Autumn is here and so is the season for both decorative and edible gourds. Queen among them is the butternut squash, which, as its name suggests, lends a buttery and nutty flavor to dishes. This flesh-colored, pear-shaped squash is tough to cut into raw, but once you do, it’s vibrant orange flesh can be boiled or roasted, and the cubed or pureed, for any number of butternut squash recipes.

Mild-flavored butternut squash is the quintessential fruit of the fall. Its slightly sweet taste makes it suitable for both savory dishes and desserts. Its creamy texture works in soups, pies, and purees, while its firmness when roasted makes it a great salad ingredient or substitute for root vegetables. When Samuel Butler remarked: “Autumn is the mellower season, and what we lose in flowers we more than gain in fruits,” he might have well been thinking of this gem. In both its nature and its ability to showcase autumn flavors like nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, allspice and ginger, cooking butternut squash is the essence of fall cuisine. So celebrate the season with one of these delicious butternut squash recipes.

1. Squash Gratin
A cousin to the potato, butternut and kabocha squash are the base of this classically conceived recipe, in which slices of butternut squash are topped with an herbed, cheesy crumb topping and baked to perfection.

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2. Whipped Butternut Squash
If you’ve had enough of sweet potato mash, this dish is an even more subtle interpretation of mashed potatoes than you’ll ever get with yams. Because butternut squash has a higher water content than root vegetables and tubers, it whips up lightly and is perfectly complimented by butter and seasonings.