fall pizza

I’m so happy that fall is here. This weekend, in San Francisco, we had a major downpour. It was amazing. The air was damp and cool, and the asphalt had that lovely first rain smell. It all felt so majestic. If I was an artist, I would have painted a canvas to express these thoughts and feelings but instead I put the colors and aromas of fall on a pizza.

Around our house, pizza is consumed nearly as regularly as water. It is such an easy meal, pairing well with a healthful salad, and can be manipulated any which way. It’s fantastic to make with kids, it can feed an army rather quickly (those who come to our house on Wednesday nights can attest to this) and can clean out your fridge better than a frittata.

{a LOVE note about homemade pizza}

Some people I have talked with about homemade pizza just can’t quite make the jump because of the dough making process. Pizza dough seems labor intensive at first glance because of the total amount of time it takes for it to be ready to use, however it is actually incredibly easy considering the results produced. If you have a food processor, pizza dough is nearly as difficult to make as doing a load of laundry. Without a food processor, only a minor amount of work is added, but nothing to huff and puff about. I can tell you that homemade dough will far out shine any store bought dough and likely many of your favorite pizza restaurants. I strongly urge you to give homemade dough a good try and if you don’t like it, I mean honestly can’t ever do it again, I’ll give you three pizza’s worth of homemade dough, just for being a good sport. [No cheaters! I’ll know if you’re being sneaky just for free dough. But honestly, if any of you asked me to make you dough, you know I would!] Take some pictures of your dough making adventure and tell me what you thought, and what you topped it with!

Fall Pizza
serves 4


{For the dough, cooks illustrated recipe}

  • 1 3/4 cups water, divided, 1/2 cup warm, remaining at tap temperature
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons dry active yeast (1 envelope)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for brushing dough
  • 4 cups bread flour (all purpose will work as well)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt

{For the toppings}

  • 1 cup butternut squash, cubed
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried sage
  • 3 oz soft goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 yellow onion, sliced into rings
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • salt and fresh ground pepper


{For the dough}

  1. Measure 1/4 cup of warm water into 2-cup measuring cup. Sprinkle in yeast; let stand until yeast dissolves and swells, about 5 minutes. Add remaining 1/4 cup warm water plus remaining 1 1/4 cups tap water and olive oil. Meanwhile, pulse flour and salt in workbowl of large food processor fitted with steel blade to combine. Add liquid ingredients (holding back a tablespoon or so) to flour and pulse together. If dough does not readily form into ball, stop machine, add remaining liquid, and continue to pulse until ball forms. Process until dough is smooth and satiny, about 30 seconds longer.
  2. Turn dough onto lightly floured work surface; knead by hand with a few strokes to form smooth, round ball. Put dough into medium-large, oiled bowl, and cover with damp cloth. Let rise until doubled in size, about 2 hours.
  3. Turn dough out onto lightly floured work surface and use chef’s knife or dough scraper to halve, quarter, or cut dough into eighths, depending on number and size of pizzas desired. Form each piece into ball and cover with damp cloth. Working with one piece of dough at a time, shape into a circle. Transfer to pizza peel that has been coated with flour, brush dough very lightly with olive oil before topping and cooking.

[if making the dough by hand..]

    Follow the recipe for pizza dough through step one. Omit step 2 and instead combine the salt and half the flour in a deep bowl. Add the liquid ingredients and use a wooden spoon to combine. Add the remaining flour, stirring until a cohesive mass forms. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth and elastic, 7 to 8 minutes, using as little dusting flour as possible while kneading. Form the dough into a ball, put it in a deep oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and proceed with the recipe.

{For the toppings}

  1. Pre-heat oven to 500° with a pizza stone on the lowest rack of the oven. Place 1 tablespoon olive oil, sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a cast iron skillet and heat on medium heat. Add onions and cook until brown and deeply caramelized, about 25 minutes.
  2. Toss butternut squash with 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon dried sage. Roast on a rimmed baking sheet, on the middle rack for about 10 minutes or until slightly tender.
  3. Brush pizza dough with olive oil and top with crumbled goat cheese, squash and onions. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Transfer pizza to the pizza stone and cook until the bottom is browner, about 8 minutes. Remove from the oven, cut and enjoy.
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October 29, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , . fall, pizza, quick and easy, vegetarian.


  1. rachelmramirez replied:

    So I can attest to how delicious and autumnal this pizza was. Thank you for introducing me to butternut squash and the best pizza I’ve ever eaten. I JUST might get brave enough to even try this myself someday. Someday…

    • Rachel Logan replied:

      Come over Rachel! We can do it together! It’s less scary that way! :)

  2. Sandi Hall replied:

    Going to be Making your pizza tomorrow … Pictures forthcoming! I NEVER had the guts to make homemade dough … Always used bisquick or the Stuff that comes out of a can (like dinner rolls). Can’t wait to give it a try!

    • Rachel Logan replied:

      Yay Sandi! I can’t wait to see pictures! I know you’ll love it! It’s such a yummy pizza. ! :)

  3. Rachel replied:

    I’m excited for fall because I am making this pizza this year. I’ll probably buy dough from this market that we have out here though. Baby steps, haha.

    • Rachel Logan replied:

      Girl! You go for it. I do realize you commented months ago, but maybe by now you’ve baby stepped to your own dough?? 😉

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