Sunday, November 28, 2010

Pitza Time

Now posted on Local In Season as well!  Check it out.  

Although we don’t associate this time of year (tell me how it came to be the end of November again?) with bountiful harvests from the garden, there are still some edible gems left in the surviving vines that keep us going throughout the winter. They are the brave warriors who withstand the cold fall nights when other vegetables bow out until next season. I’m talking about winter squash of course, and they’re about to take center stage on your table during the holiday season.

If you think about it, even our favorite ways to cook winter squash remind us of their seasonality; roasted slowly in a hot oven that first warms our homes from the cold outside, and then warms our bodies once we devour the soft, sweet, and nutty roasted flesh of the squash. It comforts us as we hunker down for ski-jacket and window scraper season.

Recently though, I have been thinking about how we tend to be set in our ways on how we use winter squash. Butternut squash? Soup. Acorn squash? Stuffed. Pumpkins? Jack-o-lanterns and pie. I realized it was time for a little more culinary exploration of these cold weather combatants.

Enter the Curry Pumpkin Apple Pitza. I created this recipe one night when I wanted something different and delicious, but without requiring a large amount of time or energy. The solution? Mini pizzas made out of pitas instead of dough (hence Pit-zas…get it! gosh I love food word puns) and topping them with flavor combinations that you’re definitely not going to find at your local pizza joint. Pairing ingredients like pumpkin and apples with curry, coconut, and lime, I went around the world and back with my first taste. Now you can enjoy an exotic spin on classic fall flavors too with every bite of this pita-pizza hybrid.

Pair with a fresh green salad.

Serves 6


¾ cup pumpkin puree 

¼ cup ricotta cheese 
¾ teaspoon curry powder 
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper 
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon 
1/8 teaspoon salt

¼ cup coconut milk 
1 teaspoon lime juice 
½ teaspoon lime zest

6 whole-wheat pitas (see Tip)
1 medium apple, thinly sliced (about 1/8” thick) 
1 ½ cup grated gruyere cheese 
3 tablespoons chopped scallion


Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Set oven rack to middle position.

In a bowl combine the pumpkin, ricotta, curry powder, cayenne, cinnamon, and salt.

In a separate small bowl, whisk together the coconut milk, lime juice, and lime zest. Set aside.
Spread pitas out on a large baking sheet and place in preheated oven. Toast pitas until slightly crisp and beginning to brown, about 8 minutes.

Remove pitas from oven. Evenly spread 2 tablespoons pumpkin mixture onto each pita, following with a single layer of apple slices, and topping with cheese. Place pitas back into the oven and cook until the cheese melts and starts to bubble, 3-5 minutes.

Remove pitzas from oven and place on serving plates. Let cool at least 5 minutes. Drizzle each pitza with 1-2 teaspoons of the coconut-lime milk and evenly top with chopped scallions. Serve immediately.

Tip: Cut a small 2-inch slit on the side of each pita so steam can escape while in the oven.

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