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A dozen delicious ways to fall for winter squash

12 Recipes
Acorn squash cut into pieces with a filling inside
(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

12 enticing winter squash recipes

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The great thing about winter squash — you know, those colorful, often oddly shaped, sometimes ginormous, sometimes small orbs with varying-shades-of-orange flesh that appear almost everywhere you look come fall — is that there are limitless ways to cook it. Even better, while there are many types of winter squash, in culinary applications they are all pretty much interchangeable, so you needn’t fret if you can’t find a sweet dumpling or blue Hubbard or red kuri squash — or even sugar pumpkins (which have a particularly short season). Whatever type of dish you want to make — appetizer, soup, main course, side or dessert — you can do it with winter squash.

There is the always-welcome pumpkin soupsavory, creamy, spiced with nutmeg and topped with crunchy pepitas. You can make it into gnocchi — not the typical little, ridged clumps of dough, but biscuit-like Roman-style rounds. You can poach it in a brothy chicken hot pot. You can stuff it with masa and seared pork and then smother it with guajillo chile sauce. You can make it into a savory pie with leeks and mint or into a sweet dessert pie with a press-in graham cracker crust (really easy to do). You can stew it. Mash it. Caramelize it. Stir it into risotto. Bake it, roast it and, well, you get the point.

Squash gnocchi with sage butter

Almost like squash polenta, these rounds of pureed squash are stacked and then baked with brown butter, sage and cheesy breadcrumbs.
Time 2 hours
Yields Serves 4 to 6

Roasted kabocha squash with brown butter

The nutty flavor and butterscotch aroma of butter cooked until it becomes hazelnut brown is fabulous spooned over earthy kabocha squash.
Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Yields Serves 4

Pumpkin soup with toasted pumpkin seed pesto

Austrian chef Bernhard Mairinger’s pumpkin soup is garnished with pumpkin seed pesto, roasted pumpkin seeds and an iridescent pumpkin seed oil.
Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Yields Serves 6 to 10

Black pearl and arborio risotto with roasted butternut squash

This no-fuss combination of roasted squash with black rice is pretty stunning to look at, as well as to eat.
Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Yields Serves 4 to 6

Double-baked squash with crunchy onion topping

Pureed winter squash enriched with sour cream, egg and a little Parmesan cheese gets a nice crunch from a bread crumb topping.
Time 1 hour
Yields Serves 6

Acorn squash tamales

The essence of any tamale is to steam cornmeal masa inside a flavorful, fragrant wrapper. So why not use a steamed and hollowed-out whole acorn squash as the container?
Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Yields Makes 2 tamales, serves 6

Spiced winter squash

The squash in this fragrant, vegetarian, curry-like stew is braised in coconut milk scented with Indonesian aromatics and cracked whole nutmegs.
Time 1 hour
Yields Serves 4

Kabocha squash and chicken hot pot

This one-pot soup combines chicken with noodles and winter squash.
Time 45 minutes
Yields Serves 4

Caramelized winter squash

If you've never tried sauteing winter squash, you should. It cooks in a flash.
Time 40 minutes
Yields Serves 4 to 6

Maury Rubin's pumpkin pie

This pumpkin pie has a thick graham cracker crust that you just press into the pan and fill with the creamy pumpkin custard.
Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Yields Serves 12

Squash baked with sage and chile butter

Winter squashes are sliced, their gorgeous skins left on and roasted with butter until the edges are brown and crisp, spiced with a little ancho chile pepper and ground cumin.
Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Yields Serves 8

Greek winter squash and leek pie

This Greek pumpkin torte is redolent with mint and leeks, set between layers of crisp filo dough.
Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Yields Serves 8