sweet potato pizza with balsamic caramelized onions, spinach, and goat cheese

This brings me back to my pizza topping days at a joint in Cambridge, Massachusetts that sadly closed.

Also, apologies for the goat cheese spam. If you couldn't tell, I seriously have a thing for goat cheese. It's kind of a problem.

For a year in college I worked at a tiny pizza shop called Zing. The Zing coffee shop still exists in Porter Square I believe... A couple friends and I worked at the pizza place while sharing an apartment nearby. It offered seasonal ingredients, had a gluten-free crust option before gluten-free became a huge fad (albeit, a fad I once took part in), and the pizzas were oblong shaped with funny names.

This pizza recipe is based off of the ever-so popular Blue October pizza which used roasted butternut squash purée as it's base. Blue for blue cheese, and October for... orange? I can't remember. But, I'm surprised I still remember most of the toppings to the funky named pizzas. Like the Dracula's Dilemma (tons of garlic on that one), John Doe for plain cheese, and so many others.

Anyway, I changed the recipe up according to my own preferences to create this incredibly tasty and hearty pizza.

Making pizza dough seems like such an intimidating task: There are components needed for rising? Kneading the dough is required? Doesn't it have to be the perfect shape?

Seriously though, it really is quite simple. The only thing required for pizza dough is patience. You must let the dough sit for an hour or more to rise properly and adequately. You do have to knead the dough, slowly. Once you have the making pizza dough thing down, it is so rewarding and it will be hard to go back to anything else.

Adding sugar or honey to the yeast before it mixes with the dough is a little trick I learned along the way. I am not so sure about the science, but I know there is science to it and the sugar or honey activates the yeast a little bit quicker. Or so it seems, at least.

Sweet Potato Pizza with Balsamic Caramelized Onions, Spinach, and Goat Cheese

Pizza dough heavily adapted from How Sweet Eats go-to recipe.

Ingredients:

for the dough:

1 packet of active dry yeast

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil plus extra for oiling the bowl

1 tbsp honey

3/4 cup warm water

1 tsp salt

1 cup all-purpose flour plus extra for dusting

3/4 cup whole wheat flour

for the pizza:

1 sweet potato

extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp honey

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 red onion, sliced

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup baby spinach, loosely packed

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella

2 tbsp goat cheese crumbles (this is an estimated amount)

Directions:

First, prepare the pizza dough. In a small bowl combine the yeast, honey, olive oil, and water. Gently stir the ingredients together. Let them sit for about 15 minutes until the mixture becomes foamy. Transfer the mixture to a larger bowl. Add the all-purpose flour, wheat flour, and salt. Mix the ingredients together until you can form a ball. The dough will get sticky at first, but continue to work the dough in the bowl until all the flour has come together. On a clean surface, sprinkle flour and begin to knead the dough, folding it over on top of each other and pressing it in, working in the extra flour. Knead the dough for about 7-10 minutes maintaining the circular shape. Place the dough ball in a well-oiled bowl, cover with a kitchen towel and set it to the side for 60-90 minutes allowing the dough to rise.*

Meanwhile, prepare the pizza toppings. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. The sweet potato might take up to an hour to roast depending on the size. On the skin of the sweet potato lather extra virgin olive oil and salt all over, and poke with a fork. Roast on a baking sheet for 45 minutes to an hour. Slice the potato in half lengthwise. Let it cool until touchable. In a bowl, mash the potato with a fork. Add the honey, garlic powder, and salt. Mix well until smooth. 

In a non-stick pan, heat 1 tbsp of olive oil on medium heat and sauté the red onion. Add the balsamic vinegar. Reduce the heat to low and allow the onions to soften and caramelize, cooking for about 10-15 minutes - depending on how crunchy you want them.

When the dough has risen, punch it down and recover with the towel and leave it for an additional 10 minutes. On the floured surface, work the dough into a flat disc or oblong crust. Transfer it to a baking sheet or pizza pan. Spread the sweet potato mixture all over with a rubber spatula or the back of a spoon. Add the spinach. Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese. Add the balsamic caramelized onions. Sprinkle the goat cheese crumbles. Cook the pizza in the oven at 425 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until the edges are crispy.

Slice however you see fit, and enjoy!

*I do not own a KitchenAid, so this is my recipe by hand

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