A fall upgrade to pizza night
This White Pizza with Pumpkin, Bacon, Kale, and Gouda combines all the best fall flavors into a superb Friday night pie. The base of the pie begins with a creamy garlic parmesan white sauce before being sprinkled with smokey aged gouda cheese, then topped with roasted pumpkin, crisp bacon, and garlicky red pepper kale. This pizza is a gourmet fall upgrade to your standing pizza night.
How to Prep and Roast Pumpkin
Roasting pumpkin is super simple! To prep the pumpkin, you'll need a steady cutting board, a sharp knife, a sturdy spoon, and a vegetable peeler. Roasting can be done on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- With the pumpkin standing on the cutting board, stem-side up, slice the pumpkin into two by cutting to the right (or left if you're left-handed) of the stem straight through the pumpkin vertically. The stem is often difficult to cut through, so I find slicing to the side of it rather than straight down the middle to be a bit easier -- and safer.
- At this point, you should be able to easily cut the stem out from the larger half and discard it.
- Using a sturdy metal spoon, scrape out the seeds and sinew. Discard or save the seeds for roasting later.
- Using a vegetable peeler, peel the tough outside layer of skin from the pumpkin, then discard the skin.
- Dice the pumpkin flesh, toss with garlic-infused olive oil (may sub for extra-virgin olive oil + garlic powder), sprinke with cracked black pepper, and roast at 400 degrees F / 205 C for 20-30 minutes (depending on the side of your dice). The pumpkin should be fork-tender but still maintain their shape.
Can I swap the gouda out for another cheese?
I absolutely love a good smoked gouda on this pizza because the creamy, salty, sweet, and nutty flavors perfectly pair with the pumpkin, bacon, and kale and nicely compliment the parmesan in the white sauce base. If you prefer to use another cheese, traditional mozzarella is really nice, or if you're feeling fancy, gruyere is also a wonderful option!
Do I have to cook the bacon before adding it to the pizza to bake?
You might wonder about pre-cooking the bacon, after all, it's going in the oven, so do you really need to take the extra step to pre-cook it? Yes. Precooking the bacon not only ensures that the bacon cooks fully to a safe temperature, but it significantly impacts the texture of the bacon for the better because the fat has rendered off the bacon, ensuring that it's nice and crisp instead of soggy and greasy.
WHAT TEMPERATURE IS BEST TO BAKE PIZZA AT?
Your aim is a perfectly golden crust and nicely caramelized toppings, so the hotter the better. Many professional pizzerias keep their ovens heated to 800 degrees F or higher, but most home ovens only reach temperatures between 500-550 degrees F so this recipe is created with those constraints in mind. I bake my pizzas at 500 degrees F / 260 degrees C and get wonderful results. If your oven tops out at 450 degrees F / 232 degrees C, I have tested that temp many times over as well and it works well, though you’ll want to plan on a few extra minutes in the oven, especially if your pie is piled high with toppings.
REHEATING PIZZA LEFTOVERS
It would be cliche if I made a joke about leftovers and pizza right now, so we’ll just skip that and assume you didn’t eat the entire pie for a moment. My two favorite methods for reheating pizza so it retains it’s crisp crust while remelting the cheese, is in the oven or in a cast-iron pan on top of the stove.
Oven method: Bake on a sheet pan at 350 F / 175 C for 10 minutes or until pizza has reached your desired level of warmth and crispness.
Stovetop method: Set pizza in a cast-iron pan over medium-low heat. Allow to cook until the crust has reached your desired level of crispness. If the cheese isn’t melted enough for your taste you can add a few drops of water to the pan (away from the pizza) and cover the pan for a minute or two to allow the steam to melt the cheese further.
WHAT TOOLS DO I NEED TO MAKE THIS RECIPE?
- A cutting board
- A chef's knife
- A baking sheet
- Parchment paper
- A medium skillet
- A small saucepan
- A whisk
- 2 small prep bowls
- A kitchen scale or measuring cups
- Measuring spoons
- A rolling pin (only if you prefer an evenly thick pie) otherwise your hands are your best tool
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This White Pizza with Pumpkin, Bacon, Kale, and Gouda combines all the best fall flavors into a superb Friday night pie.
