Watercress, Blue Cheese and Butternut Squash Pizza

Serves: 4 small pizzas

You will need

For the pizza dough:

500g strong white flour
1 tsp table salt
7g dried yeast
1 tbsp caster sugar
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
325ml lukewarm water
Plain flour for dusting 

For the sauce:

200g tinned tomatoes
2 heaped tablespoons tomato puree

For the Toppings:

100g grated mozzarella
75g blue cheese (we like Dorset Blue Vinny)
1 small butternut squash
50g watercress
Olive oil
Salt and pepper



Directions

1. Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.  Make the pizza dough by combining the flour and salt in a large bowl.  Then take a measuring jug and whisk together the warm water, sugar, olive oil and yeast.   Leave the liquid for a few minutes to allow the yeast to activate.  If you can see lots of bubbles on the surface, then this means the mixture is ready.

2. Make a well in the centre of the flour, then slowly pour in the liquid.  Use a fork to combine, then use your hands once the dough starts to come together.    Mix with your hands until the dough has come together into a ball then turn out onto a floured work surface. 

3. Now for the hard work!  If you have an electric mixer with a dough hook you can use this to mix the dough, 4 minutes on a medium-high speed should be enough. Alternatively, do it the old-fashioned way and knead by hand for about ten minutes, or until you have a smooth, springy dough.

4. Dust a large bowl with flour then place the kneaded dough inside.  Cover with a damp cloth and leave to prove in a warm place for about 45 minutes, or until it has doubled in size.

5. While the dough is proving, peel and de-seed the butternut squash.  Dice into 2cm chunks, place on a roasting tray, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Put the tray into the pre-heated oven and roast the squash for 20-25 minutes, or until cooked through and beginning to colour around the edges.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

6. While the squash cooks, make your pizza sauce by blending together the chopped tomatoes and tomato puree with a pinch of salt.

7. Once your pizza dough has doubled in size, tip it out of the bowl onto a flour-dusted surface and knead briefly, this is called knocking the dough back and removes the large air bubbles inside.  At this point you could cut the dough into four and then freeze for up to two months if not using straight away.

8. If using your dough straight away cut it into four and roll the four pieces of dough into balls.  Place them on a floured tray, cover with a damp cloth and leave to prove for a further 15 minutes.

9. Finally, your dough will be ready and it’s time to make your pizzas!  Take a rolling pin and, on a floured surface, roll out your four balls of dough to your desired thickness.  Get two large pieces of kitchen foil ready and drizzle them with a little olive oil.  Carefully transfer two pizza bases to each piece of foil, making sure that they will fit in your oven. 

10. Spoon tomato sauce onto each base, using the back of the spoon to spread the sauce evenly.  Scatter over grated mozzarella, then crumble over the blue cheese and dot with the butternut squash.  Carefully transfer each piece of foil directly onto an oven shelf and cook for 20-25 minutes, or until the edges have started to colour and the base is cooked through. 

11. Finally remove the pizzas from the oven, scatter over the watercress and cut the pizza into generous wedges.  Serve with more watercress on the side and enjoy!

Make the most of autumn and all it has to offer with these and other great recipes featuring watercress and seasonal ingredients by visiting www.watercress.co.uk



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