* This post was created in partnership with California Olive Ranch. We’ve been working together this year to bring you some special recipes that highlight this beautiful olive oil. I’ve been using their olive oil for years now because they produce a high quality oil for an everyday price. They work with farmers in California and around the world to source their olive oil in order to create perfect blends.
As always the words, images and opinions are my own. A very hearty thank you to all of you who support the brands that believe in the work I do here.
As much as I love the abundance of produce in the summer it’s fall that I’d consider to be the season of cooking. There’s a chill in the air that settles me inside. I’m home, warm and content. As the rain patters against the window and the gray settles in I take it upon myself, a duty and an honor, to fill the air with scents of spice, roasts and freshly wakened yeast. Simple joys when slowly added together build a lifetime of loving memories.
Now that we’re settling back into a rhythm and routine of the fall and the sun softens its heat, the oven is back on, dinner is once again served round the table and I’m happy.
This focaccia recipe is from my latest book, Let’s Stay In. I loved it when I wrote it (which is why it’s in the book) but since publication this recipe has been fully lived in. The dough comes together quickly and while it can handle a slow rise it’s not required. I can throw the dough together between inbox sessions then about 30 minutes before we plan to eat I ravage the fridge and figure out what to throw on top. Served with a simple salad it makes a stunning meal that doesn’t feel as thrown together as it really is.
As luck would have it on this particular day I had a delicata squash and a potato sitting next to one another in the vegetable bowl. While I’m the only one in the family who heralds squash season with fanfare this simple pizza of sorts got rave reviews from each seat at the table.
Bay leaves add a fragrant floral note but rosemary would also do nicely here, as would sage or thyme. I thought Parmesan would finish the focaccia but it turns out pecorino is what I had on hand. All of that to say, this is endlessly adaptable.
Squash and Potato Focaccia with Bay and Pecorino
3 cups / 1 lb/ 455 g flour
1 tablespoon rapid -rise yeast
2 teaspoons sea salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/4 cup / 10 ounces/ 300 ml warm water
1/4 cup / 1 3/4 ounce / 60 ml California Olive Ranch Destination Series Mild & Buttery olive oil
1/2 delicata squash, deseeded
1/2 large yukon gold potato
5 fresh bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon chili flake
1/2 cup freshly grated pecorino
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook (or in a large bowl using your hands as the dough hook) add the flour, yeast, sea salt, and sugar. Mix just a few seconds to combine. Stir in the warm water and olive oil then knead until a smooth, sticky dough forms. Let this rise until doubled, about an hour, or plop into a greased and lidded container in the fridge overnight.
Preheat your oven to 400°F.
After the first rise add 2 tablespoons olive oil to a parchment lined sheet pan. Add the dough to the pan and coat the dough in the oil. Start to press the dough to cover the pan. It will resist at first but stretch it as far as it wants to go then let it rest a few minutes then stretch again. Continue until the dough reaches all four corners of the pan.
Using a mandolin (or a very sharp knife) slice the delicata squash very thin, about 1/8-inch. Cut the potato in half lengthwise and slice using the same thickness. They need to be sliced super thin in order to cook through in the oven.
Layer the squash and potato on the focaccia dough until covered then slip in the bay leaves. Sprinkled with chili flake, olive oil and flake salt. Let rise for 30 minutes.
Bake for 25 minutes or until the focaccia is golden brown around the edges and the squash a potato is cooked through.
Finish with the pecorino.