Though this pizza may look plain, one bite will prove quite the opposite. The "sauce" is made by pureeing sweet potatoes and parsnips with mustard, honey, milk, salt, and pepper, and then stirring in some finely chopped sage. It's a little sweet and a little savory, and a good farmhouse Cheddar drives it home with just the right amount of saltiness and tang. (I used PA Noble, from Wakefield Dairy.)
Sweet Potato–Parsnip Pizza with Cheddar Cheese
Makes one 12-inch pizza
- 1 large parsnip, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon whole milk
- 1½ teaspoons Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon raw honey
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh sage
- 1 (14- to 16-ounce) ball Basic Pizza Dough (or pre-made dough)
- 1/4 pound farmhouse Cheddar cheese, grated
Place your pizza stone (if using) on an oven rack about 8 inches from the broiler. If you plan to cook your pizza on a baking sheet, place a rack in the middle of the oven (you do not need to preheat the baking sheet). Preheat the oven to 500°F and let it heat up for at least 30 minutes while you make the dough and/or prepare the toppings.
To prep the toppings: Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the parsnip and sweet potato to the pot, bring the water back to a boil, and boil, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until the vegetables are very tender when pierced with a fork. Remove the pot from the heat, drain the vegetables and transfer them to a food processor. Process until smooth, then add in the milk, mustard, honey, salt, and a few grinds of pepper. Process until the mixture is uniform in color, and add more milk if it seems too thick to spread on the pizza dough. Stir in the sage and season to taste with more salt and pepper if needed. (Or you could just return the cooked vegetables to the pot, mash them together with a potato masher, then stir in the other ingredients.)
To stretch/roll out the dough: Dust the ball of dough with flour and place it on a well-floured work surface. Using your hands or a rolling pin, gently stretch or roll the dough into a 12-inch disk.
If you’re using a pizza stone: Dust a pizza peel or the back of a baking sheet generously with flour or cornmeal. Place the dough disk on the prepared peel.
If you're using a baking sheet: Spray the baking sheet with cooking spray. Place the dough disk on the prepared baking sheet.
To top the pizza: Spoon the puree onto the dough and spread it evenly, leaving a 1/2-inch border all around. Sprinkle the cheese over top.
To bake the pizza: If you're using a pizza stone, 10 minutes before you are ready to cook the pizza, increase the oven heat to broil. Slide the pizza from the peel (or inverted baking sheet) to the hot stone using quick shimmying movements. Broil the pizza for 5 to 7 minutes (3 to 5 minutes in a gas oven), until the bottom of the crust is crispy and the top is blistered. Using the peel or inverted baking sheet, transfer the cooked pizza to a cutting board. If you are making more than one pizza, allow the pizza stone to reheat under the broiler for 5 minutes before you cook the next one.
If you're using a baking sheet, do not increase the oven to broil. Place the baking sheet on the rack in the middle of the oven and bake at 500°F for about 10 minutes, until the crust is crispy and the top is blistered.
Let the pizza cool for at least 5 minutes, then slice and serve.