Here in Southern California, you’d never know it was autumn at all. The weather still reaches up into the 80s, the palm trees sway in the breeze, and bizarrely, our tomato plants just sprouted a few new flowers (will we have second crop?!). I certainly can’t complain about the gorgeous weather around here, but I do get a bit nostalgic for New England’s crisp autumn air and gorgeous changing leaves. The feeling becomes particularly acute every Sunday, as we hunker down in front of the television to watch football. For a few brief hours, blinds drawn, it feels like fall, and nothing says Sunday afternoon football in October to me like pizza.
That said, I’m not sure we’ve ever ordered a pizza chez Superspark. We’re very much a DIY pizza household, to the point that Dylan even refuses to buy the premade Trader Joe’s pizza crusts. And though the traditional margarita pizza is always a favorite, we’re big fans of trying something a little different when it comes to toppings. Last year, we were wowed by Dylan’s fresh fig pizza with luscious ripe figs, gorgonzola, and a balsamic reduction. This latest pizza, an unusual combination of curried sweet potato, cheddar, and pickled red onions, was surprisingly good and a totally different take on a classic. The vibrant combination of spices was so tasty that I had trouble stopping myself from snacking on the spiced cubes of sweet potato while I waited for the dough to rise. It’s a little different than your standard red sauce, mozzarella, and basil, but it works, and conveniently, the spiced sweet potato cubes and pickled red onions can be made in advance, making it a cinch to throw together during halftime. Go Pats!
Curried sweet potato and cheddar pizza with pickled red onions (makes 1 large pizza- serves 4)
(based on the recipe from Didi Emmon’s Entertaining for a Veggie Planet)
1 pizza dough (can make from this recipe or buy at Trader Joe’s)
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp canola oil
1 tsp ground star anise or garam masala (optional)
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp kosher salt
about 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1. To make the pickled onions, combine onion, sugar, and vinegar over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, cover, and remove from the heat. Let stand for 15 minutes. Transfer the onions and their liquid to a glass jar or bowl, cover, and refrigerate (will keep up to 3 weeks in fridge).
2. Preheat oven to 400. In a large bowl, combine sweet potato, garlic, canola oil, and toss well. Add the spices and salt and toss to coat the cubes. Spread the cubes in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until tender. Increase the oven to 500.
3. If you have a pizza stone, place the rolled out, well-floured dough round on a pizza peel. Distribute the sweet potato over the dough. Distribute the cheese over the dough. Bake until crust is browned, about 10 minutes. Top with pickled onions, cut into slices, and serve immediately.