What’s up, butternut?

Fall marks return of this sweet winter squash

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The natural sweetness of butternut squash makes it a wonderfully versatile ingredient. This spiced and baked dish, for example, can be served as a sweet side alongside a roast and the traditional fixings or topped with ice cream for a delicious (and ever so slightly virtuous) dessert. Feel free to substitute any nuts you prefer, or leave them out entirely.

Squash Crumble

Recipe Yield: Start to finish: 1 hour (15 minutes active); Servings: 8.

For the filling:

3 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon cornstarch

Pinch salt

½ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon nutmeg

1 butternut squash (about 2 pounds), peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch chunks

3 baking apples (such as Granny Smith), peeled, cored and cut into small chunks

For the topping:

1 cup all-purpose flour

½ cup granulated sugar

½ teaspoon cinnamon

Pinch salt

5 tablespoons butter, cold

½ cup pecans

Heat the oven to 350 F. Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

To make the filling, in a small bowl mix together the brown sugar, cornstarch, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the squash and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, or until just tender. Drain thoroughly. In a large bowl, mix the squash and apples. Add the brown sugar mixture, toss well, then transfer everything to the prepared baking dish.

To make the topping, in a food processor combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt. Add the butter and pulse just until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the pecans and pulse to chop and combine. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the apples and squash. Bake for 45 minutes, or until the squash and apples are tender.

Per serving: 310 calories; 120 calories from fat (35 percent of total calories); 13 g fat (5 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 20 mg cholesterol; 51 g carbohydrate; 4 g protein; 5 g fiber; 70 mg sodium.