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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!

Course Main Course
Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 6 hours
Servings 4


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


  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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℉.

  7. 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.

  8. 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!

Recipe Notes

*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.