It’s pumpkin season and I’m sure you’re getting pumpkin recipes thrown at you left to right. Most of them are sweet, as we know pumpkin mostly in sweet form, but every now and then we’ll be pleasantly surprised because a delicious savory pumpkin recipe with come at us outta left field. Completely unexpected but totally welcomed. Take this Pumpkin Pizza for instance. It’s savory and it’s out of this world. An easy to make homemade pumpkin pizza sauce is what anchors this entire dish and makes it a bit unforgettable. I’m not sure if you’re aware, but pumpkin by itself tends to be rather bland actually. I mean, it’s got a little bit of a squash flavor (because it’s a squash), almost nutty, but other than that it’s pretty plain. The sweetness we usually associate it with comes from the sugar and of course pumpkin spice that are mixed into it for pies and cookies and cheesecakes. Because of this, pumpkin lends itself really well to savory dishes, especially this pizza sauce. The toppings like the chorizo, mushrooms, arugula and pumpkin seeds balance everything perfectly with the sauce, making it your new favorite Fall pizza flavor. Leftovers are great the next day, so If I were you, I’d make two pizzas. You’re going to want it. No, you’re going to need it.
Let’s start with the crazy good pumpkin pizza sauce that’s going to go on this pizza. It’s super easy to make and the best part is that this sauce is multi-purposeful. Begin by sautéing onion, garlic and yellow cherry tomatoes in a medium saucepan with a bit of olive oil, until soft and just beginning to brown. The tomatoes should be blistered and the onion and garlic translucent, about 10 minutes.
**Note: I like to use yellow cherry tomatoes for this, to keep the sauce dark yellow/orangey in color. If you can’t find them, the red cherry or grape tomatoes will do just fine!**
Stir in the pumpkin purée and thin it out with a bit of water or vegetables stock (to keep things vegetarian if you’d like) until it reaches the consistency of a traditional pizza sauce.
**Note: Remember that you can always add more water, if it’s too thick, but you can’t remove any if it’s too thin.**
Once you get the right consistency, season the sauce with salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes to taste. Allow the sauce to simmer over low until slightly reduced. Give it a taste and adjust seasoning accordingly. Remove from heat and let cool slightly while you prepare the topping for the pizza.
In a skillet, sauté sliced Spanish chorizo and mushrooms with a bit of olive oil, until browned and crispy, about 10 minutes. Make sure to give it a stir every now and then until fully browned.
**Note: It’s best to use Spanish chorizo for this, instead of the Mexican kind, as it is smoked and you can slice it, which makes it perfect for this pizza. If you can’t find Spanish chorizo, feel free to use hot Polish kielbasa instead.**
Roll out the pizza dough on a lightly floured work surface to about a 1/2-inch thick round. To create a “thick crust” allow the dough to hang off the edge of the pizza pan and then roll it over onto itself, pressing the edge to seal it. Spread the pizza with the somewhat cooled pumpkin sauce in an even layer.
**Tip: I’m not much for a heavy sauced pizza, so I slather it on in a thin layer. You’ll have extra sauce leftover which you can save to make two pizzas or to toss in some pasta if you’d like! This sauce is great with gnocchi or spaghetti.**
Sprinkle with shredded mozzarella, fontina and grated parmesan cheese. You can use a mixture of different cheeses, just make sure you shred them yourself, as it melts better than that pre-shredded stuff. I like the mixture of fontina and parmesan in this because they lend really well to the flavors of the pumpkin in the sauce and chorizo for the topping.
Top the pizza with the crispy chorizo slices, mushroom, and sage leaves. If you want to enhance the flavor of the sage leaves, you can quickly fry them in olive oil until crispy. But that’s optional if you don’t want to do that extra step. Placing them as is on the pizza will still be tasty.
Bake the pizza until the cheese has melted and bubbly, and the crust is golden brown and puffed, about 15 to 20 minutes. I like to cook my pizzas on a pizza stone or pizza steel because it makes it as crusty as if you were to get it from a pizza parlor. It also helps to bake the pizza in a super hot oven. I crank it up to 475 degrees F or even higher. It’ll make the pizza super crusty and delicious.
Allow the pizza to cool slightly before cutting and serving. The last thing you need to do is garnish the pizza with some fresh arugula on top and sprinkle with pumpkin seeds to really hone in on that pumpkin flavor. I love adding fresh arugula to the top of pizza, I think it adds a nice peppery bite to the pizza and the cool from the lettuce with the warmth of the cheese makes a perfect balance.
If you want to keep things vegetarian (since I was adamant about using water or vegetable stock for the sauce) you can easily omit the chorizo on the pizza. There’s so much flavor on the pizza as it is that it won’t lack any if you were to not add the chorizo. Adding roasted butternut squash or even roasted fresh pumpkin on top would take it to the next level.
Since the sauce is the real star of this recipe, we want it to truly shine. So the great thing about this pizza is that you can customize it a variety of different ways. Go crazy with it. I won’t even be upset if you just put the sauce and cheese on the pizza and call it a day.
Whether you have a designated weeknight or weekend evening when you make pizza at home, or if you’re just an amateur homemade pizza maker and like to have some fun in the kitchen, you need to add this pizza to your must-make list for this weekend or the upcoming week. Or just make the sauce and toss it with some pasta, as I mentioned earlier. It’s the perfect meal to make this Autumn. Enjoy!
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup yellow cherry tomatoes, sliced
- 3/4 cup pumpkin purée
- 1 cup water (or vegetable stock)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup sliced Spanish chorizo, or Polish kielbasa
- 1 cup sliced crimini mushrooms
- 1 (16-ounce) pizza dough, store-bought or homemade
- 2 tablespoons cornmeal
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella
- 1/2 cup shredded fontina cheese
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup fresh sage leaves
- 3/4 cup loosely packed fresh arugula
- 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
- For the sauce, place a medium saucepan over median-high heat with 1 tablespoons olive oil. Once hot, add the onions and garlic and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the cherry tomatoes, cooking until the tomatoes have blistered, another 5 minutes. Add the pumpkin purée and water, and stir until fully combined. Season with salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and bring to a simmer. Lower the flame and cook until slightly reduced, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
- To prepare the pizza toppings, set a skillet over medium-high heat with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Once hot, add the chorizo and cook until brown and crispy, about 5 minutes. Stir in the sliced mushrooms, cooking until also browned, another 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Preheat oven to 475 degrees F. Sprinkle a pizza stone, pizza pan, or baking sheet with cornmeal, set aside.
- Roll the dough out on a lightly floured work surface into about a 1/2-inch thick round circle. Transfer the dough to the prepared pizza stone (or baking pan or baking sheet), and fold the very edge over the top of the pizza to create a thick crust. Spread the center evenly with the pumpkin pizza sauce. Sprinkle with mozzarella, fontina and parmesan cheese. Top with the sautéed chorizo, mushrooms and sage leaves. Bake until puffed up, the cheese has melted, and the pizza is golden brown, about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and let cool slightly. Top with arugula and pumpkin seeds right before cutting and serving. Enjoy!
- Yield: 4 to 6 servings