Food & dining

Recipe: Pizza dough isn’t kneaded but left to rise for a long time before topping with delicata squash

No-knead pizza with delicata squash
Sally Pasley Vargas for the Boston Globe
No-knead pizza with delicata squash

Makes 4 individual pizzas (each 10-to-12-inches)

Sweet delicata squash contrasts nicely with melty fontina and crisp arugula. The dough is mixed but not kneaded, and left to rise several hours at room temperature or overnight in the fridge.

DOUGH

4cups flour
teaspoons (slightly less than a full packet) instant yeast
teaspoons salt
cups water
1teaspoon olive oil

1. In a large bowl, mix the flour, yeast, and salt to blend them. Add the water all at once and stir with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together and cleans the sides of the bowl. (You can also do this in an electric mixer on low speed with the dough hook.) Form the dough into a ball.

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2. Drizzle with the oil and pat with your hands to spread it over the dough. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let rise for 3 to 8  hours at room temperature, or overnight in the refrigerator (remove from the fridge about 1 hour before shaping).

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TOPPING

Cornmeal (for the baking sheets)
2medium delicata squash
5tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
cup raw pumpkin seeds
Olive oil (for tossing)
Flour (for rolling)
½cup grated Parmesan
4tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
2cups grated fontina
4handfuls baby arugula

1. Line the oven floor with several pieces of foil. Arrange 2 oven racks so that one is in the lowest position, the other near the top. Set the oven at 450 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Have on hand a wire cooling rack and 2 rimless baking sheets. Sprinkle the baking sheets with cornmeal.

2. Halve the squash lengthwise and use a spoon to remove the seeds. Slice into ½-inch moons. Mound on the parchment-lined sheet, sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of the oil, salt, and pepper. Toss well. Spread in one layer on the baking sheet. Roast for 20 minutes, or until tender when pierced with a skewer.

3. In a bowl, toss the pumpkin seeds with oil. Heat a small skillet over medium heat, and cook the seeds, stirring constantly, for 1 to 2 minutes, or until brown. Transfer to a plate; sprinkle lightly with salt.

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4. On a generously floured counter, turn out the dough. Divide into 4 pieces. Working with 1 piece, shape into a ball and press into a 5-inch disk, dimpling with your fingertips as you flatten it. Repeat with remaining pieces. Cover with a clean dishtowel; rest for 10 minutes.

5. Hold up one piece of dough and turn it as if you were holding a steering wheel, letting gravity pull the dough down. Keep turning and stretching (or roll with a pin), until it is a 10-to-12-inch round. Place on one of the baking sheets and shuffle the pan back and forth to ensure the dough is not sticking (sprinkle extra cornmeal under it if it sticks.) Repeat with a second piece of dough on the second baking sheet. On each pizza, sprinkle 2 tablespoons of Parmesan, arrange ¼ of the squash, and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of the rosemary and ½ cup of fontina.

6. Bake the first pizza on the bottom shelf for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the dough is firm and the bottom is lightly browned. Remove the pan from the oven and pull the top rack halfway out. With the help of a large spatula, slide the pizza off the sheet directly onto the top rack. Bake the top-rack pizza for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and the crust is golden. Pull out the oven rack and slide the pizza onto a wire rack.

7. Bake the second pizza in the same way. Assemble and bake the two remaining rounds like the first, sprinkling the pans with more cornmeal as needed.

8. Transfer the pizzas to a cutting board. Top with arugula and sprinkle each with 1 tablespoon of the oil, salt, pepper, and pumpkin seeds. Sally Pasley Vargas

Sally Pasley Vargas can be reached at sally.p.vargas@gmail.com.