Learning about food, photography, and writing. Sharing what I find.


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Per Your Request: Butternut Squash Phyllo Pizza

Thank you to everyone who voted for the Second Adventure in Phyllo Dough. It was a real pleasure seeing the response and working on a recipe requested by the masses! As you can see above, your choice produced a stunning and rich result.

There's nothing like the perfect combination of flavors. Better yet, there's nothing like bacon to bring out the perfection in all other flavors. This Butternut Squash and Bacon Pizza is a delightfully authentic Italian flavor combination, with a bit of a twist (my new friend, Phyllo). At our favorite pizza place in Orvieto, Charlie's Pizza, the Ghiotta Pizza was a hit among us American visitors. Its squash, onion, pancetta, and gorgonzola topping medley was well balanced and exciting to our palates that were so inundated by tomato. I was thrilled when this recipe choice won the vote because of its connection to so many wonderful memories in the Charlie's Pizza dining room . . .

(The following is a slight modification of the recipe found here)
The Ingredients:
  • 1.5 lb. butternut squash
  • 1 Tbs. vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 6 Tbs. butter, melted
  • 10 sheets phyllo dough
  • 1.5-2 cups freshly grated, aged parmesan cheese
  • 10 slices of bacon, fried until crispy and broken into pieces
  • 1 Tbs. fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 1/4 cup scallions, chopped in small rings (only use green part)
  • 5-10 thinly sliced rings of red onion
The Assembly (well-worth the effort):

Quarter your Squash and remove the seeds.

Peel the sections carefully and thoroughly.

 Aren't the peels pretty?

Cut each segment up into 3/4 inch pieces.

Heat a heavy pan and the Vegetable Oil over medium heat. Then add the squash pieces and stir to coat in oil.

Cook squash in oil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add Water and salt to taste, cover and allow to simmer for 10 minutes.
While it simmers, fry up bacon and drain. Reserve.

Remove the cover from the squash and simmer for another 5 minutes or until most of the water is absorbed. The squash will begin to break up a bit.

Puree the cooked squash using a food processor or an immersion blender. Salt and pepper to taste.

Set squash aside.
Assemble your other materials for creating the crust. Try to grate your cheese as close to prep time as possible (A really good Parmesan cheese will crunch slightly as you grate it. Mmmmmmmm)!

Use a non-stick baking sheet so that you don't have to grease it (I greased mine and the bottom layer of phyllo stuck to it, making the final crust-folding stages difficult).
Place your first sheet of Phyllo Dough on the baking sheet. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with about 1 Tbs. of the grated Parmesan Cheese.

Place next layer of phyllo over the first and press firmly to adhere them.
Repeat the process for all ten sheets, ending with a butter-brushed top phyllo sheet.  
Very carefully fold over all edges about a centimeter, pressing them down firmly.  Then fold up again to create a bit of a border or lip, crimping the corners to allow them to stand up.

This will be a messy process, filled with little shards of phyllo. Don't worry.
Preheat the oven to 400ยบ.
Now start your topping!
First fill the crust with the squash puree. You can do as thick a layer as you like. I just used up all the squash for practicality's sake, but I think a thinner layer would be a little more delicate.
Sprinkle first with bacon pieces.
Then, add the freshly chopped Scallions and Rosemary.

Place the Red Onion rings artistically across the top and sprinkle the entire thing with as much parmesan as you like.

Bake for 20 minutes in the center of the oven (crust will turn to a lovely golden shade).

It smells good. It tastes good. It's a sure winner.


  1. Yaaay! This looks delicious! If only I could convince Aaron that squash is, in fact, edible.

  2. Wow! This looks amazing! You are so talented!

  3. I can't sufficiently describe how satisfying a 'pastry style' pizza crust is. If the New Haven devotees of the legendary "Sally's" or "Pepe's" ever needed a new taste thrill for their jaded pizza palates, I'd be willing to invest in an entrepreneur so bold as to give the two of them a run for their money with this pastry-style crust.

    Until then I think I'm going to start my own blog with a link to this one: "The Joy of Eating."

  4. impressive. butternut squash is like impossible to work with. i feel like i need to get steve's ax out of the shed in order to get it open.

  5. I should never read your blog when I'm hungry! I think I can smell this pizza...

  6. OOOOO, my Dear. I just saw this AND happen to have the second half of a box of phyllo in the fridge screaming to be used. I an thinking I may add some sauteed figs in a bit of balsamic to this...will report later.
    THANK YOU. Miss you guys :-) Ruth O.

  7. Yes, *please* report back on that because it sounds fantastic! Mmm. Now I want a fig.