Grilled Summer Squash Pizza
What to do with too many vegetables: Part 3!
(The third and final installment of my overwhelming– but wonderful– week of cooking up every single item in a full-share CSA farm box.)
Actually, mystery squash is a bit of a misnomer; the squash is no longer mysterious, thanks to a google image search for “ribbed white and green striped summer squash.” It turns out these squash are called Costata Romanesca, a type of heirloom Italian zucchini (also known as courgette, cocozelle, or ribbed Roman zucchini), and the “best tasting and best textured” of the summer squashes. Score!
But back up a little: it bears mentioning that I did not do this google search until today, just now as I was about to write up this recipe, so I was in complete ignorant bliss the whole time I was recipe-daydreaming, cooking, and enjoying my Costata Romanesca– atop a scrumptious homemade pizza– never even knowing exactly what kind of squash I was dealing with.*
Well I suppose I had an inkling, since I kept the skin on, zucchini-style.
I also got a little help in the recipe-daydreaming department from my little sister, as I often do. She and her boyfriend have made a risotto-like dish using grated zucchini before, which sounded intriguing, but considering the massive amounts of cooking I was in the midst of, I decided to go with her simpler suggestion of grilling it.
Plus, that way I could bake it onto the homemade whole wheat pizza crust that my girlfriend was so eager to try making.**
Not a single CSA vegetable gone to waste. Thanks to these carrot cake cupcakes, and this fennel, kale, and strawberry salad. (Not to mention all of the vegetable creations I made last week, but didn’t bother photographing. These include: pasta with sautéed red chard and asiago, chicken and avocado tacos with shredded cabbage, and several afternoon snacks of a halved-avocado sprinkled with lime juice and sea salt, and eaten with a spoon.)
I haven’t felt such a sense of accomplishment since I made the very foolish decision to ride my bike the 4 miles to UCSB’s campus during a high wind advisory.
And rather than just being a one-time mystery squash strategy, I’d say this pizza was pretty delicious in its own right; I plan to make it again.
* Apparently my local grocery store is also in ignorant bliss; I spotted this exact mystery squash in the produce section, and took note of its label: “white squash.” (Though Wikipedia’s flying saucer-shaped white squash begs to differ…)
** Also, I still had leftover pizza sauce from the night before, when my girlfriend had made her first from-scratch pizza crust using the classic Marcella Hazan recipe, which was recommended to me by a friend. (We topped it with tomato sauce, mozzarella, sun-dried tomatoes, feta cheese, and basil… Another recipe that will have to go up on the blog soon!)
Grilled Summer Squash Pizza
(Each 12″ pizza serves 2-ish)
You can find the awesome Whole Wheat Pizza Crust recipe that we used here, thanks to My Fancy Pantry! (Makes enough for two 12″ pizzas.) Or use your own recipe of choice, or pre-made pizza dough.
Here is my recipe for Easy Homemade Tomato Sauce. It makes about 3 times as much as you need for the crust recipe above, but you can always freeze it, or make more pizza or pasta within a week.
Ingredients (Toppings per 12″ pizza):
~ 2 Costata Romanesca squash, or zucchinis
~ several Tbsp. olive oil
~ several Tbsp. cornmeal
~ ½ cup pizza sauce
~ ½ – ¾ cup mozzarella cheese, grated
~ ⅛ cup fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
1. If making your own pizza crust, start making the dough about 45 minutes in advance (since it requires about 30 minutes to rise).
2. Pre-heat the oven to 450 degrees (with a cornmeal-dusted pizza stone inside the oven, if using one).
3. Slice the Costata Romanesca squash (or zucchinis) lengthwise into thin, even strips. Then bring a large, shallow pan of water to a simmer or low boil, and blanch the strips of squash for 2 minutes. Remove from the water, and press dry with paper towels.
4. Heat a grill pan (or use an outdoor grill). Brush the squash strips with olive oil, then place them on the grill, over medium-high heat, for about 10 minutes on each side. (I started checking them after 7 minutes or so, but only turned them over once, so they developed nice grill marks.)
5. Meanwhile, sprinkle cornmeal on a large cutting board. Use a rolling pin to roll out the pizza dough into a thin circle (or rectangle) on the cornmeal-floured surface. Poke holes in the crust using a fork. Then transfer to the pizza stone (or use parchment paper on a cookie sheet) and pre-bake the crust for 4-5 minutes. This pre-baking step will help the crust hold up (and be transferred back into the oven more easily) under the weight of all of the toppings!
6. Remove from the oven and add the toppings: Smooth on desired amounts of pizza sauce, then arrange the grilled squash strips across the pizza and sprinkle generously with grated mozzarella cheese and chopped basil. Bake for 9-10 minutes, or until the cheese is golden or bubbly.