One evening the summer after I was first married, I wanted to make an interesting side dish for dinner. Though I had never made it before, I thought spaghetti squash would be impressive. I made a big deal about the special dinner I was making and had visions of my husband thinking me a culinary goddess after tasting my delectable squash recipe. After baking it for a half an hour I was really frustrated that it wasn’t taking on the spaghetti-like consistency. When I tasted it I was incredibly embarrassed to discover that instead of buying a squash, I actually bought and baked a melon!
Being a cooking novice at the time, I was quite foolish to think I could buy a spaghetti squash in mid-July. Squash is a vegetable that is in season from fall until early spring, and the rich Butternut, Acorn and Spaghetti squashes are collectively known as ‘winter squash.’
Winter squashes are most commonly baked, but there are a number of ways to prepare them. According to the well-beloved Joy of Cooking
Squash is bland in flavor, [so] it benefits from imaginative treatment. It may be cut lengthwise into ‘boats’ and scooped out, or cooked and the centers filled with succulent cargo.
This dark green or orange squash is delicious when baked with butter and brown sugar and is a nice alternative to sweet potatoes.
Spaghetti squash derives its name from the spaghetti-like consistency of the pulp and can actually be used as an alternative to pasta. This is how I will be making our spaghetti squash later this week, but I think I will substitute the onions and fresh tomatoes for artichoke hearts and sun-dried tomatoes.
Butternut squash is definitely a favorite in our house. We love to bake it in pasta, mix it into a savory salad with chickpeas, or, our favorite, make it into a thick, veggie-filled, soup.
Here is our favorite recipe:
MW’s Butternut Squash Soup
– 3 leeks (chopped)
– 4 med. carrots (chopped)
– 5 Tbsp butter
– 3 lbs. butternut squash (peeled and cubed)
– 6 cups chicken broth
– 3 medium zucchini
– 2 tsp salt
– 1/2 tsp dried thyme
– 1/4 tsp pepper
– 1 cup half-and-half
– 1/2 cup milk
– Grated Parmesan
– Chopped chives
Cook the onion and carrots in the butter until tender (about 5 minutes). Add squash, zucchini, broth, salt, thyme, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes. Transfer soup to a blender and blend. Transfer back into pot and add half and half and milk. Heat over medium for about 5 minutes. Garnish with Parmesan and chopped chives.