Like children, each of the three varieties of winter squash we grew last season had a personality of their own. The happy-go-lucky delicata merrily went along, tucking itself in where it could, and producing at will. The domineering tromboncino was more unruly in demeanor, taking up as much space as it wanted and willfully climbing over the adjoining bed, then clambering onto the neighboring fence. As for the spaghetti squash, it proved recalcitrant and in need of two years of coaxing to appear. When it finally did, its single lone fruit turned out to be a beaut.
We closely monitor our storage winter squash for ripeness and decay, and by February, when most of them are ready, we’re eating them in earnest. With the spaghetti squash, though, we didn’t know what to expect. Was it ripe, and how long would it store? Looking back, we’d forgotten how green it was in late October. It’s since colored up to the requisite golden yellow and, once it was opened up, it’s keeping qualities became evident. Its flesh was unblemished and the cavity still looking fresh. Next time, we’ll know it can keep even longer.
While spaghetti squash may be cooked whole, it’s worth the effort of splitting it open to roast it in halves, and cooking it cut-side up results in firmer and more distinct strands. Once the stringy flesh is all scooped out and fluffed up, it can be eaten as is or, as we did this wintry evening, adorned with a quick sauté of garlicky kale.
Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Kale
1 spaghetti squash
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 bunches kale, stalks removed and torn into bite-sized pieces
1 red onion, cut in half lengthwise, then sliced thinly into half-moons
1 to 2 cloves garlic, minced
Pinch of red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
– Heat oven to 375°F. Cut the squash in half lengthwise, and scoop out the pulp and seeds. Place the squash on a baking pan, cut side up. Rub some olive oil over the cut surface, then place in the oven and roast for 45 to 60 minutes, or until a fork punctures the flesh of the squash easily. If the squash seems to be drying out while while baking, brush on some additional olive oil. Remove from the oven and, when cool enough to handle, scrape the flesh out with a fork. Place in a bowl to set aside.
– Heat a slurp of olive oil in a large frying pan, and sauté the red onions until translucent. Add the minced garlic and a pinch of red pepper flakes, and continue cooking for another moment, until the garlic is fragrant. Add the kale, and partly cook until just wilted, about 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat, dress with a splash of cider vinegar, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss with the cooked spaghetti squash and toasted pine nuts, and serve.
Adapted from The Pioneer Woman.