Writer and Photographer Francine Coles

The cooler weather we are all experiencing brings into focus winter vegetables and herbs — such as butternut squash and sage. This recipe incorporates both ingredients in a wonderful new take on pizza. Fresh pizza dough gets topped with cider-caramelized onions, a combination of three different kinds of cheese, salty prosciutto, and autumn-roasted butternut squash. Bake this in just 15 minutes and you have the perfect weeknight pizza or appetizer!

Serves: 6

1/2 pound pizza dough, at room temperature
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cups cubed butternut squash or pumpkin
2 teaspoons honey
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (or to your taste)
2 pinches crushed red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and black pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 yellow onions, thinly sliced
3/4 cup apple cider
3/4 cup shredded whole milk mozzarella
3/4 cup shredded fontina cheese
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese (optional)
2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, torn

Position the oven rack in the upper 1/3 position. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. If you have a baking stone, start preheating it.

Place the ball of pizza dough on a lightly oiled quarter-sheet pan. Lightly drizzle olive oil on top of the dough ball. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest.

On a separate baking sheet, toss together the olive oil, butternut squash, honey, sage, cinnamon, cayenne and a pinch each of crushed red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Roast until the squash is just tender, 15–20 minutes, then remove from oven.

While the squash is in the oven, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions to the skillet and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add half of the apple cider, season with salt and pepper and continue cooking until the cider has mostly evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining cider and cook until the onions are golden and caramelized, about 5 more minutes. Add a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes and cook for one more minute. Remove from the heat.

Increase oven temperature to 500 degrees and begin assembling the pizza. Remove the plastic wrap from the dough and gently press until it covers the entire sheet pan. Lightly drizzle the dough with olive oil. Top with onions, cheese, prosciutto and butternut squash.

Slide pizza into the preheated oven and bake for 10 minutes. Rotate pizza and bake until the crust is golden and the cheese has melted, 3–5 more minutes. Top pizza with additional crushed red pepper flakes and serve.