods has vegan ricotta cheese)
a few sprigs of thyme leaves removed
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
10-15 sage leaves
canola oil for frying
For the pizza:
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. Do not knead. This step is done in minutes and yields dough that is loose enough to conform to its container. You are finished when everything is uniformly moistened without dry patches.
Cover the vessel with a non-airtight lid and allow the dough to rise at room temperature until it begins to flatten on the top, for 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.
On Baking Day
Prepare toppings in advance. See the recipes below.
Thirty minutes before you're ready to bake, preheat a baking stone at your oven's highest temperature and place it on the bottom rack of the oven. Note: I do not own a pizza stone and have discovered great results by simply baking the pizza on a parchment-lined jelly roll pan. Do not use an insulated baking sheet — this will not yield as crispy a crust as a traditional baking pan.
If you use a baking stone, 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 that 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 in 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 dough with your hands and a rolling pin on a work surface or directly onto the pizza peel (if using) 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. Transfer the round to a pizza peel or a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
Add your toppings (below).
Slide the pizza onto a baking stone or place a sheet pan in the oven. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, turning halfway if one side is browning faster than the other. Bake for as long as five minutes more if necessary.
Add Balsamic Vinegar
Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer on low 20-30 minutes until glaze is reduced by half.
The glaze should coat the back of a spoon when done.
Pour into a glass jar, seal with a lid, and refrigerate.
Keeps up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator.
Makes about ¼ cup.
For the toppings:
Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
Place the cubes of squash on a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, season with salt to taste, toss to coat, redistribute onto the sheet in one layer, and place in the oven for about 20 minutes or until fork-tender.
After rolling out a pizza round and placing it on a prepared baking sheet (see recipe above), brush the dough with the Bittersweet Herb Farm Garlic with Rosemary Oil. Meanwhile, peel and finely chop the garlic and add it to about 1/4 cup of olive oil. (I spooned some of the oil into the center of the dough and then, using the back of my spoon, spread it over the dough to coat evenly.) Spread a thin layer of fresh ricotta over the Bittersweet Herb Farm Garlic with Rosemary Oil. Sprinkle with fresh thyme to taste. Top with baked squash slices. Top with grated Parmesan. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, fry the sage. The sage leaves should take longer than 5 seconds in hot oil to crisp up. I found that frying the leaves one at a time in a small sauté pan filled with a layer of canola oil worked well.
Remove the pizza from the oven and top with the crispy sage. Enjoy!