Meatless: Broccoli Rabe and Butternut Squash Pizzas with Hazelnut Dough

Let’s start out with a winner from this book.

I probably have more recipes for pizza and pizza dough than any other single type of dish.  I’ve got a skillet pizza dough (that uses beer as the leavener), a recipe for grilled pizza (amazing), quick pizza doughs, slow pizza doughs, thin crust, deep dish, french bread…you get the picture.

This one, however, might be my new favorite.  The twist is adding a small amount (1/2 cup) of hazelnut meal to the dough.  You can use any other type of nut meal (I used almond) or you can make your own by toasting nuts in the oven and then grinding them in the food processor.  That’s all there is to it.

I’m not entirely sure what the nut flour does here; the crust had a great flavor but not a particularly nutty one.  What really won me over was how easy this dough was to make and work with.  Because some of them are just maddening.  They tear, they stubbornly snap back into a 4″ ball every time you try to stretch them into a 9″ round, they shrink in the oven, they fight you back when you knead them.  It’s like they spend all that rising time thinking of ways to frustrate you and make you have a kitchen tantrum.  It’s enough to make you wonder why you’re bothering when grocery stores are filled with frozen, fresh and made-to-order pizzas for every taste and occasion.  Not to mention stores where you can buy pizza components and put them together at home.  (Which seems like a pretty ingenious way of Tom Sawyer-ing you into doing most of the work and charging you for the privilege.  Remind me to open a bakery that sells unadorned cakes and tubs of frosting in my next career).

Some of us, however, just can’t let the pizza dough win.

All that’s required here is to bloom some yeast, add the flours, and let rise for an hour or so.  Divide into two balls which you can then refrigerate or freeze if you’re not using right away.  Then shape, top, and bake.  Bonus: you don’t need a pizza stone, or a pizza peel.

I also loved these toppings.  Because I’d rather have dental x-rays than slice squash, I bought mine cubed in a bag, so I roasted it a little in the oven before putting it on the pizza.  I like to sprinkle a little extra coarse salt on my pizza when it comes out of the oven (along with a little olive oil) and did that here too.  The finished crust is really pretty perfect: light and tasty, closer to a focaccia than a typical thin-crust pizza.

“Martha” (like she really wrote any of this) says the frozen dough will keep for up to 3 months.  Just wrap it in some plastic wrap after it rises and you’ve shape it into balls.  Thaw overnight in the fridge and you’ve got amazing weeknight pizza.

Broccoli Rabe and Butternut Squash Pizzas are on MarthaStewart.com (along with links to the Hazelnut Dough) and on page 248 of Meatless.

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