As we approach October, it's not too early to start thinking about holiday menus. But there's actually no need to wait for the holidays to enjoy this recipe, as beautiful winter squashes are already appearing at grocery stores and farmers' markets. The earthiness of this dish is brought together by the roasted, salted pumpkin seeds, while the honey and cayenne give it a touch of spicy sweetness. Serve it as a side to your favorite protein, or enjoy it as a filling entree with a side salad for those meatless Mondays. Either way, accentuate your roasted winter squash with a glass of 2014 Beacon California Chardonnay and a cozy living room fire for maximum enjoyment.

Ingredients: serves 6-8

  • 2 winter squashes (butternut, acorn or kabocha)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • Fresh thyme
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup roasted and salted pumpkin seeds
Preheat oven to 400° F.

Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds. (The seeds can be saved and roasted; see this recipe for pumpkin seeds using 3 different spices.)

In a small saucepan, melt together the honey, butter and 1/2 teaspoon of the cayenne pepper. Lightly brush the mixture all over each of the slices, reserving any leftover honey butter. Dust the squash evenly with the remaining cayenne pepper.

Sprinkle with the fresh thyme and ground pepper.

Roast in the oven for 45-50 minutes. When the squash is tender, remove from the oven and drizzle with the leftover honey butter.

Slice the squash into individual pieces, and place on a serving dish. Sprinkle with the pumpkin seeds and additional fresh thyme sprigs.