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!

13 Responses to “I saw the sign…”

  1. LyB on March 17, 2008 5:38 am

    Congratulations on making such a big decision! That pizza looks just divine, the flavor combinations sound incredible.

  2. Ginny on March 18, 2008 4:18 pm

    Thanks! It’s nice to have that weight off my shoulders. The flavor combinations were delicious! I highly recommend it!

  3. michelle @ TNS on March 18, 2008 5:29 pm

    congrats on making the decision, from a recent law grad! if my experience is any indication, you can totally keep on cookin’ during law school!

    also, chicago rules! (i went to college out there)

  4. Tartelette on March 19, 2008 8:14 am

    Chicago is a great town! You are going to do great there! The pizza is just the icing on the cake, I know weird analogy but you know what I mean!!

  5. linda on March 19, 2008 12:38 pm

    Never been to Chicago but I’ve heard it’s a great city.
    The pizza looks delicious!

  6. StickyGooeyCreamyChewy on March 19, 2008 9:16 pm

    Congratulations, Ginny! Law school is a big leap! I know – I’ve been there! Actually, law school was where I developed my cooking skills. I found cooking to be a great stress reliever. My friends found eating my food to be a stress reliever! ;)

  7. bleeding espresso on March 20, 2008 4:04 am

    Congrats! Another law school survivor here ;)

    Also, I saw your comment over at Susan’s about your family San Giuseppe celebration…I’m wondering if your recipe for the day’s treats are similar to mine?

    What’s Cooking Wednesday: Calabrian Zeppole for St. Joseph’s Day

  8. Ginny on March 20, 2008 7:04 pm

    Michelle- Thanks! I can’t wait!

    Tartelette- I get you! haha! I also will need to find some good cake in Chicago too! :)

    linda- Thanks! Chicago is a fun city…if you ever have a chance to make it. One of my favorites!

    Susan and Michelle- thanks! It’s good to know I will be in such good legal and culinary company!

  9. Peabody on March 22, 2008 1:31 am

    Have a great move to Chicago…it’s a great food city.

  10. Do on March 23, 2008 9:07 am

    Chicago Rules! Seriously, as someone who grew up in the Chicago burbs and then went to college in the city – I can only sing its praises.
    If you get the chance (i.e. can possibly save up the money) there are three restaurants that are really, really worth the price tag.

    Alinea’s which is fantastic and completely crazy. It is really more of an artistic experience than a meal. The menu is often prepared to wow you with every single dish, which (by the end of 24 courses) can leave you feeling too overwhelmed to fully appreciate every dish. The experience is vastly improved if you can convince someone else who loves food to go with you – its a lot of fun to talk about every dish as you go.

    Tru – not nearly as crazy as Alinea’s, but a more balanced experience. Every dish was exquisite, balanced, and the total menu will had such a flow to it that every time the next dish was presented it was just exactly what I wanted (even though I hadn’t realized it until the dish showed up). They also have the best service of any restaurant in Chicago. Seriously, it is entertainment just to watch their wait-staff going about their job – they have a grace and attention for detail that is unbelievable.

    Finally, Charlie Trotters. This is somewhere between Tru and Alinea’s. More balanced than Alinea’s, but significantly crazier than Tru. One of the first dishes served, when I ate there was a miso paste that had been aged for five years. It was incredible.

    Now, of course those are only the super-pricey joints. There are lots, and lots, of great food joints that have a much more reasonable price tag.

    I hope you have some great years in Chicago!

    (sorry for the long post, but I do love my city…)

  11. nicisme on March 26, 2008 8:21 am

    Congrats, how exciting for you! I’ll be looking forward to reading about your adventures there!

  12. Ginny on March 30, 2008 8:09 am

    peabody- thank you! I can’t wait!

    Do- thanks for the advice! I’m really looking forward to exploring the city…one good food place at time!

    nicisme- Thanks! I will definitely keep everyone posted on my adventures. :)

  13. Curried Amazing Golden Butternut Squash Soup!!! at Just Get Floury on November 6, 2008 9:53 pm

    [...] SQAUSH!!!!!!!!!  You can not argue with that!  It is one of my favorite vegetables as you can probably [...]

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