I saw the sign…

March 16th, 2008

…and I decided where to go to LAW SCHOOL. Ever since I started the law school process of LSATs, personal statements, acceptances (and rejections), I have been very stressed! The decision has been looming, always in the back of my mind, coming out when I would finally start relaxing…frequently, as I was trying to sleep. I have spent a number of nights, restless as my mind raced through all the reasons to go to this school or that…Until last week, I realized that I knew where I should go…

I am moving to CHICAGO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am very very very excited!!!!!!!!!!! I love Chicago! Last February, I went to Chicago for the first time and fell in love with the city, even though I had the flu and it was freezing. Of course, I did not base my decision just on my love of Chicago but it is a plus. Last week, I filled out the deposit form, giving them the first installment of what will be a lot of money, and then dropped it into the mail box on the way to the gym. After that I had three signs that reaffirmed my decision:

First, I am one of those crazy multi-taskers when I am at the gym. I must have a book or magazine to flip through (and block the time) while I work out plus I always try to find something to watch. Well, that night the travel channel was doing a segment on Super Dawg in CHICAGO. Second, I was reading an article in Vogue, which mentioned Alinea in CHICAGO. Finally, that night was the season premiere of Top Chef Season 4 in CHICAGO!

If these are not enough, I do not know what is? Isn’t it so fitting that my “signs” were all food related?

In honor of my decision and with some inspiration from the season premiere of Top Chef, I made deep dish pizza this past Friday. It is another butternut squash recipe (shock!). Unfortunately, I do not cook for a Bravo TV show and thus my budget is a bit more limited. It turned out really well. Next time, I would make the bottom crust a bit thicker because as soon as we cut into it, it was like opening the flood gates of cheese and butternut squash yumminess. I guess I will just have to make it a goal to first test all the deep dish in the city and then perfect my own recipe. Of course, that is if I have time to cook while working hard at school…

Butternut Squash-Grape Tomatoes-Ricotta Deep Dish Pizza

Pizza Crust
(adapted from Deep-dish Sausage and Tomato Pizza)

1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 cup warm water (110° – 115°F.)
a 1/4-ounce package (2 1/2 teaspoons) active dry yeast
2 1/4 to 2 1/2 cups unbleached flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons butter, melted

1. In a large bowl dissolve sugar in water. Sprinkle yeast over water and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.
2. Stir in 2 1/4 cups flour, cornmeal, salt, and butter and blend until mixture forms a dough. Knead dough on a floured surface, incorporating as much of remaining 1/4 cup flour as necessary to prevent dough from sticking, until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.
3. Put dough, in a deep oiled bowl and turn to coat with oil. Let dough rise, covered with plastic wrap, in a warm place 1 hour, or until doubled in bulk.

(adapted from Ryan Scott’s Pizza with Escarole, Butternut Squash & Ricotta Salata)

1Tablespoon butter
2 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 large yellow onions, julienned
1 large butternut squash, peeled, diced (half-inch)
1 teaspoon dry thyme
1 ½ cups chicken stock
Salt and white pepper to taste
1 package grape tomatoes
1/4 lb ricotta
1 cup Italian parsley, chopped
1/4 lb fresh mozzarella, shredded

1. In sauté pan add butter and 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil over medium heat.
2. Sauté the garlic and crushed red pepper for a minute.
3. Add yellow onions and sweat down until tender.
4. Add butternut squash.
5. Sprinkle with thyme.
6. Cover with chicken stock and bring to a boil. Simmer and cook until tender (about 20-25 minutes). Once tender remove herbs and season with salt and white pepper.
7. Puree in a food processor, set aside.
8. Add grape tomatoes to sheet pan and roast at 400 degrees for 10 minutes; pull and set aside.
9. Mix ricotta and Italian parsley together.

Putting it together:
1. In a 10’ spring form pan, press the dough into the pan and up the side of the pan for at least 1 ½ inches up the side.
2. Spread the mozzarella on the bottom of the crust.
3. Layer with grape tomatoes, butternut squash puree and ricotta mix.
4. Bake in 500 degree oven for about 25 minutes.

P.S. Do you have left over topping? I had a good amount of butternut squash puree left. I am planning on mixing it with pasta and sprinkle it with Parmesan for dinner tonight!