This gourd dip, beautifully balanced between sweet and savory and served inside a gourd, makes a charming start to dinner. To make it easier to pour out the honey, first grease your measuring cup lightly with oil.
1 large winter squash, such as kabocha, buttercup, red kuri, or sweet meat
2–3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, lightly chopped
1 large garlic clove, minced
Preheat your oven to 375°. Cut the top off the squash to turn it into a “bowl”; then scoop out the seeds and stringy flesh and discard. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and arrange the hollowed-out squash and its top on it, cut sides up. Drizzle the inside with olive oil, and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
Roast the squash until the internal flesh is very tender and can be pierced easily with a knife, but the skin is still intact, 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the size of the squash. Remove it from the oven and let it cool slightly. Gently scoop out some flesh, leaving a 1/4-inch thickness around the sides and bottom; take care not to pierce the skin. Scoop any flesh from the top; then discard the skin and stem.
Using a potato masher, coarsely mash together the squash flesh, feta cheese, honey, thyme, and garlic. Taste for salt and pepper, bearing in mind that feta is salty. Return the mixture to the squash cavity, mounding gently. Bake the stuffed squash about 10 minutes, until golden on top. Serve warm with slices of baguette or other rustic bread, or with store-bought crackers or Seed Crisps.