Once we start seeing a rainbow of squash at the farmers' market, it's a signal that autumn has finally arrived.
And when we have a few home, we're big fans of simply roasting them to bring out their naturally nutty flavor, then topping the halves or slices with unfussy combinations like poached eggs and kale or Indian spices and peanuts.
We paired five of our favorite varieties with five topping combinations. Each preparation is as simple and beautiful as it is delicious. We've done the (ridiculously easy) legwork for you, so here's how to get started:
Step One: Pick your squash. Choose from varieties like butternut, acorn and delicata. We like 'em all.
Step Two: Roast. Slice in half crosswise, remove the seeds, and season the cavity generously with salt and olive oil. Roast in halves or thick slices at 375 degrees until a paring knife runs easily through. (Timing will depend on the size and shape.)
Step Three: Top. Use our pairings below as a guide, but feel free to mix and match.
Variety: eight ball (l.)
Topping: fresh sliced Fresno chiles + crumbled chèvre + arugula + lemon vinaigrette
Variety: acorn (r.)
Topping: kale quickly sautéed with garlic and chile + poached egg + black pepper + Pecorino
Variety: delicata (l.)
Topping: roasted peanuts + chaat masala + fresh cilantro leaves + a squeeze of fresh lime
Variety: spaghetti (r.)
Topping: apple matchsticks + chopped pistachios + lemon vinaigrette
Variety: butternut (pictured at top)
Topping: candied bacon and pecans + fennel fronds