Sometimes you just need a pizza. A homemade, fresh, cheesy, flavorful pizza.
Over the weekend I saw this recipe for a brussels sprouts bacon pizza cooked in a cast iron skillet, and I couldn’t wait to try it out. Sunday dinner? Yes, please!!
Then I did my weekly grocery shopping and I couldn’t find any brussels sprouts in the entire store, and the helpful produce man told me they had “run out.” What? What grocery store runs out of brussels sprouts? Aren’t they a produce staple? Is it because it’s January and people are trying to eat healthier and cram brussels sproouts onto unhealthy foods (like bacon pizza) to feel better about themselves? Who would do such a thing….;)
Anyway, I decided to follow the recipe for its crust-baking method and then wing it from there.
The result was amazing!! I wound up making a bacon butternut squash pizza with a balsamic-Sriracha reduction. Oh yes.
The pizza was actually really easy to make, even the crust! And the best part is that it literally took two minutes in the oven. I kid you not.
Now I know some people are intimidated by yeast and making your own pizza crust (heck, I am) but I promise it’s not too hard. If I can do it you can too! And once you taste the difference you’ll never go back.
Ok so to make this recipe, I first combined 1 1/8 cups hot water (think hot tub temperature), one packet of yeast, 1 tbsp. honey and 1 tbsp. olive oil in a large bowl. TIP: Do the olive oil first, so the honey slides right out of the tablespoon. Then I whisked it up and let it sit for about 10 minutes or until it was foamy (this picture was pre-foam).
After 10 minutes I mixed in 2 1/2 cups of flour and 1 tsp. of salt. For this recipe I used half whole wheat flour and half white flour. I wouldn’t recommend using all whole wheat because it can get kind of dense and chewy, but white whole wheat flour might work (I’ve never tried it). I usually just like to use equal parts whole wheat and white flour to get a good consistency.
Once the flour and salt was added to the mixture, I formed the dough into a ball and worked in an additional 1/2 cup flour, kneading it on a floured surface for a few minutes. Then I rubbed the same bowl with olive oil and placed the dough inside, turning it to coat. Then I covered it with a towel and placed it in a warm place to rise for 1 1/2 hours.
Ready to rise!
While I was looking for a warm place to let my dough rise, I realized that I needed to roast the butternut squash soon, and the top of the stove usually gets pretty warm when the oven is on. I decided to preheat the oven for the squash a little bit earlier than I normally would have so the dough would have a nice warm spot on the stove to rise.
A little while later, I chopped up about 1/4 of a large butternut squash into evenly-sized pieces and tossed them in a bit of salt, pepper, olive oil, and dried rosemary. Then I spread them onto a foil-lined cookie sheet and popped them into the oven for about 15 – 20 minutes, or until a fork pierced them without any resistance. Then I took them out of the oven and set them to the side.
Next I got the oven ready for the pizza by moving the top rack up to the very top slot, and turning the heat up to broil. It was getting HOT!
Ohhhkay. While the dough finished its last twenty minutes or so of rising, I got to work on some bacon and diced onions. I chopped up four slices of uncooked bacon and cooked them in a large skillet until crispy. Then I used a slotted spoon to remove the bacon to a paper-towel lined plate.
Then Fabio and I took the trash out and stupidly left the bacon on the counter, thinking we could trust our dog because “he’s been so well-behaved these days.”
Then I drained all but a couple tablespoons of the bacon grease and cooked the onions right in the grease. Yummmm. This is not at all healthy my friends. Did I warn you about that? If I did an insufficient job I apologize. Whole wheat crust + butternut squash does not cancel out cheese and bacon fat. Sorry to disappoint you.
Anyway! When the pizza had about 10 more minutes left to rise, I placed my cast iron skillet on the stove over high heat. It will get really, really hot, so if you try this method be careful! Mine also smoked a bit at first, so I turned the heat down a tiny bit and it was fine.
