2 Acorn squash
1 Tbsp. Patricia and Paul Butter flavored Olive Oil
1/4 Tsp. Kosher Salt
20 Grinds of fresh black pepper
1/4 Tsp. Cinnamon
1/2 Cup Feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 Cup Patricia and Paul Pear & Cinnamon Balsamic Vinegar
Pinch of Cayenne pepper
2 Tbsp. Pepitas
1/4 Cup Pomegranate Arils
Flaky salt to finish (Maldon is a favorite)
1) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2) Cut the acorn squash in half and remove the seeds. Cut each into 1/2 inch slices. In a large bowl, toss the acorn squash with the butter flavored olive oil, kosher salt, cinnamon and pepper. Place cut side down on the parchments paper and bake for 25 minutes.
3) Place the balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan and add a pinch of cayenne pepper. Bring to a boil and lower heat until it becomes thicker and syrupy. That will take about 3-5 minutes. Watch it carefully. Remove from the heat.
4) When the acorn is finished cooking (it will easily be pierced with the tip of a knife), place on a platter and sprinkle with the feta and pepitas. Drizzle with the spiced balsamic glaze. Finish by sprinkling over pomegranate seeds and a large pinch of flaky salt.
NOTES: This is one tasty side dish and absolutely perfect for the holidays. It is easy to make but just special enough to get a couple of WOWS from your guests. I have a couple of tips to make this dish a breeze to make.
1) Acorn squash, like all squash, can be hard to cut into. I like to pop mine into the microwave for about 2 minutes to soften the squash. This makes it much easier to cut. Just cut a couple of slits into the squash to let steam escape.
Remember, the skin on acorn squash is completely edible. So be sure you wash the acorn before cooking.
2) Depending on how much heat you like, feel free to increase the amount of cayenne pepper you use in the glaze.
3) I love pepitas (pumpkin seeds) but other nuts and seeds would work on this dish too. Try sunflower seeds, chopped walnuts and pine nuts too.
4) When cooking your balsamic vinegar on the stove, watch it closely. It can thick very quickly. You want the consistency to be a thick but pourable glaze.
Like this vegetable dish? Try some of my other upgraded sides like my Roasted Rosemary & Pomegranate Pears & Onions or my Crispy Parmesan Potatoes with Pomegranate Yogurt Dip. Be sure to try the Vadouvan Roasted Veggies too. All of these dishes are just different enough to be special.
Since the butter flavored olive oil and the cinnamon & pear flavored balsamic vinegar are the stars of the show, be sure to pick up a bottle of each. You can buy them in my shop. Buy $100 or more and Patricia and Paul includes free shipping.