Rich and creamy, earthy and textured, salty and a little bit sweet, the unusual mix of toppings on this pumpkin and kale pizza make each bite an essential taste of fall.
I usually default to white sauce pizzas this time of year, since pumpkin and greens and other cold-weather veggies remind me of Grandma's Thanksgiving gratins. But last week, when I grabbed a baby fairytale pumpkin from a teetering pile near the register in my favorite local market (got me again, merchandising geniuses!), I vowed to do something different. Could red sauce and pumpkin pizza be a thing? Enter: Pinch of Yum's pumpkin spaghetti, the inspiration for this jewel-toned masterpiece.
Turns out that tomato sauce brings out a whole new personality in pumpkin. Just like champagne tempers unctuous triple creme cheese, the acid from tomatoes contrasts pumpkin's richness. And on this lighter, livelier base, pumpkin's fruitiness comes forward, complemented by crunchy kale, tangy sun-dried tomatoes, and mildly sweet Manchego cheese. Finally, a light dusting of cinnamon on top ties everything together and reminds us it's fall. Though it might not be the pumpkin and kale pizza you were looking for, it's the one you've been missing all along.
I used a baby fairytale pumpkin, but any small pumpkin or winter squash will work great here. Try baby hubbard squash, kabocha squash, sugar pie pumpkin, butternut squash, or honeynut squash. Or slice and roast a larger squash or pumpkin and save the rest for salads, snacking, and other meals throughout the week.
Pumpkin and Kale Pizza
- 1 (1-pound) baby pumpkin (such as fairytale, sugar pie, or blue hubbard), peeled, seeded, and cut into ¼-inch-thick slices
- extra-virgin olive oil
- kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 (14 to 16-ounce) ball pizza dough
- ⅔ cup super-easy marinara sauce
- 1 cup shredded lacinato (a.k.a. dinosaur) kale
- 5 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes sliced
- 4 ounces Manchego cheese shredded (preferably aged no more than 3 months)
- ground cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 400°F; if you're using a baking steel/stone to bake the pizza, make sure it's in the oven. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Arrange the sliced pumpkin on the prepared baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and toss to coat. Make sure the pumpkin slices are in a single layer, then transfer to the oven and roast for 20 minutes or until fork tender. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool slightly.
- Increase the oven temperature to 500°F (if using a baking sheet) or as high as it will go (if using a baking stone/steel).
- Stretch or roll out your dough to a 12-inch circle, then transfer it to an oiled baking sheet or a lightly floured pizza peel (if using a baking stone/steel).
- Spoon the marinara sauce onto the dough and spread it out evenly, leaving a ½-inch border of dough all around. Scatter on the shredded kale and sliced sun-dried tomatoes, and arrange the pumpkin slices on top, being careful not to overcrowd the pizza. (If you have more pumpkin slices than you need, just pack up the extras up for another meal or snack.) Finish with the cheese, a generous pinch of salt, a grind or two of black pepper, and a light sprinkle of cinnamon.
- Transfer the pizza to the oven and bake until the crust is golden and the cheese has browned in spots, 8 to 10 minutes on the baking sheet, 6 to 8 minutes on the baking stone/steel.
- Take the pizza out of the oven. Slice and serve.