Pizza Sunday is one of my favorite holidays. Fall is one of my favorite seasons. Pumpkin is one of my favorite foods. I think you get where I'm going here...based upon all of these things, this pizza recipe is a no brainer. I'm going full on fall, diving right in with this pizza that has two wonderful fall things: pumpkin and kale.
What is Pizza Sunday, you ask? Well great question. My roommate during undergrad once told me that she and her family always ate pizza on Sunday for dinner (clearly a brilliant idea). We attempted it for a while, but being the busy college students we were, our schedules never seemed to fall in alignment and Pizza Sunday never became the consistent thing I had hoped it would. Then, another group of my friends started making crust from scratch every Sunday. Yet again, schedule conflicts, as I always seemed to sign up for work shifts at the Italian Restaurant on campus and never made it more than a few times. But for the sake of nostalgia, Sunday will always be "Pizza Sunday." #PizzaNight will be a recurring theme a few Sunday's each month on this blog. I hope you're as excited as I am.
Now for this pizza. I entered it into a recipe contest. Yep. the town about 12 miles east of Peoria is called Morton. Morton, IL is known for this totally awesome thing: its annual Pumpkin Festival. This festival literally sounds like the best thing ever. They have everything you could ever want to eat with pumpkin, a pancake breakfast, a pie eating contest, a 10K race, and of course the recipe contest sponsored by Libby's Pumpkin. I can't wait to try ALL THE PUMPKIN THINGS. Like honestly, my mouth is watering now. I'm mentally planning out what to try, without spending all of my money.
So the recipe contest. I entered the adult savory competition. The only requirement for the recipe contest was to use 1 cup of Libby's Pumpkin Puree. A little background on me and recipe contests. I'm not used to losing. Before this weekend, I have only ever NOT placed in a recipe contest 1 time. I'm published in Rachael Ray's cookbook, won the Miami University Dining Healthy Recipe competition, and a few other very small contests. I've even been hand selected to audition for Master Chef with Gordon Ramsay for the past 2 years (however I will not be accepting the invitation this year due to my busy schedule). So NOT placing tonight was a bit of a shock. I'm not complaining. Food is completely subjective. A dish could be amazing but be disliked by many people. As a cook, you have to stand behind your dish, and let me tell you, this pizza is AWESOME (aka I stand by my dish). Actually, since when does something with bacon on top lose? Apparently today. The winning recipe was Chicken and Waffles. In my opinion, it didn't look that great, but I'm clearly biased! At the end of the day, not placing kind of did me a favor (I think...). It saved me the hassle of re-making this pizza next weekend. It saved me the stress of presenting my dish in front of hundreds of people and 3 celeb judges on a big stage next week. Most importantly, it clearly saves me the calories I would have consumed by tasting pieces of cheese and bits of bacon while cooking again (I kid, I kid). Now I get to enjoy the festival next weekend without the stress of making my pizza. So thank you Chicken and Waffles, it looks like you did me a favor.
Like I said before, my pizza is AWESOME. My crust recipe is amazing. I've finally developed the perfect thin, whole wheat pizza crust recipe. A recipe I'm proud of. The crust is thin, crispy and slightly nutty. The pumpkin puree mixed with sage, honey and ricotta is the perfect amount of creamy and sweet, with the honey bringing out the natural sweetness in the pumpkin. The creaminess of the mozzarella, mixed with the saltiness of the parmesan and fontina contrast the sweet pumpkin nicely. Smokey and salty bacon adds a depth of flavor that is irreplaceable and makes this pizza a total winner (Everything is better with bacon right? Even this Jew thinks so...). Finally, not only does the kale provide you with your daily dose of nutrients, but it rounds out the pizza with a little crispness in texture and earthy flavor. It's to die for. This pizza is perfection, and I hope you'll agree.
Sometimes in life, you don't win everything so I'm okay with it. Actually it worked out because this morning, I ran a half marathon and placed second in my age group. So I still won something this weekend. Even if its not what I had originally planned on winning.
Keep scrolling, the recipe is below this picture. Happy eating everybody!
½ cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1 cup Libby’s canned pumpkin puree
1 tbsp honey
5-6 fresh sage leaves, minced
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp olive oil
5 strips bacon, chopped
1 cup chopped kale
1 tsp olive oil
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 cup fontina cheese, shredded
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
2 pizza dough rounds (pizza dough recipe)