I gave that up when I moved to Germany. Or so I thought. A couple years after settling into life in Munich, I mentioned to a friend how much I missed my CSA, and how sad it was that Germany had not yet gotten on the CSA bandwagon. My friend gave me one of those side-eyed incredulous looks, as if to say, "what the hell are you talking about? Of course Germany has the same- haven't you noticed how obsessed we all are with organic and non-GMO foods? If anything, we are ahead of Americans on this." Oh. Right. It was a reminder that as an immigrant, no matter how competent we get at navigating around a culture, sometimes we make too many assumptions that our new home is different than our old home, or that we can't get the comforts of home abroad. But we can!
Thus I was introduced to the Ökokiste. My weekly vegetable delivery now comes from a small town north of Munich that has been running an organic produce delivery service for almost 20 years. Most of produce is from farms in the south of Germany and Austria, but since it is a year-round service, in the winter months there might be a wider selection of fruit and vegetables from places like Italy and Spain. Also, sometimes they include avocados in the box, even though that's obviously not a local product. But I'll never complain about too many avocados, even if they come from as far as California or Florida.
So last week my vegetable share included two tiny spaghetti squash. It's the first time I've had spaghetti squash since I moved to Germany, and how welcome they were! And because they were so small, I got a little creative with ideas for preparation, deciding that each squash was the perfect individual serving size and could be stuffed and then transformed into a self-contained bowled of pasta-like goodness. Do you get me? Kind of like soup served in a bread bowl. But squash in a ... squash bowl.
So here's how it went. I cut off the tops of these little pumpkins, scooped out the slimy innards and seeds, and then filled the cavities with a mixture of torn-up bread, garlic, spices, cheese, chicken broth, and cream. I then baked the squash, and the cream and cheese became infused with the garlic and spices, the bread melted into the cream, and it all bubbled over becoming a savory bowl of deliciousness. To eat, I simply dug my fork into the squash, scraping the spaghetti-like flesh from the inside of the squash into the cavity and mixing it with the creamy filling. It became like a bowl of spaghetti inside it's own squash peel, and oh was it ever delicious. In fact, I'm dreaming of all kinds of sauce combinations now... I could do this with a red sauce studded with sausage and mushrooms. Or a thai-inspired peanut sauce. Or a caprese-inspired tomato/basil/mozzarella mix. The options seem endless!
My only limitation is whether I can get more spaghetti squash out here in Germany. Fingers crossed that my vegetable delivery surprises me yet again.
Creamy Gouda Garlic Stuffed Spaghetti Squash
This recipe is more of a "method" than an actual recipe, so experiment with the proportions and stuffing mixtures. The amounts of ingredients I list are a per-serving (assuming the squash are tiny and individual serving size) estimate that is needed to stuff a squash. Again, be flexible and stuff some extra cheese in there if you feel like it.
1 slice of bread - I used a walnut baguette
1 very small clove of garlic (or half a normal size clove)
1 tsp fresh or dried thyme
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp powdered chicken stock
a grind of fresh pepper
1/8 cup grated gouda cheese
approx. 1/8 - 1/4 cup cream (enough to fill the squash)
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C.
2. Tear the bread into small pieces and put in a bowl.
3. Mince the garlic, and mix with the bread, cheese, spices, and powdered chicken stock.
4. Stuff the mixture into the squash- it should be full to the top and fairly compact. Squish it down a bit if you need to.
5. Slowly pour the cream into the mixture in the cavity of the squash until it almost reaches the top.
6. Cover the squash with foil and bake for 30-45 minutes, until it feels slightly soft/tender when poked from the outside.
7. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes until the cheese on top if brown and bubbly.