This week may seem like winter squash week here on Italian Food Forever, and the reason for that is that I was a little too greedy shopping for squash last week. I had squash sitting all over my countertop and needed to start using them up. Over the past few days, I made Roasted Butternut Squash With Dried Cranberries & Walnuts, Creamy Goat Cheese Pasta With Pancetta & Squash (recipe coming soon!), and this tasty Focaccia With Squash Ribbons, Walnuts, & Gorgonzola Crumbles. I cannot seem to get enough of squash lately it seems!
I usually make focaccia every week, and though I usually make a basic plain focaccia that we can use as bread to serve with meals, or for sandwiches. Sometimes though, I just want to experiment, and I throw on some toppings depending on what I have on hand. For this focaccia, I had a small Kabocha squash, which is also called a Japanese pumpkin that I decided to cut into thin ribbons to use as a topping. I simply peeled the squash, scooped out the seeds, and then used a vegetable peeler to cut the squash into ribbons. Because sage and squash are a wonderful flavor combination, I picked some fresh sage leaves from my herb garden also. After baking the focaccia halfway, I added some chopped walnuts, Gorgonzola cheese crumbles, and a drizzle of chestnut honey that I brought back from Corsica. I decided to divide my dough into two pieces and shaped two round focaccia about 12 inches wide. You could also simply press the dough into a 13 x 9 inch pan instead. After breaking my wrist last month I have had to learn to knead my dough one handed, and I must say that I am getting pretty good at it! This would be a great option when entertaining this fall sliced into thin pie shaped pieces and served with a glass of sparkling wine.
Deborah Mele 2015
- 5 Cups All-purpose Unbleached Flour
- 2 Teaspoons Instant Active Dry Yeast
- 2 – 3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Plus 2 Additional Tablespoons To Oil Bowl)
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- 2 Cups Warm Water
- 3 to 4 Cups Thinly Sliced Squash Ribbons (See Notes Above), Tossed With 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 10 Fresh Sage Leaves
- Cracked Black Pepper
- 1/2 Cup Chopped Walnuts
- 1 Cup Gorgonzola Crumbles
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Coarse Sea Salt
- Chestnut Honey (Optional)
- Measure and assemble your flour, oil, salt, yeast, and water.
- Add everything but the water into a large bowl and stir.
- Add half the water and stir.
- Continue to add water until the dough begins to come together into a shaggy ball.
- Dump the dough mixture onto a lightly floured surface and begin to knead with the heels of your hand.
- Knead for about 5 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and pliant.
- Add a little oil (2 tablespoons) to the bottom of a large bowl and place your ball of dough inside.
- Roll the ball of dough around in the oil ensuring the sides of the bowl and ball of dough are both lightly oiled.
- Cover your bowl with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot to rise. (I cover mine with a kitchen towel on top of the plastic wrap and sit it on a large sunny windowsill.)
- Let the dough rise until it is doubled in size, about an hour or an hour and a half depending on ambient temperature.
- Line two baking sheets with parchment paper, then lightly oil.
- Dump your risen dough into the pan punching it down to deflate it.
- Divide the dough into two equal pieces, then press into rounds about 12 to 14 inches in diameter.
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
- Drizzle about 1/4 of a cup of olive oil over the top of each dough round.
- Arrange the squash ribbons over the top of each circle of dough.
- Sprinkle coarse sea salt over the top of your focaccia, and let it sit to rise again for 15 minutes.
- Bake for 15 minutes then remove from the oven.
- Sprinkle the top of each focaccia with half the walnuts and the cheese crumbles.
- Bake another 10 minutes or until the focaccia rounds are golden brown.
- As soon as the focaccia comes out of the oven, drizzle each with a tablespoon of chestnut honey.
- Sprinkle the focaccia with some cracked black pepper, then cool for 10 to 15 minutes before slicing.
- Cut each focaccia into slices, and enjoy!