pumpkin pizza with rosemary scented slow cooked onions, mushrooms and olives

I think we've finally found a good pumpkin dinner. And it uses a big onion. Excellent when the vegie box sends a surfeit of onions and pumpkin.


a 12 cm wedge of Jap pumpkin
a big brown onion
a sachet of tomato paste
2 heaped soup spoons of roast garlic paste
3 or 4 mushrooms
some pitted olives
some grated mozzarella cheese
some dried or fresh rosemary
a serve of ready made pizza dough (when I make pizza dough I make enough for 3 pizza dinners and freeze it)

To make

In advance

  • Get the pizza dough out of the freezer sometime before lunch to allow it to defrost (unless you have a microwave, in which case you can defrost it that way).
  • Peel and cut the pumpkin into slices about 1a nd a 1/2 cm thick. Place on a oiled tray and bake in medium hot oven until soft all the way through and starting to loose a little moisture.
  • Slice the onion into rings and place in a heavy frypan on a low heat with a smidge of olive oil, some fresh or dried rosemary and a sprinkling of salt. Cover and cook on a low heat. Stir occasionally. The onion should collapse and turn a kind of golden colour without burning. When it's nearly done, cook for a short while without a lid to allow some of the moisture to cook off.
  • Pit the olives and slice the mushrooms.

To assemble

  • Oil the pizza trays.
  • Roll and press out dough.
  • Splodge some tomato paste and roast garlic paste onto each pizza. Mix together and coat pizza bases with the back of a spoon.
  • Arrange pumpkin slices, mushrooms, olives, onion and rosemary mixture on each pizza. Cover thinly with mozzarella cheese.
  • Bake in a hot oven, rotating at the half way mark. About five minutes before they are ready, slip the pizzas off their pans (I use a flat baking sheet to handle the pizzas when doing this) and bake directly on the oven rack to crisp up the bases.
  • Remove from oven, slice and serve.

roast garlic paste

This was a staple when we had the cafe. I'd like to say it was my idea, or my creation, but it wasn't. One of our cooks suggested this and once we tasted it, we never stopped making it. It can be used in so many ways. We used to add about a teaspoon to each stir fry, it's nice on dry biscuits and toast if you like garlic, you can add it soups. But perhaps my favourite use is on pizza bases. Which was what got me thinking about making it the other week. I was making a potato and rosemary pizza with mushrooms and olives and found myself thinking, now if I just had some parmesan cheese and roast garlic paste....

So anyway, I was at Hassoons where I buy a few vegies that don't come in the box and they had some lovely purple garlic. Big pungent cloves. It was from Mexico and so not local, but it was a lot nicer than the wimpy garlic from China which is very tedious to make garlic paste from.


at least 4 heads of garlic
lemon juice
fresh chili
olive oil

To make

Cut the tops of the garlic heads (don't worry if some cloves are exposed and some aren't) and place the heads in a roasting tray. Sprinkle with salt. Roast at about 170C - 180C until the garlic is soft and brown carmelly bits are emerging from the garlic cloves. Allow to cool. Peel each clove and place in a bucket or food processor. This bit can either be very sticky and fiddly or quite easy depending on the garlic. Sticky is more annoying but you will have a better product in the end. Resist the temptation to just squish the garlic out, you will only get half as much paste that way.

Once you have all the garlic, add some chopped chili, a squeeze of lemon and a small slosh of olive oil (for four big heads of garlic I would probably use about half a hot chili and half a lemon). Blend to a paste with a bamix or in a food processor. Scrape into a container and refrigerate. Keeps for a good while, not sure how long - we've never had it around long enough to go off.