I don’t know if I could choose my favorite part of this pizza. It’s full of so many things I love! Butternut squash and fontina cheese are always up there on my list, but this sage pistachio pesto is to die for! And so are the short ribs. This pizza is definitely somewhat high maintenance, but totally worth it!
This is the pizza to make on a chilly fall weekend when you have some extra time on your hands, and it would be wonderful to make for company too. The good part is, the short ribs are made in the slow cooker, so you don’t have to worry about them. Most of the prep/cook time for making this pizza is hands-off. Same goes for the dough!
If you want to take a short cut, you could buy store-bought dough. But the rest is a MUST. Especially the pesto!
I’ve never made a pesto with sage in it, but that is changing now. IT’S SO GOOD. I love sage and put it in almost everything I make in the fall especially, but putting it in pesto is a total game changer. I still added the usual suspects (basil and parsley), but the sage added that extra dimension of flavor that I love. And pistachios are my favorite nut to use for pesto! And favorite nut in general, really.
And when this pesto is spread on the fluffy dough, heated in the oven, and mixed with the melty fontina, it tastes even more amazing.
I can’t stop dreaming about the combination of flavors here. The butternut squash cuts the richness of the short ribs perfectly, and the sage pesto adds incredible flavor. And I love the mixture of fontina and mozzarella together. They’re both so melty and my favorite cheeses to put on pizza!
The only thing you might want to change about this recipe is to double it and make two pizzas! Trust me, they’ll go quick!
Short Rib Butternut Squash Pizza with Sage Pistachio Pizza and Fontina
This pizza is topped with slow cooked short ribs, butternut squash, melty fontina cheese, and a delicious pesto made with fresh basil, pistachios, and sage!
For the dough
- 3/4 cup warm water
- 1 packet active dry yeast ( 2 1/4 teaspoons)
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
For the short ribs
- 1-1 1/2 pounds boneless beef short ribs
- salt and pepper
- 1/2 cup beef broth
For the pesto
- 1/4 cup roasted shelled pistachios
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
- juice of ½ a lemon
- 2 cloves garlic
- small handful of parsley
- 1/2 cup packed basil leaves
- 10-12 sage leaves
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- salt and pepper
For the pizza
- the sage pesto
- 2 cups freshly grated fontina cheese
- 1 cup freshly grated mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup cubed butternut squash
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 1 cup shredded short ribs
- grated parmesan cheese for serving
- fresh basil leaves for topping
- fried sage leaves for topping
Begin by making the short ribs. Rinse and pat dry the ribs with paper towels. Season on all sides with salt and pepper. Heat a skillet to medium-high heat and add the ribs. Sear on all sides, 3 minutes or so per side until golden. Place them in the slow cooker and pour over the beef broth. Cook for 4 hours on high or 6 hours on low, until the ribs shred easily with a fork.
Make the dough. Add warm water, yeast, and honey to a large bowl. Stir and let sit for 10 minutes until bubbles form at the top. Add both flours, salt, and olive oil and stir until it starts to form a dough.
Work it together using your hands onto a clean, dry countertop dusted with flour to prevent sticking. Knead for 5 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic. Form dough into a ball and place back in bowl and cover with a dish towel. Drizzle with a little olive oil and toss the dough ball to cover. Let rise for 1-1½ hours, or until the dough has doubled in size.
In the meantime, roast the butternut squash. Preheat the oven to 400℉. Line a baking sheet with parchment. Place the butternut squash on the baking sheet and add olive oil and a couple pinches of salt and pepper. Toss to coat and roast for 20 minutes or until tender. Set aside.
Make the pesto. Add the pistachios, parmesan, lemon juice, garlic, parsley, basil, sage, salt, and pepper to a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped, then slowly stream in the olive oil with the processor running until smooth. Season to taste with extra salt and pepper if desired. Set aside.
Once dough has risen, lightly flour the countertop. Turn the dough out onto the countertop, and use a rolling pin to roll the dough out into a large circle until it's about ¼-1/2'' inch thick. Place dough on an oiled baking sheet or pizza stone. I also usually add a small handful of coarsely ground cornmeal to the pan to prevent sticking, but it isn't necessary. Raise the oven temperature to 450℉.
Place dough on the baking sheet or stone and drizzle with a little olive oil. Massage it onto the dough evenly with your hands. Spread the dough with ½-3/4 of the pesto (you will have some leftover), leaving ½-1'' of room on the edges. Sprinkle with ⅔ of the cheeses, then add the butternut squash, the shredded short ribs, and the rest of the cheeses.
Bake for 15-20 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly and crust is golden. Top with extra grated parmesan cheese, basil leaves, and fried sage leaves. Cut into slices and enjoy!
*To make fried sage leaves, in a medium saucepan, melt 1 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat. Once melted and beginning to bubble, add the sage leaves and fry for 30 seconds to 1 minute until crispy, lowering the heat if the butter starts to brown. Remove the sage leaves from the pan and let drain on paper towels.