There are two things that people in the D.C. area know about local wine: 1. Going to vineyards for wine tastings is always fun; 2. The wine is without fail terrible. That said, that known, I fully endorse heading out to the Sugarloaf Mountain Vineyard Grape Stomp in Comus, MD. Next year, that is, since the event happened the past two weekends. You can tour the vineyards, enjoy the live music, the barbecue, and the aforementioned bad wine.
On your way, you will also pass a farm stand that offers all varieties of gourd. This year I bought a beautiful spaghetti squash. One of the most surprising foods, this squash doesn’t turn to mush after baking in the oven, rather it separates into skinny strands much like al dente pasta. So, I have my spaghetti, now what about the sauce?
I didn’t want to do a tomato sauce, because I wanted to highlight the sweetness of the squash. I found a recipe for a ground veal, capers, and white wine sauce, which inspired me to make a ground sage pork, artichokes, and beer sauce. Does that count as using a recipe?
For the squash, cut it in half lengthwise, and place the halves cut side down in a baking dish with water coming up halfway. Cover the dish with foil and put it in the oven at 375 degrees. After an hour, flip the halves to cook, covered, for another 15 minutes. Once done, set aside until just cool enough to handle. Scoop out the seeds and then with a fork scrape the flesh of the squash. It will separate easily into strands. Plate and sauce.
And, oh, that sauce. Saute some onion and garlic and then add the ground pork. Once it is cooked through and the moisture has cooked off, add a cup of beer. Let that simmer for a bit and then add a cup of chicken stock, a can of chopped artichoke hearts, chopped rosemary, red pepper flakes, and ground pepper. I found this sauce did not need extra salt. Cook for a bit and then serve on the “pasta.” Pretty simple.