It seems that whenever the seasons change and the latest fresh local produce begins to show up at the market, my crazy mind turns to
pizza! We love pizza here at The Café and when I start seeing delightful new seasonal ingredients displayed here, there and everywhere, my mind starts spinning and creating, and next thing you know we have a new favorite.
That's exactly what happened earlier this fall when I encountered the first lovely sweet potatoes at the market, piled high and crying to be transformed into something delicious (at least that's what they seemed to be saying to me)!
I filled up a bag and into my cart they went. When I got home I peeled, diced and roasted a bunch of them and made a yummy salad. With a double batch of the roasted sweet potatoes, I had a few more ideas, one of them being a pizza. I played around with the recipe for a while, making several versions, testing each one out on family and friends and tweaking it a bit here and there. It's now ready for you, and I hope you'll love it as much as we do!
- 6 slices applewood smoked bacon each piece cut into quarters, lenthwise
- 4 sprigs fresh rosemary about 3" long
- ⅓ cup dry white wine
- ¼ cup pecans roughly chopped
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon butter
- for the sweet potatoes:
- 1 medium sweet potato peeled and diced into ½ inch pieces
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- for putting together the pizza:
- 1 ball pizza dough**
- 1 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 14.5 ounce can petite dice tomatoes well drained
- 4 ounces Gouda cheese shredded
- 4-6 ounces fresh mozzarella torn in walnut size pieces
- ¼ cup pesto purchased or homemade*
Sauté bacon for 5 minutes on medium low heat then add wine and rosemary. Cover and braise on low heat for about 15-20 minutes. Remove cover and pull out rosemary stems (by this time most of the tiny leaves will have fallen off and bacon will be infused with rosemary flavor.) Continue to cook until wine has evaporated and bacon becomes deep golden brown. Drain bacon on paper toweling and set aside.
Preheat oven to 400°. Place pizza stone or upside down sheet pan on middle rack of oven.
Place pecans in a small baking pan with melted butter and sea salt. Bake for 6-8 minutes or until deep golden brown, stirring every 2 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
Combine sweet potatoes, olive oil, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Place sweet potato mixture on a baking sheet or small pan coated with cooking spray. Bake on upper rack for 20 minutes or until sweet potatoes are tender and beginning to caramelize in spots. Remove from oven and set aside.
Increase oven temperature to 475˚F.
Roll or press out pizza dough on a lightly floured surface to approximately a 14" circle. Don't worry if the shape is not perfectly round. Place a piece of parchment paper, slightly larger than your dough on a pizza peel or large cutting board. (The parchment paper will make your transfer of the pizza to the oven infinitely easier.) Sprinkle parchment paper generously with cornmeal. Fold dough in quarters and place on parchment paper, then unfold. This is when you can reshape it a bit if it has stretched into an odd shape.
Brush dough lightly with olive oil. Sprinkle with Gouda cheese. Scatter with tomatoes, bacon, sweet potatoes and fresh mozzarella.
Slide pizza-topped parchment paper from pizza peel (or cutting board) onto heated pizza stone (or upside-down sheet pan). Bake for 8-12 minutes or until crust is golden and cheese is bubbling. Remove from oven by sliding pizza-topped parchment paper back onto cutting board. Carefully lift one edge of the pizza and pull out parchment paper.
Combine pesto with 1 tablespoon olive oil. With a teaspoon, dollop pesto mixture over pizza. Scatter with toasted pecans.
* If I don't have homemade pesto I really like pesto that comes in a large jar in the refrigerator section at Sam's Club and Costco. I divide it into small jars, cover the surface with a bit of extra-virgin olive oil and freeze. When I need pesto, I just pull a jar out of the freezer, defrost.
** I love this recipe but if you don't feel like making your own, many stores sell pizza dough and lots of pizza shops will also sell you a ball of dough. I know Trader Jo's and Whole Foods both sell pizza