What's For Dinner: The Flavors of Fall

Oh how I love autumn -- time to break out the sweaters, long sleeves, boots, and lots of layers. Of course, the fall season also means the arrival of fall flavors, including a variety of squashes and just-harvested apples. As a welcome dinner for the fall season, I opted to make two pizzas inspired by autumn. First up, a flatbread pizza with butternut squash, caramelized onion, goat cheese, and pine nuts. To make things a little easier on myself, I used frozen butternut squash, but I did buy a whole squash the other day, so look for a recipe featuring "real" butternut squash in the near future. I also made a dessert pizza featuring cinnamon apples. Super-easy to make and quite delicious to eat! I subbed in naan bread for the crust of each pizza since I had a package on hand, but I think any flatbread could be substituted in its place. Enjoy -- and Happy Autumn!

Flatbread Pizza with Butternut Squash, Caramelized Onion, Goat Cheese, 
and Pine Nuts
(printer-friendly version)
makes 2 servings

2 pieces plain naan (I used 365 Everyday Value Original Tandoori Naan from Whole Foods)
1 package diced organic butternut squash (I used Stahlbush Island Farms Diced Butternut Squash)
1 medium white onion, cut into 1/4" slices
1 tablespoon pine nuts
2 tablespoons goat cheese
olive oil
freshly ground pepper
fine sea salt
dried thyme
dried rosemary

1. Place a baking stone on the middle rack in the oven and preheat to 400 degrees.
2. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large sized skillet over medium heat.
3. Add the sliced onions to the skillet. Stir occasionally during the first 15 minutes of cooking. The onions will soften and become translucent.
4. During the next 10 minutes of cooking, stir the onions about every minute or so to prevent them from sticking to the skillet bottom and burning. Add more olive oil if necessary.
5. The caramelized onions are done once the onions are lightly browned; the entire cooking process should take about 25-30 minutes.
6. While the onions are caramelizing, cook the butternut squash according to the manufacturer's instructions.
7. Once the onions are caramelized, add the butternut squash to the skillet. Season with salt, pepper, and dried thyme. Gently stir the mixture.
8. Prep the two pieces of naan (or flatbread) by brushing each with olive oil. Spoon the onion and butternut squash mixture over both slices of naan. Season with dried rosemary. Add the pine nuts and goat cheese over each slice of naan. Drizzle olive oil over both pizzas.
9. Place each pizza on the baking stone and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the flatbread is lightly browned and the cheese has melted slightly.
10. Remove from the oven and let cool a few minutes before serving.

Flatbread with Cinnamon Apples (printer-friendly version)
makes 2 servings

1 slice naan or other plain flatbread
cinnamon sugar (1 tablespoon ground cinnamon in 1/4 cup raw sugar will make plenty to have on hand)
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into slices
1 tablespoon raw sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon unsalted butter, melted
turbinado sugar for garnish

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. In a medium-sized bowl, toss together the apple slices, sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg.
3. Melt one tablespoon of unsalted butter in a large skillet over medium heat.
4. Add the apple mixture to the skillet and cook the apples until softened, about 10-15 minutes. Stir occasionally.
5. Melt 1 teaspoon of butter in a small dish. Use a pastry brush to brush the melted butter over the top of the flatbread.
6. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar evenly over the flatbread.
7. Top the flatbread with the cooked apples.
8. Bake in the oven for 5 minutes.
9. Remove from the oven, let cool, and serve. (Vanilla bean ice cream would be an excellent accompaniment, as would some caramel sauce -- additions I will definitely try next time I make this!)

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