Impromptu weeknight meal

January 24, 2013

Butternut Squash Pita Pizza

Last week I made an amazingly tasty salad from arugula, butternut squash, and roquefort cheese. While the meal was missing just a little bit of crunch, there was no denying that the flavors were a great combination of sweet, pungent, peppery, and creamy. Since I had only used half the butternut squash and a little of the roquefort and arugula, I set out to make something else from this medley of flavors. Given the cold weather, I was really craving something warm and comforting. I was debating between a polenta dish or a pizza dish. Since the grocery store I stopped by on my way home didn’t have polenta or pizza crust, I was forced to improvise.

I picked up some pita bread at the Marks & Spencer, along with a bit of cream-cheese-style cheese spread, as I had decided to go with the pizza route. One of my favorite ways to have a roasted butternut squash is tossed with a bit of pancetta and spicy chili, so I picked up a bit of pancetta as well. Home I went to pull together a meal I wasn’t too certain about.

I turned on the oven at about 400 degrees, and laid out 4 pitas on a cookie sheet. I topped each pita with a good tablespoon or two of the cream cheese (neufchatel cheese would probably be the closest in taste to this cheese), and then I sprinkled a little sea salt and a drizzle of olive oil over the cheese.

Next up, I pulled out a skillet to cook my diced pancetta. About 4 ounces of pancetta went into the skillet, along with a tiny bit of crushed dried Thai chilis (by all means, use regular crushed red chili flakes if you have them – this was one blazing pizza!). As the fat rendered and the pancetta crisped, I added the leftover half of the roasted butternut squash, cubed, to the skillet to warm it up. Once the squash was warm and coated with chilis and pancetta, I spooned it out over each of the pitas.

Next up was the roquefort. I diced small cubes of roquefort, about a quarter of an inch cube, and placed 5 to 7 cubes on each pita (the pitas were maybe 4 x 6 inches, so not huge). Into the oven these creations went, until the roquefort began to melt. Then I pulled the cookie sheet out, topped each pizza with a generous handful of arugula, and popped it back into the oven for another 20 seconds or so, just so the greens were a bit warm.

Out of the oven, I gave another small drizzle of olive oil for the greens, and a sprinkle of sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper on top. No need to let any part of this become bland!

My husband and I set down to eat, and I really wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I’m not generally one to take the shortcut of subbing another bread for a pizza crust. However, it turned out to be a rather marvelous creation, if not a bit hot from the Thai chilis! However, we both polished off the first one in no time and went back for seconds. Reserved as I may have been about this meal to start, I’m certain it is one I will be revisiting, and not just during my time in London.

To see what other fun meals I throw together while I’m living in London and outside of the comfort of my kitchen, not to mention my grocery stores, check out the Daily Nosh!

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