Indulgent Recipes for an Intimate Holiday Feast

The festive menu includes acorn squash agrodolce, beef tenderloin, white chocolate panna cotta and an espresso martini.

Acorn Squash Agrodolce


Photography by Angel Tucker; styling by Nik Delfino of Easy Entertaining; place settings from Party Rental Ltd.

2 acorn squash
2 Tbsp olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground
black pepper
½ cup red wine vinegar
¼ cup dried craisins
¼ cup honey
Pinch crushed red pepper
¼ cup chopped fresh mint and
lemon verbena
2 Tbsp toasted pepitas

Preheat oven to 400 F. Grease a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Cut the acorn squash in half; scoop out the seeds and discard. Slice the squash into 1-inch slices. Toss with the oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on the prepared baking sheet and roast until tender and golden brown, about 30 minutes. Remove the peel and dice the squash.
In the meantime, make the agrodolce. In a small saucepan, combine the red wine vinegar, craisins and honey. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low. Cook until reduced and syrupy, about 15 minutes.
Stir in crushed red pepper. In a large bowl, toss the squash with the agrodolce sauce, mint, lemon verbena and pepitas.
Serve hot or at room temperature.

Entertaining tips:
Splurge on rental china and linens from Party Rental Ltd. for that perfect holiday look. “When I entertain eight-plus people, I get rentals, just to make it easier on myself,”  says Roberts. “You feel like you are at a restaurant, but you are in your own home. The place settings arrive clean and go back dirty. I wish my laundry did that.”
Create a beautiful holiday tablescape to make the event more special. “I think about the items on the table the way I think of the edibles on the table. For food, I want a variety of color, textures and flavors,” Roberts says. “The same thing with the tablescape, so mix different textures, linens, metals and plates. Feel free to include old family pieces. I have certain china sets that are passed down and I might mix and match them to create a more cohesive look.”