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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Roasted Roots & Tubers Pizza



One of my favorite family recipes is a side dish my mother always made called roots & tubers. She cut small potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips and onions (am I forgetting anything, Mom?) and roasted them in a pyrex dish with olive oil until they were a perfect combination of soft on the inside, crisp on the outside, and sweet.

I was reminded of that side dish when I saw this pizza recipe from Martha Stewart, and decided I had to give it a try. Roasted root vegetables and herbs with ricotta on pizza? An odd combination maybe, but it sounded totally delicious. And was also reminiscent of the ricotta and butternut squash crostini I had recently made, and I even had ricotta left over from that. Perfect.

I made this my own by changing some ingredients as I saw fit and adding a drizzle of balsamic reduction at the very end before serving. I love the way the rich sweet flavor of reduced balsamic plays against the earthy fall flavors of the root vegetables and also seems to bring out the contrast of the light smooth flavor of the ricotta.

I was intending to make a pizza dough from scratch, but this ended up being a last minute meal made straight after getting home from work. Luckily, I am a fan of the pizza dough sold by Whole Foods, and I was able to stop in and pick some up near my work.

Pizza is always a simple meal to assemble, and giving a recipe for a pizza sometimes feels redundant. It's like telling people how to make a sandwich, right?

But, as this is how I like to do it, I will include the groceries you will need and the cook times to recreate the pizza as I made it.



Roasted Roots & Tubers Pizza
Inspired by this Martha Stewart recipe

INGREDIENTS:


  • your choice of fall vegetables, consider including: fingerling potatoes, little red potatoes, sweet potatoes and/or butternut squash, carrots, parsnips, red onion. (You can also include other vegetables that suit your fancy, look for ones that are hearty and can roast for a long time, so you can prepare all of the vegetables at once in one dish.)
  • a homemade or store-bought pizza dough
  • a small container of ricotta cheese (I had some left over from my crostini, so I used that. It had some lemon zest and juice mixed in, and I found I liked the brightness this added)
  • A variety of fresh herbs to keep things interesting(I used fresh rosemary and thyme which I cooked with vegetables, and then added the sage leaves to the top of the pizza before baking )
  • olive oil, salt & fresh ground pepper 
  • one cup of balsamic vinegar to reduce

STEPS:

To prepare the Roast Roots & Tubers topping:
1.Chop the vegetables into small similarly sized pieces. I look for small carrots, potatoes and parsnips, as the skin is usually thinner and you can scrub them and then roast them with the skin on instead of having to peel them. If the skin seems thick or you think I am crazy for doing it this way, by all means, peel away!

2.Add the chopped veg to an oven proof dish or baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and add a small sprig each of thyme and rosemary- no need to remove from the stem or chop, the flavor will cook right into the oil and roots over the course of the roast.

3.Place in a hot oven (about 450 degrees) and roast, tossing as needed to brown all sides of vegetables for about 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool. remove herb sprigs.

For the Pizza:

1. Stretch dough onto a baking sheet (or preheated pizza stone, I love using mine!) with a bit of olive oil. 
2. Spread on the ricotta as thick as desired.
3. Add the cooked vegetables and and sage leaves, nestling ingredients into the spread ricotta.
4. Bake in a preheated oven (475) 20-25 minutes (until crust is golden)

MEANWHILE... reduce your balsamic vinegar by pouring it into a small sauce pan over medium high heat. Pay attention and stir often so the bottom doesn't burn. You can add some sugar to speed up the process and add extra sweetness, especially if the balsamic you are starting with is of poor quality. after the balsamic has reduced, keep it slightly warm until you can drizzle it over your pizza. 

A tip- Wash the pan you reduced the balsamic in asap...that stuff can become sticky as it sits!

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