Hungry Season Pizza

The other day, a friend of mine described these early spring weeks as the hungry season.  She was nearing the end of her storage vegetables, potatoes, squash and onions.  She’d used most of them and those left were starting to grow sprouts or show rotten spots.   Mine are the same.  And in my kitchen garden the new growth on the hardy greens has begun but is not abundant yet.

What sort of meal do these hungry season vegetables suggest?  Pizza!  Really! These vegetables would make delicious frittatas or tart fillings, pasta sauces or side dishes but friends were coming over and we wanted to make pizza.Pizza oven & Scott

We have a wood fired oven and make a lot of pizza year round.  Summer pizzas with fresh sliced tomatoes, grilled eggplant, roasted peppers or some combination of these three are classic.  But this time of year the last potatoes and squash, sliced and roasted, and kale tops and leaves make fabulous pizza toppings.  No tomato sauce needed.  A good crust, a little flavorful cheese and really any topping will make pizza, even toppings from the hungry season.   Pizza toppings

I make a medium crust pizza that cooks quickly on the 650-degree wood-fired oven floor.  The simple dough of flour, yeast, salt and water, rounded after mixing into individual balls, rises slowly over about five hours, each ball becoming soft and pliable and stretching easily into a 10-inch pizza round that still shows the air bubbles of the dough.

Because the dough is on the lighter side, these pizza crusts can’t support a lot of weight.  About a third of a cup of cheese is plenty.  I sprinkle the cheese on the dough before adding the toppings. The cheese helps glue the toppings to the dough and the toppings protect the cheese from toughening and burning.  A final dusting of grated Parmesan adds a toasted cheese flavor.

On two recent pizza nights, the toppings were roasted slices of Delicata Squash, roasted slices of potatoes, both Rose Finn Apple and Yellow Finn, and raw Lacinato kale flower buds.  With the squash and potato pizzas, we used crumbled Gorgonzola cheese and a final dusting of grated Parmesan cheese, great flavor combinations of sweet squash, nutty potatos and pungent, slightly salty Gorgonzola. Pizza Delicata GorgPizza Potato

For the raw kale topping, we used grated Trugole cheese, a mildly tangy semi-soft cow’s milk cheese from Italy that melts well. I rubbed the kale flower buds with a little olive oil just before arranging them on the grated cheese and dusting them with Parmesan. In the heat of the oven, the kale buds softened then crisped quickly. Pizza kale rawPizza kaleBeautiful to look at and amazingly tasty in its combination of crispy kale, melted cheese and chewy crust, this pizza was my favorite but all three were delicious and a perfect way to make the best of the hungry season.

8 thoughts on “Hungry Season Pizza

  1. I just get hungry reading your blog!

    Any tips on the best fingerling potatoes to grow? I am looking at a catalog from Irish Eyes Garden Seeds. I am intrigued by the Rose Finn Apple fingerling. Have you ever grown this?

    Say hi to Nancy!

    • I’ve grown Rose Finn Apple fingerlings for the past several years. The main reason I like them is that they mature on the late side and are the longest lasting potatoes I grow. Even now, they haven’t started to sprout. One odd thing about them is that they can get really knobby, lots of odd protrusions and “fingers,” but I read that if you water them regularly this knobbiness doesn’t happen as often. I tried to keep them evenly watered and the knobbiness did lessen. As for flavor, they are very tasty, but I think Banana is even tastier.

  2. Looks so delicious, Debby, and so Italian in its simplicity.
    Thanks for the info about slow-to-sprout potatoes. I had given up growing them because the Yukon Golds I tried always sprouted before we could eat them; so now I’m off to try to find some Rose Finns.
    Best, Lyn

  3. And the perfect way to totally delight your grateful guests!! It’s not every day that you can look at the meal you have savored on a blog! Sorry to be so slow in getting back to you, but thank you again for the beautiful and so tasty meal you shared with us. The kale pizza was my favorite too, but I also loved the potato-gorganzola, and each incredible flavor. I loved the way the kale crisped. I need to start making crisp kale – perhaps I’ll try this week. And if I get the recipe from Ratumbra that she did with cashews, I’ll pass it on. We so appreciated having time with both of you, and hope we can get you over here soon. With the Procession of the Species coming in April and gardens to plant and of course jobs and such I feel the pace of life about to accelerate, but we’ll find a moment in the midst of it all. Steve really enjoyed meeting your sister, Nancy, and sends on his thanks and greetings. Spring cheer to you both! Look at this morning sun!! XOXO, Polly

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