Unless you are planning on serving roasted pumpkin or squash where you really need the whole vegetable, the best way to use it in a recipe is by using canned pumpkin. This isn't necessarily to say that you will never get good results by using fresh for a cake or a pie, but there is a reason that chefs and cookbook authors tend to stick to canned. It is reliable in its flavor, consistency and texture, unlike fresh squash, which can be stringy, too wet or too dry.
The time needed to prepare fresh pumpkin is also substantial, since it must be cut, peeled and cooked before using, while canned is ready in seconds. To a really determined cook, the time needed for preparation would not be an issue if the flavor were so much better that it was worth the effort, but it is often the case that the canned pumpkin will have a stronger, better flavor. For some recipes that use canned pumpkin, try: