My guys have been exhibiting unnecessary concerns about squashes and pumpkins lately. A couple of weeks ago, it was the spaghetti squash that got them going. I was so happy to see that bright yellow beauty in the CSA crate, nestled in with all kinds of terrific partner foods. I explained exactly how I would prepare it–roast it until golden and yummy on the inside, scoop out the flesh, combine it with a mixture of sauteed red peppers, mushrooms, onions, and herbs (and also some cheese), then bake it until all the flavors came together in an autumnal explosion. What’s not to like here? Despite my eager description, I was met with seriously doubtful expressions from the boy and the husband. I carried on with my plan, producing a gorgeous, aromatic, texturally rich and warmly satisfying vegetarian wonder. The husband arrived home from a long day-trip to DC and promptly ate a large plate. “This is really good,” he said. He was clearly surprised.
Yesterday, I announced early in the morning that I’d be spending the afternoon cooking. We had a sugar pumpkin, we had spinach, and we had late-season zucchini just begging to be baked into bread (and if you haven’t found this cookbook, you owe it to yourself to get it now. This is one of the great farms of New England). We had a relaxing afternoon. The guys did guy things, and I cooked things. I cut up the pumpkin into small chunks, sauteed it with some onions, garlic, and chicken-apple sausage, and let it simmer in a broth of white wine and chicken stock with fresh sage and ground pepper. When the pumpkin was cooked through, I added a pound of spinach and let the greens steam into the stew. Then I tossed everything with a bowl of hot pasta and topped it with shredded asiago. This, my friends, was a winner. Everyone went back for seconds. Halfway through the meal, the husband looked at me with mock horror.
“Is this the pumpkin that was here on the table all week?” he asked.
“Yes–it was a sugar pumpkin. It’s good, isn’t it?” I replied.
“You killed the pumpkin?”
“I didn’t kill the pumpkin. It’s a vegetable. We eat them all the time.”
“I can’t believe we’re EATING the pumpkin!”
There is still a cornucopia of cucurbita to be consumed. I still have another spaghetti squash, a butternut squash, an acorn squash, and a delicata out in the kitchen. We may be in for a long autumn of squash-related issues.