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Summer Squash Pizza

Summer squash are squashes that are harvested when immature, while the rind is still tender and edible. This recipe works well with all varieties, including different coloured zucchini and patty pans.

Though this recipe can take some time to come together (squeezing the liquid from the zucchini takes a while) as well as some planning (the pizza dough takes 2 hours to rise) it is worth the work/wait.

I made this for dinner the other night and it got a thumbs up from 2 of the 3 children scampering around. A win! That being said, I would only make this for dinner again if I used store bought dough (for convenience) and did some of the zucchini draining work ahead of time.

In the future I'll likely make this recipe as an appetizer when having guests over or to take to a potluck. I also think it would be a fun way to spend some time in the kitchen with a friend, if you are looking for a low key afternoon that ends with a treat. I found this recipe over at Smitten Kitchen.

Summer Squash Pizza

1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for fingertips

1 recipe pizza dough (below)

2 1/2 pounds (about 5 small-medium or 3 large) zucchini or other summer squash, trimmed

1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt

2 cups (8 ounces) coarsely grated gruyere cheese

2 to 3 tablespoons plain breadcrumbs

Heat your oven to 500°F with a rack in the center. Brush either 1 13×18-inch rimmed half-sheet pan or 2 9×13-inch quarter-sheet pans (as I do) with olive oil. Divide your dough in half and use oiled fingertips to pull, stretch, nudge and press the dough across the bottom of the pan. The dough will be thin and imperfect; just try to get it even. If holes form, just pinch them together.

Use a food processor with a grater attachment or the large holes of a box grater to grate the zucchini. In a large bowl, toss together the zucchini and salt. Let stand for 20 to 30 minutes (more, if you have the time), until the zucchini has wilted and released its water. Drain the zucchini in a colander and then use your hands to squeeze out as much water as possible, a fistful at a time.

Back in the large bowl (wiped out if still wet), toss the zucchini with the gruyere shreds, being sure to break up any clumps of zucchini. Taste the mixture; it should be seasoned enough from the salt, but you can add more, plus ground pepper or pepper flakes if desired.

Spread the zucchini mixture over the dough(s), going all the way to the edges of the pan and piling it a bit thicker at the edges, where it will brown first. Sprinkle messily with the bread crumbs.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the topping is golden. Remove from oven, cut into squares and dig in.

Jim Lahey’s Basic Pizza Dough

2 cups minus 1 tablespoon (250 grams) all-purpose or bread flour 1 1/4 teaspoons (5 grams) instant or active dry yeast A heaped 1/4 teaspoon fine sea or table salt 2/3 cups (150 grams) room temperature water

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, yeast and salt. Add the water and, using a wooden spoon or your hand, mix until well blended, about 30 seconds. Cover the bowl and let sit at room temperature until the dough has more than doubled in volume, about 2 hours. Continue using instructions above.

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