Acorn Squash Pizza with Bacon, Shallot Confit, Taleggio, Arugula & Aged Balsamic


Chefs like to build flavors one upon the other to give dishes variety and depth, as you can already tell i took this ‘layering the flavors’ business quite seriously. Here’s a pizza topped with sweet shallot confit, bacon, roasted acorn squash, taleggio, manchego, baby arugula and .. a gentle drizzle of aged balsamic. I’m talking about 25 years old balsamic, nothing less. Of course a good balsamic would work perfectly here but if you can – try an aged one. Decades of aging mutates balsamic into something syrupy and complex, sweet with dark woody overtones, almost mysterious. It’s quite an investment so put it on your list for Santa this year. I believe that pizza is only as good as what you put on it and running the risk of upsetting purists makes it quite fun.


This acorn squash pizza was seriously delicious. And i mean seeeriously delicious. I felt almost guilty using squash but i guess it’s about time to surrender to the fall and welcome it with open arms instead. Apples, squash, pomegranate, mushrooms, cauliflowers… expect plenty of those in the months to come. Also, Frog Hollow Farm is kindly sending me a case of Warren pears to develop some recipes for them so i’ll be playing with those next week. More exciting news to come and possibly a giveaway, so stay tuned…

If you like this you can check out my other pizza recipes:

Catalan Coca with Sweet Onions, Piquillo Peppers, Olives & Aged Manchego

Morel Pizza with Fontina, Asparagus & Smoked Ham


  • Acorn Squash Pizza with Bacon, Shallot Confit, Taleggio, Arugula & Aged Balsamic

    • Makes 2 medium pizzas
  • kabocha-pizza-7
    • Basic Pizza Dough:
    • 4 cups all purpose flour, plus additional for kneading
    • 1 package active dry yeast
    • 1 1/2 cup warm water
    • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    • 1 teaspoon sugar
    • 1 tablespoon salt
    • Pizza:
    • 1 small acorn squash, seeded & sliced
    • 15 shallots, peeled & thinly sliced
    • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    • salt & black pepper
    • 8 slices bacon, cooked
    • 8 ounces Manchego
    • 1 Tallegio cheese, cut in thick slices
    • 2 cups baby arugula
    • 25 years old Balsamic(optional)
  • kabocha-pizza-51
    • For the pizza dough:
  • In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in 1 1/2 cup warm water. Whisk 2 cups of flour and the olive oil and cover with a damp cloth. Set aside in a warm place until doubled. About 1 hour. Stir in the remaining flour and the salt and knead for 5 minutes until the dough is smooth. It’s a good work-out! Let the dough rest for 20 minutes before rolling out or refrigerate.
  • For the pizza:
  • In a medium pan, heat 4 tablespoons of olive oil and add the sliced shallots. Season with salt and pepper and cook slowly, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes. Cool before using.
  • Drizzle the acorn squash slices with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Bake until tender at 375’F
  • Place a pizza stone inside the oven and increase heat to 450’F.
  • Roll out the dough on a floured surface, spread out the shallots, bacon, acorn squash, manchego, tallegio and slide the pizza on the pizza stone, bake until golden and crisp, about 20 minutes. Top with baby arugula and drizzle with olive oil, aged balsamic and some black pepper. Eat!
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  • Kamran Siddiqi

    Reminds me… I need to put a pizza post up on my blog already!

    Your photos are super gorgeous, as always and that pizza sounds divine!

    Oh, how I want a nice slice of that pizza right now!

    This definitely defines what “yummalicious” means!

  • stacey snacks

    Even Jim Lahey doesn’t have this wonderful combination on his menu at Co., which we have to go to soon!

  • Ciaochowlinda

    What a great combination of flavors, textures and colors.

  • Julia

    This does look seriously delicious! Especially with the tallegio and bacon. I would probably use butternut and drizzle a little truffle oil, because I’m sassy that way.

  • peachkins

    this pizza looks soo delicious!

  • Suzana

    That’s exactly my type of pizza, and I’d have some for lunch straight away! Love the combination of flavours, plus the rocket does the trick for me. :)

  • Oui, Chef

    This looks like date-night dinner for me and the wife later this week. Always looking for new uses for squash, and with some home-made pizza dough already in the freezer, this is perfect!

  • Bee

    Zen – love your mini pizza. You’re getting better and better with food photography. The color is so vivid I want a piece of your pizza! And yes, I love layers of flavors too.

  • printable coupon

    that pizza looks so delicious!!

  • Chuck

    You can sure tell it’s fall with all the squash recipes. Your pizza looks truly amazing!

  • zenchef

    Kamran — Thanks a lot buddy!

    Stacey — You reminded me i have to check out that place!

    Julia — You’re sassy in a good way. Yum!

    Suzana — Thanks a lot!

    Oui Chef! — Let me know how it goes for you.

    Bee — I can only hope to be as good as you at food photography. Someday. Someday.

  • Stephanie Quilao

    Love the creative combo of this pizza! I think arugula is awesome and should go with everything :)

  • Rose

    Nice! I love pizza. I love acorn squash. I love bacon! I MUST make this. Love the fall flavor combination.

  • veron

    What great toppings for a pizza. Bacon and manchego sealed the deal for me.

  • Brittany (He Cooks She Cooks)

    Absolutely, great layering of flavors!

  • Abby

    I love taleggio. And anything confit-ed makes my heart swoon.

  • Manggy

    I always love your pizzas (I was like, check, check, check at the ingredients list :) but I’m making it my personal mission to make your tarte flambee :)
    Uh, does very old balsamic work just as well? Ha ha ha!

  • Darina

    A wonderful take on the perfect food. Love the photos.

  • printable coupon

    your pizza looks so yummy!!

  • Its Not You, it’s Brie

    Tallegio and Manchego? Awww…. a man who knows what’s important in life. Congrats on the Frog Hollow gig! We’re a CSA drop-off point and I’ll be looking for your recipes in the newsletter and very excited to use our stash for a ZenChef inspired dish.

  • clumbsycookie

    My only problem with these cute yummy pizzas is that they’re TOO small my little zen man! I would have to eat at least 3, is that ok?

  • Jeena

    Fantastic pizza it is perfect, love the addition of acorn squash!

  • Y

    Awesome flavour layering happenin there! Hmm.. I think pizza is on the cards this weekend :)

  • emiglia

    I love a good pizza margherita as much as the next person… that’s still no reason to shy away from awesome, complex things like this! I’d love some of your non-traditional pizza any day… purists be damned!

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  • Peter

    I would love to have this pizza for lunch today…filling but on the light side…throw in some wine of course!

  • liz {zested}

    now this just looks delicious – all my favorite flavors in one tiny little pizza.

  • Jordan

    This pizza is amazing. I’ve made it about three times now. We had a party a few months ago and made it into a crostini instead. Still awesome. I’ll never look at pizza the same way again. Thank you Zen!