Sweet & Savory Roasted Veggies and Brie Pizza, to be exact.*
Here’s a typical mid-week lunch ritual for me at the office where I work: I head to the fridge at about 11:35am, because I simply cannot wait any longer. I pull my packed lunch out of the fridge, preparing to plate or reheat, and someone, looking over my shoulder as they come into the break room to grab paper clips, says, “Wow… whatcha got there?”
I have a reputation for creating interesting meals. A plain turkey sandwich for lunch just won’t do. I need more sensory stimulation than that. Food is definitely a creative outlet for me, so I figure I may as well share some of my favorites, and how I go about creating new favorites. Follow along, and you too can wow your coworkers with extraordinary leftovers.
- Trader Joe’s pizza dough (I chose whole wheat)
- Brie cheese
- Caramelized sweet onions
- Yellow bell peppers
- Butternut squash (Trader Joe’s sells it in a bag, pre-peeled and chopped)
Let’s talk toppings. Excuse me for tooting my own horn, but I have what I like to call an incredible “flavor intuition.” The theme of this pizza is sweet and savory. It’s all made of veggies that have a natural sweetness that becomes even better when you roast/grill/add a bit of char to them. Brie pairs well with them because it’s got that buttery, nutty goodness. (For those who know their cheeses – Fontina would be a great choice as well.)
How to roast veggies: This is a blog unto itself, but in brief, you need a hot oven (400°F), and olive oil, salt, pepper. We’re going to roast the bell peppers and squash.
Chop the peppers into 1 inch pieces, and the squash into 1/2 inch cubes; throw them in a roasting pan or casserole dish. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt & pepper, toss, and into the oven they go!
Roast for 10-12 minutes. They are done when the squash is fork-tender. Turn up the heat on the oven to 450°F to get it ready for the pizza.
How to caramelize onions: While those veggies are roasting, caramelize the onions. The essential ingredients are a tablespoon of butter, a sweet yellow onion, and medium-low heat. Melt the butter in a frying pan, and add the onions. You want them to sizzle and sweat slowly, not char. Toss them every once and a while with tongs or a spoon. When they are almost completely translucent, add a couple teaspoons of sugar and a dash of salt and pepper. When they are translucent but golden in color, they are done. Remove pan from heat and set aside.
Prepare the pizza dough according to the package instructions: roll or toss with your hands into a rectangle-oval-esque shape, and lay it on a baking sheet. I like to sprinkle the baking sheet with cornmeal first so the crust doesn’t stick. Drizzle the pizza dough with olive oil before adding toppings.
Now the fun part! Arrange all the veggies on the dough however you see fit. Give it some good coverage, but leave at least a half inch border around the edge for the crust. Slice/chunk the brie into medallion size pieces. (This will get messy, as brie doesn’t slice super easily, but it’s okay, just be sure to eat whatever gets stuck to the knife or your fingers.) Add the brie on top of the veggies. If I was making this again tomorrow night, I would be more generous with the brie. You only live once.
Season with fresh cracked black pepper, and a bit of salt, maybe even a dash of nutmeg or cinnamon. Next time, I’ll play up the sweetness a bit more, and drizzle honey all over it. Stick the pizza in that hot oven for about 10 minutes or until the edges of crust are crisp and the cheese is melty. Here it is sliced up, with some tasty herbed olive oil to dunk the crust in.
This particular pizza was a first time venture for me, but I found it to be delicious! I realize, it may seem kind of involved, but it took me just 40 minutes, from first chop to first bite. And it was so worth it.
I can’t wait to eat my second helping for lunch tomorrow!
*Note: Please, do not judge my food photography. I like to cook, I never said I had an eye for photos.