With their abundance of beta-carotene and vitamin C, orange veggies rival highly touted green vegetables for healthfulness and have always been a smart, nutrient-packed choice for a well-balanced diet. They possess a natural sweetness that appeals to even the pickiest eaters. Autumn-inspired dishes from Brigitte Nguyen, host of The Kentucky Proud Kitchen and From the Kitchen Of…, spotlight such tasty orange stars as butternut squash, sweet potatoes, carrots and acorn squash.
Butternut Bacon Crostata
1⁄2 small butternut squash, peeled and sliced into thin chunks (about 21⁄2 cups)
1 teaspoon olive oil
Kosher salt and pepper
6 ounces bacon, cut into 1⁄4-inch pieces
1 onion, thinly sliced
1⁄4 cup water
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 refrigerated piecrust
4 ounces cranberry white cheddar cheese, grated (about 1 cup)
1 cup baby arugula
1 ounce goat cheese, crumbled
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss the butternut squash with the olive oil, salt and pepper on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 14-16 minutes until squash is tender. Remove and set aside.
2. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon until crispy and browned. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the onion to the bacon grease (there should be about a tablespoon) and cook until soft, translucent and beginning to caramelize, about 6-8 minutes.
3. Add 1⁄4 cup of water plus the balsamic vinegar to the onions to help pull up the fond at the bottom of the pan and continue to cook until the liquid evaporates and the onions are nicely caramelized. Allow to cool.
4. To assemble, unroll the piecrust onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Spread the balsamic onions onto the crust, leaving a 1-inch border around the circumference. Sprinkle with half of the cranberry white cheddar cheese. Layer the butternut squash shingles over the cheese, and then top with the bacon. Finish with the remaining cheddar cheese and fold the edges of the piecrust over, pleating to surround the filling.
5. Bake for 15-17 minutes, until crust is golden brown and cheese has melted. To serve, sprinkle with baby arugula and the goat cheese crumbles.