Ben at Papa's Pumpkin Patch last year
It's an annual pilgrimage for families in the area, and one doesn't know if they come for the pumpkins, the photo ops, or the very fact that they can let their kids burn off some energy. I personally go for all the above, and one cannot leave Papa's before stopping at the barn for a pumpkin cookie and a cup of hot cider. At least I can't.
I also like to go to this magical place because it offers a ton of squash varieties. Buttercup, butternut, spaghetti, Hubbard, acorn, delicata, carnival, kabocha, turban, the ugly "lunch lady" squash, decorative gourds, and of course jack-o-lantern pumpkins, sugar pie pumpkins, and ghostly white pumpkins. I came home with a spaghetti squash among my treasures.
I think there's this idea still circulating, tracing back to our homesteading ancestors and the days without refrigerators, that you have to eat your food the same day you cook it, piping burn-your-mouth hot. Since I like to roast squash (I think it tastes best that way) and my child isn't very patient when hungry, I cook in advance and happily use modern icebox technology to store until needed. When I'm baking in the fall, I'll often split a squash in half, scoop out the seeds, and throw it cut side down on a pan and let it roast for an hour or until very soft while whatever else I'm cooking is in the oven. The squash, peeled and cooled, will keep in the fridge for a few days until I need it for dinner. Voila!
Everyone's favorite way to eat spaghetti squash is, well, like spaghetti. Here's my quick work night spaghetti sauce that I used to top my roasted spaghetti squash - it changes constantly based on whatever veggies I have on hand, and I have no shame in admitting that I'll use the occasional jar of supermarket marinara, but I always kick it up with other fresh ingredients. The addition of Italian venison sausage is a must in our house, and I put red wine in it, pretending that I'm doing it for the practical reason of getting the last bits of sauce out of the jar - but actually, I just like red wine.
Work Night Spaghetti Sauce
1 jar decent spaghetti sauce (I look at the label and try to avoid high-fructose corn syrup in my spag sauce - a sign of cheap food production in my book)
3/4 lb. Italian venison sausage
Cheap dry red wine (that's how I roll)
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 bunch of kale, stemmed and chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
Saute onion in olive oil over medium heat until soft; add Italian sausage and garlic, cooking until sausage is cooked through. Add rest of vegetables, then the spaghetti sauce. Add a shot of red wine to the empty spaghetti sauce jar and shake, getting the rest of the spaghetti sauce out of the jar and pour into the pot to let the wine add extra flavor. Simmer and serve over spaghetti squash.