Sunday, January 24, 2016

Creamy Pumpkin Pizza with Truffled Gouda and Herbed Ricotta

Creamy Pumpkin Pizza with Truffled Gouda and Herbed Ricotta 

I know that title's a little crazy, but this pizza is a mouthful, both in name and flavor.  There are so many wonderful things going on here, but the creamy pumpkin sauce, truffled gouda, and herbed ricotta are the highlights and thus deserve top billing.

The first time I made this pizza I had a vague idea of what I wanted to use and the flavor profile I was hoping to achieve.  When we make homemade pizzas, oftentimes they are kind of a thrown-together mish mash of random veggies, meats, and cheeses I have on hand.  It's always good, because you know… pizza.  However, this one blew me away, and I immediately added it to my menu for the following week, being sure to take careful notes so I could share it with you guys!  And… 4 months later, here we are ;)

I started with a creamy pumpkin alfredo-type sauce -- just a standard white sauce with the addition of a little tomato paste and pumpkin puree.  That in and of itself was great, and the extra sauce made for an excellent dipping sauce for the crust.  I topped the sauce with fresh spinach and onion, then finished it off with a cheesy trio -- mozzarella, truffled gouda, and dollops of herbed ricotta.  The result was one of the best pizzas I've ever made.  I try and keep a general rule here that I don't post recipes that use specialty ingredients, so I was a little weary of sharing this one due to the truffled gouda.  But I see it pretty regularly at Whole Foods, and my Trader Joe's has a truffled Italian cheese that's akin of fontina, and that works as well (I tested it just for y'all. ;))  In a pinch, you could easily use plain gouda and then finish the pizza with a little drizzle of truffle oil.  I love to serve this pizza with my shredded brussels sprouts salad (but I leave the cheese out of the salad since there's so much on the pizza); the flavors go really well together, and it makes for a lovely and simple meal.

On an unrelated note, as we enter the new year, and I plan for my blog, I'd love to hear from you!  What kinds of posts and recipes would you love to see here?  Any specific ideas, foods, round-ups, tutorials, etc?  More or less of my kids? ;)  I'm open to any and all suggestions!

Creamy Pumpkin Pizza with Truffled Gouda and Herbed Ricotta 

Creamy Pumpkin Pizza with Truffled Gouda and Herbed Ricotta

  • 1 Tbs butter
  • 1 Tbs flour
  • 1 Tbs tomato paste
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3 Tbs pumpkin puree
  • 2 Tbs shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 lb pizza dough
  • cornmeal, for sprinkling
  • olive oil, for brushing
  • 1/3 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 tsp minced fresh thyme
  • 1 tsp minced fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp minced fresh rosemary
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 packed cup chopped fresh spinach
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced white onion
  • 1 cup grated truffled gouda cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated mozzarella
Place a pizza stone in the oven and preheat to 500 degrees for at least 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Add the flour, tomato paste, and garlic, and cook, stirring continuously, for about 1 minute.  Whisk in the milk, reduce the heat to medium low, and cook until thickened, stirring often, about 3 to 4 minutes.  Remove from heat, fish out the garlic clove, and stir in the parmesan cheese.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Set aside.

Sprinkle a large square of parchment paper with cornmeal, and roll and stretch the dough into a 14-16 inch circle, or large oval.   Brush the perimeter of the dough with olive oil.

In a small bowl, combine the ricotta with the thyme, rosemary, and parsley, and season with salt and pepper.  Set aside.

Spread a thin layer of the sauce over the dough, leaving a 1 inch border.  Scatter the spinach and onions over the sauce, then sprinkle the mozzarella and gouda over the vegetables.  Using a teaspoon, dot the top with the ricotta.  

Transfer the pizza plus parchment to the preheated stone, and cook 10-12 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the crust is golden brown.  Remove from oven, allow to cool 10 minutes, then slice and serve.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

2015 in Review: Our Life


Wow.  So I haven't posted since October.  Sorry about that!  I felt very overwhelmed and was really busy this fall, and just needed to let something go.  So I'm sorry about the radio silence here, but it was much needed on my part.  I thought that maybe if I took a break from the blog, I could keep my house clean, get in more workouts, have more time to read and pray, and generally just get my head above water for a bit.  Well, as it turns out, my house is still messy.  I still miss more workouts than I'd like to admit.  The only books I read lately are about autism treatments and nutrition.  And I still feel like I'm barely treading water most days.  But here's the thing -- I miss this place!  I miss taking pics of my food, I miss writing, I miss hearing from you guys.  Can we try this again in 2016, pretty please?

So thankful for these four little faces. 💛💛👫👬💛💛

When I first sat down to write about 2015, I looked back at the recipes I shared with you; but to be honest, 2015 was not about the food for me.  2015 was about Henry.  I could say that a dark cloud was cast upon the year because of Henry's autism diagnosis.  It's been way too easy for me to get bogged down in the negativity, fear, and sadness associated with that diagnosis.  Believe me, I feel all of that!  But then I look at what he's accomplished and who he is.  He went from being completely nonverbal in June, to having a vocabulary of almost 100 words in December.  He is quite literally obsessed with animals, and he can tell you the sounds of almost any animal you can think of.  When he wants milk, he asks for milk, rather than throwing himself down in front of the refrigerator, screaming and crying.  He looks me in the eye.  He holds my hand.  He gives me kisses if I ask.  And he calls me mommy, Joey Daddy, and Tucker "Tuck Tuck."  He's such a special little boy, and I am constantly amazed by him.  We have some pretty tough and stressful decisions to make about his future in the next few weeks; but based on the progress he's made in the last three months, he is so ready to fly, and I can't wait to see how high he'll go.

It's nutcracker time!! Caroline the cupcake! 

Henry is not our only child though.  We had lots of adventures and fun with the other three as well.  Smith played t-ball, Tucker's personality continued to shine bright and bold, and Caroline performed in a local production of The Nutcracker.  Perfectly cast as a cupcake, she was adorable and sweet, and she's already talking about what she wants to be next year.  Spoiler alert:  the Sugar Plum Fairy.

Photo booth fun!  #besties #2016

So 2015 was tough. It tested me, it was just hard.  We went though a LOT this year.  But we started 2016 with a bang.  My girl Annie and her sweet family came to visit us over the New Year's holiday, and we rang in 2016 with Mexican food, blood orange-passion fruit margaritas, dancing, and fun.  We laughed, ate, and talked our faces off, and I could not have asked for a better time.  If that is any indication of what the new year has in store, then I am excited and blessed beyond belief!

I felt like I owed you guys an update and explanation of my absence, but have no fear:  I'll be back again this week with a roundup of the top dishes of 2015, and then I'll be jumping into new recipes!  I have so many ideas and plans for the new year, and I'm so excited to share it all with you!  xoxo