This pear-shaped winter squash may look odd to some, but butternut squash make numerous delicious dishes – from Italian Risotto, to breakfast pancakes and easy baby food.

It has more meat than most squash because its seeds are all at the round end, and it’s easier to give a once-over with a vegetable peeler because of its smooth surface.

To get started, choose an 8- to 12-inch-long butternut squash that is tan and unblemished.Store whole squash in a cool dry place for up to six months.

Butternut Arugula Salad

Ingredients:

• 8 Cups arugula or mixed greens
• 2 Cups bite-sized pieces of roasted butternut squash
• ½ Cup fresh pomegranate seeds (dried cranberries may also be used)
• ½ Cup toasted pecans
• ½ Cup goat cheese

Dressing Ingredients:

• 2 Tbsp. Pecan or olive oil
• 2 Tbsp. Lime juice
• 2 Tsp. Maple syrup
• 1 Tsp. Thyme
• Salt and pepper to taste

In a small bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients until emulsified. In a large serving bowl, toss arugula with just enough dressing to coat.Sprinkle with butternut squash, pomegranate seeds, pecans and goat cheese. (Serves six.)

Butternut Squash Soup

Ingredients:

• 1 medium butternut squash (2 pounds), halved lengthwise
• 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
• 2 cloves of garlic, minced
• 2 ripe pears, peeled and cored (may substitute canned pears)
• 1 jalapeno, chopped
• 2 Tbsp. Olive oil
• 2 Tbsp. Candied ginger, minced
• 1 Tsp. Chopped thyme
• 4-5 Cups chicken stock
• Salt and pepper to taste
• Greek yogurt (optional)

Place butternut squash, cut side down, on a baking dish with ½ cup water in a 400-degree oven. Roast for 30-40 minutes until fork tender. In a 4-quart stock pot, sauté onion, garlic, pears and jalapeno until soft in olive oil, about 10 minutes. Add peeled squash, candied ginger, thyme, salt and pepper, and stock. Simmer 10 minutes. Puree soup with immersion blender.Serve warm with a dollop of yogurt, if desired. Garnish with fresh thyme. (Serves six to eight.)

Butternut Squash Hash with Spicy Vinaigrette

Ingredients:

• 1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
• 1 acorn squash, peeled cubed
• 1 sweet potato, peeled and cubed
• 1 Yukon potato, cubed
• 2 purple potatoes, cubed
• 2 Tbsp. Olive oil
• ½ Tsp. Salt and pepper
• 1 onion, chopped
• 10-12 small Brussels sprouts, sliced in half
• 4 slices of bacon, chopped
• 2 cloves of garlic, minced
• 1 Tsp. Rosemary, minced

Spicy Vinaigrette Dressing Ingredients:

• 2 Tbsp. Whole-grain mustard
• 1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
• 2 Tbsp. Cider vinegar
• 2 Tbsp. Honey
• ½ Tsp. Cayenne pepper
• ¼ Cup olive oil
• ¼ Cup canola oil
• Salt and pepper to taste

Peel and cut squash and potatoes into oneinch cubes. Coat squash and potatoes with Olive oil. Roast vegetables at 425 degrees on a baking sheet for 25-30 minutes, or until brown around edges. Over medium/high heat, sauté bacon and onions until onions are caramelized, add Brussels sprouts until they begin to brown. Add garlic and rosemary.In a large serving dish, mix roasted vegetables with sautéed Brussels sprouts.Blend first five ingredients of spicy vinaigrette together and then slowly incorporate the oils. Toss veggies enough spicy vinaigrette to coat vegetables (Serves eight.)

Butternut/Gingerbread Cupcakes With Cream Cheese Icing and Candied Ginger

Ingredients:

• 1 14.5-ounce box gingerbread cake mix
• 1 Cup butternut squash, pureed
• 1 egg
• 1 Cup water
• 1 can of cream cheese frosting
• Candied ginger

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Stir ingredients together with a fork for two minutes. Pour batter into paper cupcakes liners. Bake for 25 minutes. Cool before icing with cream cheese frosting. Top with candied ginger.(Makes 20 cupcakes.)