Lunchbox Worthy, Main Attraction

Autumn Pizza

Every Thursday morning at the Cafe I bake batches of Focaccia Bread.  It’s a soft, wet dough that bakes into a spongy, chewy bread full of holes and fragrant with olive oil and rosemary.  We cut it into large squares and stuff them with chicken and roasted vegetables, or split them and layer the halves with ham, apples and cheddar.  They also stand in nicely when we run out of hamburger buns, an inevitability on busy weekends.  More often than not we mix up an extra batch of dough for pizzas.  We let our imaginations run wild, usually inspired by a quart of just-picked strawberries, a bagful of fresh herbs, or a bowl brimming with colourful heirloom tomatoes.  We’re incredibly lucky.  Many of Union Street Cafe’s present and past staff are gardeners.  And all the gardeners I know, especially my Dad, grow way too much for their own use.  So in through the kitchen door it comes, in bags and baskets and boxes: truly seasonal inspiration. And always gratefully received.
 This time last year: Kid Friendly Meals

Roasted Squash and Sausage Pizza with Greens
Here is last week’s creation!  Feel free to sub in pita or pre-made crust if you don’t want to bother making your own.  Just bake until the cheese is beginning to brown.

1 small Butternut Squash, peeled and cut in small dice
2 T. Olive Oil
1/2 t. Salt
1/2 recipe Focaccia Bread (make the dough and let rise)
generous 1/2 C. Alfredo Sauce, optional
1 bunch Rainbow Swiss Chard, chopped and steamed until tender, or 1 recipe Greens with Caramelized Onions
1 lb. Sweet Italian Sausage, cooked and sliced thinly (try Meadowbrook‘s in the Valley)
2 C. shredded Mozzarella
2 T. freshly grated Parmesan Cheese

Preheat the oven to 400°.  Toss the squash with the olive oil and salt and spread onto a baking sheet.  Roast for 20-30 minutes, until squash is tender and beginning to brown.  Leave the oven on.  Prepare the focaccia dough and gently press into a generously oiled 13×18″ pan.  I find this easiest to do in two or three stages, as the dough resists stretching and needs time to rest in between efforts.  Spread the dough with the the Alfredo sauce.  Top with the squash, the chard, and sausage.  Sprinkle with the mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses.  Bake for 15-25 minutes, until the cheese is bubbling and beginning to brown.