Pizza dough

Made with a healthy whole-wheat crust, roasted butternut squash, fresh goat cheese and crunchy bacon, this rustic fall harvest pizza is the perfect meal for a crisp autumn afternoon or evening. Using extra virgin olive oil instead of the tomato sauce standard, this pizza pairs well with a light white wine such as Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio or even Champagne. It also goes well with a game of tag football in the yard, a pile of crunchy brown leaves, or a chilly breeze on a bright and sunny day.

Be sure to purchase the freshest fall vegetables you can find, and always buy local and organic whenever possible. This recipe makes one large pizza, or four personal pizzas.

Ingredients for pizza dough

1 package active dry yeast

1 cup warm water

1 ½ cups whole-wheat flour

1 T honey

½ t salt

1 T olive oil

1 ½ cups while flour

Ingredients for pizza

1 batch whole-wheat pizza dough

½ medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into ½” cubes

8 ounces goat cheese

4 T extra virgin olive oil

1 sprig fresh rosemary

1 ripe Asian pear, cored and cut into ½” slices

4 ounces bacon, cooked until crispy and drained

Salt and pepper to taste

Directions for pizza dough

1. Dissolve yeast in warm water and let sit for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, stir together whole-wheat flour, honey, ½ teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 cup white flour in a large bowl.

2. After 5 minutes, pour yeast and water mixture over flour mixture and stir to combine. Slowly add in the remaining ½ cup white flour, kneading by hand for about 3 minutes, or until the mixture is combined and the dough is stretchy and smooth.

3. Place dough into an oiled bowl and cover with a damp towel in a warm place. Let rise for 15-20 minutes.

4. Roll out dough using a rolling pin for a big pizza, or simply shape four small circles by hand for personal-size pizzas. Continue with recipe below.

Directions for pizza

1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. While waiting for your pizza dough to rise, coat the butternut squash in 1 tablespoon olive oil. Roast for 15-20 minutes in a greased pan, or until tender. Season with salt and pepper, and let cool.

4. Spread dough over oiled pizza pan or sheet tray. Drizzle with the remaining olive oil, and sprinkle with rosemary, salt and pepper.

5. Crumble the crispy bacon over your dough, then add roasted butternut squash, goat cheese and slices of Asian pears.

6. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until crust is golden brown and cheese is melted (bake less time if making the small size). Let cool for 3-4 minutes and enjoy!

Notes:

For a quicker recipe, use pre-purchased whole-wheat pizza dough.

For a healthier pizza, leave off the bacon. Add ¼ teaspoon salt.

Not a fan of butternut squash? You can substitute with fresh beets, sweet potatoes or slices of acorn squash – just roast your fall vegetables of choice in 1 tablespoon of olive oil until tender.

Image: cwisnieski