Spaghetti squash is an odd sort of vegetable. This sturdy, almost-impossible-to-cut-open yellow squash cooks up to reveal stringy insides that can substitute directly for pasta. It just isn’t at all what you expect when you hold one in your hand.
I bought a spaghetti squash at the grocery store a year or two ago and cooked it up for dinner (as I recall, we had a vegetable pasta sauce thing to go over top of it, and we ate it as though it were actual spaghetti). Everyone liked it, and I saved the seeds and planted them in the garden.
This year, we got quite a few squash from the plants that grew from the saved seeds – and this is not a small thing, given how generally awful our garden season was this summer. The squash are now piled in a cool spot in the house, and I peek in on them every so often to make sure none have gone soft or started to mould. So far, all is well in the squash pile. :)
Today I had a craving for a nice warm soup for supper, and so I took 2 of the larger squash, cut them in half (with a really big knife and some pounding), then set them cut side down in a lasagne pan filled with about an inch of water and baked them until they were soft. (After I started, I read that you can also stab them with a fork, cook them whole, and then slice them after they’ve cooked to a softer state … hadn’t thought of that!)
Madhur Jaffrey’s World Vegetarian cookbook has an excellent recipe for pumpkin soup which basically involves sautéing an onion in oil with some ginger, then adding the cooked squash and a chopped potato or two, topping the pot up with vegetable broth and simmering with pepper and a couple of bay leaves until it’s all cooked. Once the potatoes are soft, the soup is run through the blender, then reheated with a bit of milk. The recipe says you can substitute any yellow-fleshed squash for the original pumpkin, and spaghetti squash worked out just fine.
The resulting soup is delicious – very gentle, not overwhelmingly spiced (although there is another variation with curry which I may try on a cold winter day), and nicely comforting with a loaf of home made bread.
I made sure to set the seeds aside to dry out for next year’s garden: any vegetable that keeps this well and cooks up into a meal perfectly suited to chilly winter days is definitely on my to-grow list!