eat well, live free

Sage and date butternut squash pizzetta

The last time a garden grew in my back yard, I was about 10 years old.  My brothers shared a tiny plot under their bedroom window and I had a tiny plot under mine.  We grew corn, and mine grew tall and strong.  Theirs did absolutely nothing.  I knew the secret, but didn’t tell them.  My garden sat under the vent from the dryer.  The moist heat lit a fire under my corn like Jack’s magical bean stalk.  Being the only girl, I loved winning this.

Since that time, I have killed every plant that was ever purchased or given to me within days.  It is amazing to me that I even kept trying. Alas, I have sustained a garden for two years!  Last year, we called it a “starter garden” that included loads of herbs and squash.  Two things in gardening are certain: You can not kill squash, and you can not eat it all.  I graduated to a larger plot this year, installed soaker hoses and planted chives, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, strawberries and butternut squash.

Everything is growing like those corn I planted as a kid.  The butternut squash is absolutely exploding out there.  Nothing in my life has given me such a deep sense of accomplishment as going out to the garden and collecting delicate freshly grown food and bringing it straight to the kitchen.

Last night I collected all of the fixings for a well rounded pizza complete with romas, basil, thyme, oregano and squash but I was completely enamored with the butternut.  Sometimes my cooking can be quite compulsive.  I went back out for some sage and started to saute the squash in earth balance (vegan butter) and this pizzetta took on a life of its own.  It became layers of delicate earthy squash with a light buttery, smidgen of sweet, appetizer.

Sage and date butternut squash pizzetta

1 pre-made ultra thin pizza crust (I used Pastorelli from Cost Plus)
1/2 butternut squash, peeled and sliced into 1/4 in crescents (read tips on peeling here)
1-2 tbls earth balance
2 tbls brown sugar
5-6 leaves fresh sage, chiffonade
3 dates, sliced thin
salt to taste

Heat Earth Balance and brown sugar in a large non-stick pan.  Add butternut squash and saute on medium heat for 10-15 minutes or until just tender.  Use a spatula to turn the squash gently 3-4 times during the cooking so they do not break up.  Add sage and salt to taste. Flip one last time, cooking sage for just under 1 minute.

Layer the squash onto the pizza crust, ladle the remaining butter onto the crust.  Top with the sliced dates.

Bake in oven at 475 degrees for 7-10 minutes or per your pizza crust instructions.

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