Despite its humble exterior an acorn squash has the potential to be an elegant vegetable — especially when you slice it in just the right way so as to celebrate its scalloped edges and contrasting colors. Roast these pretty half-moons of squash in the oven and they become tender and full of nutty sweetness.
For an even more festive dish, I suggest pairing the acorn squash with pomegranate. In this recipe the pomegranate comes into two forms: a tangy, spicy sauce with pomegranate molasses and chile, plus a scattering of pomegranate seeds, which offer a refreshing burst of color next to the earthy squash. The recipe is both easy and fancy, so you can make it for supper tonight and for your holiday parties later this month.
Roasted Spiced Acorn Squash with Pomegranate
2 acorn squash, about 1 1/2 to 2 pounds each
1/4 cup olive oil, divided
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1 garlic clove
1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses (see Recipe Notes)
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup pomegranate arils
1/4 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Cut each squash in half lengthwise from the stem to the bottom end. Scoop out the seeds. Cut the squash crosswise into 3/4-inch-thick slices. Toss the squash with 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 teaspoon salt, black pepper, and allspice. Arrange the slices on 2 rimmed baking sheets. Roast until the squash is tender and golden, about 20 to 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, make the sauce: Using a mortar and pestle, mash the garlic with a small pinch of salt. (If you don't have a mortar and pestle, you can mince and mash the garlic with a chef's knife.) Combine the garlic in a small bowl with the pomegranate molasses and red pepper flakes. Whisk in the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
Arrange the roasted squash on a platter and drizzle the sauce on top. Garnish with pomegranate arils and parsley.
• Look for pomegranate molasses at Middle Eastern markets or make your own by reducing pomegranate juice on the stovetop. In a pinch, you can also substitute 1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar + 1/2 tablespoon honey. If you end up with too much, try using the molasses in this dessert recipe.
Would you like to pick your own pomegranates? Check out our guide to u-pick pomegranate farms here.