By Dianne Bunis

Winter squash, grown in a variety of colors, shapes and sizes, is fun to look at and delicious to eat! They're packed with antioxidants and vitamins, plus they have no fat. Unless you add tons of butter, it's a healthy, low-fat side dish added to a meal. I prefer to drizzle mine with extra-virgin olive oil (imported from Italy) to keep it extra-healthy.

This easy recipe can be used for any variety of squash with the skin left on and served in its shell, such as acorn, sweet dumpling, delicata, amber cup, autumn cup, butternut cup, carnival or gold nugget.

Roasted squash,

Serves 2

1 medium squash

1 tsp olive oil

1 tsp maple syrup

fresh rosemary, optional

Sea salt and fresh pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Wash the exterior of the squash, remove the stem and then cut it in half, scoop out seeds and fibers (I like to use a grapefruit spoon). Pierce the cavity with a fork several times. Turn squash cut side down and place in a baking dish filled with 1" of water, bake for approximately 30 minutes or until tender. Remove squash from the oven and turn cut side up, drizzle with olive oil. Fill each cavity with 1/2 tsp maple syrup, a sprig of rosemary and bake for an additional 20 minutes. Remove rosemary before serving, add salt and pepper to taste.

Try one of these additions for a tasty change: sprinkle Parmesan or Asiago cheese, cinnamon or nutmeg, grated ginger and honey.

Note: Perforate the squash and then place in the microwave for three minutes to soften and make it easier to cut.