While the pan was getting hot and the dough finished rising I started on the balsamic-Sriracha reduction. Yummm. This was really easy- I just poured about 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar in a saucepan over medium-low heat and stirred in about 1 tsp. of Sriracha sauce. Then I let it cook down right until it was time to serve the pizza so it could get nice and thick. Yum!
Finally once all my toppings were ready to go and the dough had risen for long enough, I punched the dough down and worked in a bit more flour in places where it was sticky. Then I layered the pizza with a bit of shredded mozzarella cheese, butternut squash, bacon, onions, a bit of provolone cheese broken in to chunks, and more mozzarella. I didn’t go too crazy with the cheese because there were enough other toppings on this pizza, and I thought it was fine.
The next step was really tricky and I had to get Fabio to help me. We had to transfer the pizza that was on my floured cutting board into the piping hot cast iron skillet. I know, it sounds impossible, but using a combination of spatulas and hands we made it work pretty well. I think this would would a lot better if you had one of those pizza paddles to slide it right in, but unfortunately we don’t have one. If you make this recipe you might want to recruit a friend for this step!
Then I let the pizza cook in the cast iron skillet over high heat for about 30 seconds, at which point I transferred it to the oven.
I placed the cast iron skillet on the top rack (which, as you remember, was moved up to the top slot) and let it cook for one minute. Then I used a pot holder to rotate the skillet 180 degrees and cook for one minute more.
After two minutes in the oven, my pizza was done! I drizzled it with a bit of the balsamic-Sriracha reduction and gave it about 5 more minutes to cool off on the counter.
It was actually really easy to cut and get out of the skillet, which I was worried about.
So delicious! From start to finish this recipe was really easy, and the longest part was waiting for the dough to rise. The combination of salty, sweet, and spicy flavors was delicious!!! I can’t wait to make this again 🙂
- For the Crust (NOTE: this recipe makes enough for TWO pizza crusts. I froze one and used the other)
- 1⅛ cups warm water
- 3 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1½ cups whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- For the Pizza
- 4 slices bacon, chopped
- ½ medium onion, diced
- ¼ butternut squash, diced
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon dried rosemary
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- 2 slices provolone cheese, ripped into pieces
- ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1 teaspoon balsamic Sriracha reduction
- In a large bowl, combine water, yeast, honey and olive oil. Mix with a spoon, then let sit until foamy, about 10 minutes. Add in 2½ cups flour and salt, stirring with a spoon until the dough comes together but it still sticky.
- Using your hands, form the dough into a ball and work in the additional ½ cup flour, kneading it on a floured surface for a few minutes. Rub the same bowl with olive oil then place the dough inside, turning to coat. Cover with a towel and place in a warm place to rise for about 1½ hours.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Toss diced butternut squash with olive oil, salt, pepper and place on a foil-lined baking sheet. Roast squash in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until a fork can pierce them with no resistance. Remove from the oven and set aside.
- Cook bacon in a skillet (NOT the cast iron skillet you'll be using) until crispy. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper-towel lined plate.
- Reserve 1 tbsp. bacon fat and cook onions in the fat. Set aside.
- Move top oven rack to the top slot and set oven to broil. Meanwhile, set cast iron skillet on the stove on high.
- After the dough has risen, punch it down and place it back on the floured surface. Work in a more flour if the dough is sticky. Divide the dough evenly in half (or thirds). Place one dough on a well-floured pizza peel and roll into a round about the size of your skillet.
- Add cheese, bacon, onions, and squash to the pizza crust, then transfer to the VERY HOT cast iron skillet. Use a pot warmer because the handle will be hot.
- Cook the pizza in the skillet on the stove for 30 second on high.
- Transfer the skillet to the oven and cook for one minute. Then rotate skillet 180 degrees and cook one minute more.
- Remove from oven and drizzle with reduction. Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving.
If you make this recipe please let me know how it turns out!
Question of the day: What are your favorite pizza toppings?