For the cheese sauce base:
- 1 tbsp garlic-infused olive oil (may sub for 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil + 2 minced garlic cloves)
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 ½ tbsp all-purpose flour
- ⅔ cup whole milk
- ⅔ cup parmesan cheese, grated
- ¼ tsp Kosher salt
- ⅛ tsp cracked black pepper
- 1 pinch ground nutmeg
For the pizza:
- ½ recipe Easy Same Day Pizza Dough
- 4 oz (1 cup) aged smoked gouda cheese, shredded
- 150g (about 1 heaping cup) Fresh sugar pumpkin, peeled, seeded, and cubed (may sub for butternut, delicata, or kabocha squash)
- 1 tbsp garlic-infused olive oil (may sub extra-virgin olive oil + 2 cloves minced garlic), divided
- ½ tsp Kosher Salt, divided
- Cracked black pepper, to taste
- 3 pieces of thick-cut bacon, cut into perpendicular strips
- 2 large kale leaves (about ½ cup), stemmed and chopped
- ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
For the toppings:
- Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F / 205 degrees C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and add the cubed pumpkin to the sheet. Toss with 2 teaspoon of garlic oil (or olive oil + minced garlic), ¼ teaspoon of Kosher salt, and a few cracks of black pepper to your preference. I like to use my hands to toss this together, coating the pumpkin evenly. Bake for 20-30 minutes (depending on the size of your pumpkin cubes); The pumpkin should be fork-tender but still maintain their shape. Reserve to the side.
- While the pumpkin roasts, cook the bacon. In a medium skillet over medium-high heat cook bacon until crispy, stirring occasionally to make sure that the bacon gets evenly browned, then reserve to a paper-towel-lined bowl to the side.
- In a small bowl, add the chopped kale, 1 teaspoon of the reserved garlic oil (or olive oil + minced garlic), ¼ teaspoon Kosher salt, and the red pepper flakes. Massage together by hand until the kale has softened and wilted slightly. Reserve to the side.
- Once the pumpkin is done roasting, raise the heat in the oven to 500 degrees F / 260 degrees C and set a bakers half sheet to the side.
For the cheese sauce base:
- In a small saucepan over medium-low heat melt the garlic-infused olive oil (or olive oil + minced garlic) with the butter.
- When the butter has fully melted, add the flour and whisk to combine fully.
- Once the mixture has started to simmer and become frothy, add the milk slowly, whisking to combine. The mixture will look chunky at first, but will smooth as you whisk.
- Once the milk is combined, add the parmesan cheese and continue to whisk until combined fully.
- Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg. The sauce should have thickened considerably at this point and be fairly smooth. If your sauce is too thick, add additional milk 1 tablespoon at a time, whisking to combine. Remove from heat and reserve to the side until ready to assemble the pizza.
Assembling the pizza:
- Shape your dough. If you prefer a classic pie-shape with a thicker crust compared to the center of your dough, I suggest hand-stretching your dough. If you prefer your pizza to be an even thickness, I suggest rolling your dough out with a rolling pin.
- If you are hand-stretching your pizza dough:
- I like to rub a small amount of olive oil into my hands first; this allows me to shape the dough easier without it ripping accidentally from friction.
- Press the dough down with the palm of your hand into a disk shape, then use your fingertips to gently press down on the dough disk, further flattening it.
- To further extend the dough, I prefer to press one palm on top of one side of the dough and with the other hand lift the alternative side of the dough and gently work the dough outward, pulling very gently with the tips of my oiled fingers (like a very discrete “come hither” motion) to slowly stretch the dough out. Rotate slightly and repeat until the dough is shaped and stretched to your liking. If you find that the dough starts to snap back or is beginning to tear, allow the dough to relax for a minute or two before proceeding again. Transfer your stretched dough to a sheet of parchment paper.
- If you are using a rolling pin:
- I prefer to place my dough between two sheets of parchment paper to avoid the dough sticking to my rolling pin, but if you prefer you can also sprinkle a bit of flour over the dough ball as well as wiping some over your rolling pin by hand to prevent sticking instead. Once the dough has been rolled to your preferred size and shape, peel the top layer of parchment paper off (if using). The bottom layer that the dough is resting on can be utilized for your baking sheet. If you find that the dough starts to snap back or is beginning to tear, allow the dough to relax for a minute or two before proceeding again.
- If you are hand-stretching your pizza dough:
- Transfer your shaped dough to the reserved baking sheet.
- Top with reserved cheese sauce, using the back of a spoon spread the sauce out evenly over the dough.
- Top the pizza with shredded gouda cheese, then add the reserved roasted pumpkin, crispy bacon, and kale.
- Bake for 15-18 minutes or until the crust has reached your preferred level of crispness and the cheese is starting to brown.
Nutritional information on Whip & Wander is provided as a courtesy and is approximate only. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the nutritional information given for any recipe on this site.
- Serving Size: ¼th of the pizza
- Calories: 616
- Sugar: 5 g
- Sodium: 1055 mg
- Fat: 29 g
- Saturated Fat: 11 g
- Carbohydrates: 61 g
- Protein: 27 g
- Cholesterol: 21 mg
Keywords: pizza, white pizza, gouda, pumpkin, bacon, kale