Spaghetti squash… a sunny winter vegetable. It grows on a vine like pumpkin and has yellow, star-shaped blossoms that only open for one day. Quite easy to cook – cut in half, spoon out the seeds, sprinkle over olive oil and salt (smoked salt adds extra flavour) and half an hour in the oven. Once tender, gently fork the strands from the sides to create spaghetti in its own bowl. I mixed in butter and Parmigiano but basil pesto, ragù, anything that goes with spaghetti or noodles would suit.
I never encountered spaghetti squash when growing up. I wonder what Nanna Francesca would’ve thought of it. When I was a child in the 1970s, at home we mostly had fettucine not spaghetti. Going to Australian friends’ houses I envied how they had spaghetti and in an ‘exotic’ way added bolognaise sauce on top – sometimes made with table tomato sauce, the type usually put on a hamburger! I felt so self-conscious that at my house we had fettucine with my grandparents’ homemade passata mixed all through and twirled it onto a fork. I’d get tied up in knots about doing anything ‘different’ and not fitting in.
Now I think it’s wonderful that Australia having migrants from more than two hundred countries also means people cooking and sharing more than two hundred traditional cuisines and that’s as well as our First Australians’ rich culture of food and cooking. There’s even more if you take in regional dishes within cultures. It’s said that different groups often come to be accepted when their food becomes known, enjoyed and sought after. To think, once spaghetti was so strange and foreign to some and now it’s such a beloved dish in all its forms. Hopefully there are now kids with Italian ancestry happily twirling their spaghetti in front of their friends and even teaching them to do so too. Maybe even with spaghetti squash! Zoë x 💛🍝