Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onion Flatbread

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Roasted butternut squash and caramelized onions form a perfect union atop a thin flatbread crust with dressed arugula. Fall is fully upon us, and while we don’t enjoy the changing seasons in Florida, we can at least jump on board with fall inspired recipes. Butternut squash is much easier to prepare than some of the other squash varieties. The skin peels off easily, it cuts like a dream, and its sweet rich flesh is quite versatile.

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I have always had a deep love for caramelized onions, and I find that their natural sweetness plays well with the creamy squash and salty reggiano. My local grocery store, Publix, sells awesome freshly made pizza dough which I buy on the regular to use in recipes like my German Flammkuchen. I figured roasting the squash and caramelizing all those onions was enough effort! If your grocery store doesn’t sell fresh pizza dough, I would recommend following a recipe like this one from Smitten Kitchen instead of buying the canned Pillsbury variety.

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The caramelized onions and squash can be prepared a day in advance and stored in the refrigerator making assembly that much easier when you are preparing this meal for guests. I thought about also adding bacon and kale, but I figured simpler is better, and boy was I right! This pizza was sweet and savory complimented by the peppery arugula salad on top. I would recommend enjoying this butternut squash and caramelized onion flatbread with a crisp German Riesling or an old world white wine.

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Butternut Squash and Caramelized Onion Flatbread

  • Fresh pizza dough
  • Flour for dusting
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 ¾ pound or 4 medium sized yellow onions thinly sliced
  • ½ medium sized butternut squash
  • 1 cup grated reggiano
  • 2 cups arugula
  • 1 teaspoon stone ground Dijon
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • Salt and pepper

Thinly slice onions and caramelize on low heat with 1 tablespoon olive oil for 45 minutes or so. Heat the olive oil first on low heat and add the onions, making sure to separate them as you drop them in. You should barely stir the onions; I stirred them 3 times only because I cannot resist the urge to stir them a few times. One of my chef instructors at FIU, Chef Moran, said caramelized onions should never be stirred, rather just let them sit on low heat and they will cook beautifully.

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While the onions are cooking, preheat the oven to 400F, halve the butternut squash and scoop the insides and discard. Rub olive oil on the outside and inside of the butternut squash. Season with salt and pepper and place the butternut squash cut side up on a baking sheet. Roast for 30 minutes or until fork tender.

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Allow the butternut squash to cool down and come to room temperature before handling. Turn the squash over when cool and use a spoon to gently scrape off the outer skin. The skin will generally peel off quite easily, but around the thin neck of the squash I had to softly scrape the skin off. At this point you can store the squash in the refrigerator in a sealed container if preparing a day in advance, or thinly slice the squash horizontally to prep for the flatbread.

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Preheat the oven to 400F. Grate the cheese and set aside. Roll out the pizza dough on a clean countertop surface to create a thin crust using flour to make sure the dough doesn’t stick. Next, evenly spread the caramelized onions over the rolled out dough. Layer with thin slices of butternut squash and season with a little bit of pepper. Next sprinkle the reggiano cheese on top.

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Bake the butternut squash and caramelized onion flatbread in the oven for 20 minutes or until the cheese is golden and bubbling. Whisk together 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, mustard, salt and pepper to taste, and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to use as a light dressing for the arugula. Top the butternut squash and caramelized onion flatbread with the lightly dressed arugula, slice, and serve.

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