With so many beautiful and unusual squashes available now, I can't seem to come home without at least one knobby, colorful, speckled new squash in my bag. Happily, stuffed squash is a dish that will work for just about any winter squash I happen to pick up. You don't really need a recipe — just a few basic steps and dinner practically makes itself.

Stuffed squash is the perfect autumn weekend meal. I love working on the filling and then lazing on the couch while everything roasts. The house gradually fills with savory aromas until I can hardly wait another second to dive in.

Eating stuffed squash is an entirely personal experience. My husband likes to work from the outside in, taking a little bit of squash and a little bit of filling in each bite. I'm a masher — I scrape all the squash from the sides and mix it thoroughly into the filling before finally digging in. You can take either approach, or invent your own special style.

One squash the size of a grapefruit or a little larger is usually enough for two people. All my instructions below are written with this in mind, but it's easy enough to multiply everything to feed more people. In fact, stuffed squash is an easy and elegant dish to serve at a dinner party, particularly since it can be easily adapted to for both vegetarians and non-vegetarians.

I've tried making stuffed squash with just about every squash out there, and I truly love them all. Acorn squashes are an old and dependable favorite, but red kuri squashes, sweet dumpling squashes and even spaghetti squashes are worth a try. The initial roasting time for the unstuffed squash may vary depending on the variety, but it rarely takes more than an hour.

For the squashes in the recipe below, I used a mix of barley, sausage, mushrooms, onions and mozzarella seasoned with thyme and a pinch of cinnamon for the filling. Fall flavors at their best. I often use whatever bits of leftovers are in the fridge, mixing that last scoop of quinoa, a bit of roasted chicken, some grilled vegetables … whatever needs using. About two to three cups of combined ingredients will do the job just fine.