Those who have been around us lately know how much we love to make pizza at home. Whether it is in the oven or on the BBQ, we have been enjoying all sorts of delicious flavor combinations throughout the summer and into fall.
I don’t intend to post a lot of “step-by-step” recipes here on Oakland Momma, but rather share general tips, ingredient combinations, and so on.
With that being said…our approach to pizza at home has been centered around one very helpful shortcut: Trader Joe’s prepackaged pizza dough. LIFESAVER! Not only that, it is really good. We enjoy it more than most pizza joint doughs in our area. I also think making pizza at home is healthier and you can get some good veggies in this way.
One tip about the Trader Joe’s dough – you really need to take it out of the fridge more than 30 minutes prior to baking, which is what is noted on the package. I take mine out as much as an hour and a half in advance. Cold pizza dough is tricky to manage when you are trying to roll out or stretch by hand. When it is cold you are more likely to get holes, and if you don’t already know…once you get a hole in the dough it is impossible to patch up. I take it out of the bag and put it on a sheet pan with plenty of flour and just let it sit out for awhile.
Unless I am doing a more traditional style pizza, I don’t use sauce on my pizzas. I use a light to moderate amount of cheese right on the dough and then top with the ingredients, these pizzas are really about letting the flavors shine.
So while I put together basic ones for the kiddos, below are the combinations my husband Jake and I have been enjoying over the past few months:
(top left) Roasted Butternut Squash and Granny Smith Apples with Chicken Sausage & Rosemary
I roasted chunks of the squash & apples in advance, tossed with olive oil, salt & pepper. I sautéed the sausage separately. We use the Sweet Italian Chicken Sausage from Trader Joe’s, which I squeeze out of the casing and crumble while it’s cooking. I then use either whole milk mozzarella or the Quattro Fromaggio blend from TJ’s (obviously we are fans of a certain grocery chain). Top with the squash, apples, sausage and a light sprinkling of finely chopped rosemary.
(top right) Carmelized Onion, Chicken Sausage, and Roasted Fennel with Herbs
Again, I prep all the ingredients separately in advance. Thinly slice one large sweet, white onion and sauté in a bit of olive oil, butter, and salt & pepper over low heat for maybe 40-45 min until nice and brown. Slice fennel and toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, and finely chopped rosemary & thyme. Roast for maybe 15-20 min or so, keep an eye on it because it can become too brown pretty quickly. Cook chicken sausage separately (I use the same sausage here as above). I used a mix of shredded Fontina & Mozzarella for this one, but you could use all Mozzarella.
(bottom left) Sauteed Kale, Carmelized Onion, and Bacon
I followed the same steps as above with carmelizing the onion. I chopped up some Applewood Smoked Bacon and cooked on the stove. I normally use chopped Lacinato Kale, which I saute lightly. This time I used a bag of baby kale which I just cooked until wilted. I went all Mozzarella cheese on this one.
(bottom right) Roasted Acorn Squash, Pancetta, and Sage
So, so good. I roasted slices of Acorn Squash in advance which were tossed with olive oil, salt, pepper, and a bit of finely chopped rosemary. After they cooled I cut the skin off and chopped into chunks. I then cooked a pack of pre-chopped pancetta on the stovetop. I used a Quattro Fromaggio blend on this one, but all Mozzarella would be just as good. I topped with thin slivers of sage before cooking.
Hope these tips bring a delicious fall pizza to your dinner table soon…Enjoy!