The nice thing about soups is they’re dead easy. I filled a large pot with water and set it to boil. I added a few heaping spoonfuls of Knorr Vegetable Stock (I use the powder instead of the liquid because I usually can’t use a whole carton before it goes bad and I don’t like to waste it).
I peeled and chopped a large parsnip and a small turnip (actually a rootabega but who’s checking?) and chucked them in the pot, together with a handful of pearl barley and about a cup of dried white beans. I also added about a cup’s worth of frozen spinach to the mix, as well as the leftover squash and pasta. There was already a significant amount of basil in the pesto that was on the squash (as well as the hazelnuts and parmesan cheese), so I didn’t add any other herbs to the mix. When we eat it we usually add salt and pepper to suit our individual tastes.
Once I got the soup boiling, stirring often, I turned it down to a simmer, medium low, for about two hours, until the beans were cooked and the rootabega was tender.
Cait: i think it looks so much like spaghetti that i’d be disappointed when it didn’t taste like spaghetti
me: it tastes like squash
Cait: of course it tastes like squash it’s a freaking squash
I have always been intrigued about the physical properties of spaghetti squash, although until the other day I had never tried it. We found a squash sale at Sobeys and decided to give it a whirl. I wrangled up a recipe I had been keeping for yonks out of my magic book of recipes, and I went at it.
The recipe called for 4lbs of spaghetti squash. My scale only goes up to 500g so I had to give it my best estimate. It was supposed to serve 4, so I did some mental math and came up with two squash about the size of my feet (while this may not be a standard measurement for you, it works pretty well for me).
Cut the squash in half lengthwise. The recipe said nothing to me about removing the seeds and stringy bits so I left them in and I regretted it later. I would recommend digging those suckers out with a grapefruit spoon or serrated knife.
Brush the open squash halves with olive oil, then sprinkle with brown sugar, coarse salt, and ground pepper.
Flip the squash halves face down on a rimmed baking sheet and chuck them in the oven at 400°F for 45 minutes. Cool them, in the pan and on a rack, for 10 minutes after that.
Using a table fork, dig out the contents of the squash in stringy little bits – it really is amazing how much this resembles spaghetti – and put the contents in a large bowl. Drizzle with olive oil, then add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of roasted chopped hazelnuts (fun fact: also known as filberts), 1/4 to 1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese, and 1/4 to 1/2 cup of chopped herbs (the recipe called for fresh cilantro, but I only had a tiny bit of frozen stuff, so I mixed it with some frozen pesto I had made and that was that). I can assume that you would use any herb you had on hand, really.
Toss and serve immediately.
I actually wasn’t too happy with this recipe. The first negative was, of course, the left-in seeds, which, had they been properly roasted like pumpkin seeds, would have been awesome, but because they were still pretty raw, were actually kind of nasty. I also didn’t feel that the hazelnuts added anything special to this recipe. Next time, I would go with slivered almonds or pecan bits, for a milder, sweeter taste. The pesto was excellent of course, but that’s because I have mad skills. The leftovers were better the next day, but I think I will just chuck the remainder in some sort of minestrone and be done with it. Recipe to follow, I guess.