I love making flatbread pizzas. Like pasta, they are a blank canvas on which to build flavors. Unlike pasta, they are crispy, crunchy, and can be wrapped in tinfoil and thrown in my purse for an afternoon snack. This pizza, a simple but elegant nod to fall, was one of four that I made Tuesday night for a party. It was, by far, the unexpected hit.
Not having a real sauce, I was worried that it would be too dry but the browned butter keeps the dough moist and gives a subtle nutty flavor that pairs perfectly with the crisp squash, the smooth ricotta, and the fragrant sage. Serve it up as a starter at your next gathering or as a main with a side salad and nice glass of wine.
Browned Butter and Butternut Squash Flatbread (Makes 2 16″ pizzas)
- 1 batch of flatbread dough, uncooked
- 5 tbsp unsalted butter
- 4 tbsp chopped fresh sage
- 1.5 cups fresh ricotta cheese
- 1/2 of a small butternut squash, peeled
- Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. When it starts to bubble and foam, turn the heat down to medium/low. Continue to cook, swirling occasionally, until the foam is gone, little brown bits begin to form at the bottom, and the butter becomes a light brown color. It should also have a nutty aroma.
- Remove butter from the heat, pour into a small bowl, and set aside. (This can be done up to 3 days ahead of time. Cover, refrigerate and, before using, soften at 6 second intervals in the microwave until it is spreadable)
- Slice butternut squash into 1/4″ thick pieces with a very sharp knife of mandoline.
- Blanch butternut squash in simmering water for 3 minutes. It should still have a ‘bite’ to it and not be soft. Transfer into a bowl of ice water with a slotted spoon. After 3-5 minutes, lay out the slices of squash on a dish towel to dry.
- If you have a pizza stone, place it on the middle rack of the oven. If you do not have a pizza stone, use an upside down heavy baking sheet. Heat oven to 450 degrees F.
- Divide dough into two equal balls. Roll out the dough into a rectangle about 9″ by 18″, flouring when necessary. It should be quite thin.
- If using a pizza stone: Transfer dough to a floured pizza peel. Spread browned butter onto the dough leaving a 1″ border. Top with butternut squash slices, dot with ricotta, and sprinkle chopped sage over evenly. Transfer to the pizza stone and cook for 8-10 minutes or until the crust is light brown.
- If using a baking sheet: Carefully remove the hot pan from the oven. Transfer the rolled dough to pan (which is still upside down). Quickly spread browned butter onto the dough leaving a 1″ border, top with the butternut squash slices, dot with ricotta, and sprinkle chopped sage over evenly. Return the baking sheet to the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes or until the crust is light brown.
- Remove from oven, transfer to the counter, and slice with a pizza cutter or, my preferred method, scissors. Serve.