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Food - vegetable spaghetti

A house move leads to a wide variety of moving-in presents, including, strangely, a veggie box, full of odd-looking organic vegetables. There’s a knobbly cucumber, muddy carrots with their tops still on, sword-sized green beans, yellow mini-courgettes, several potatoes, a floppy lettuce and a bizarre yellow squash with a label on it. The label reads: ‘vegetable spaghetti. Cut in half, scoop out the seeds and bake in the oven for 45 minutes. Serve with a pasta sauce’. Intriguing? You bet.

It takes me an hour and a half to cook a ragu sauce the way I like it. Onions slow fried with salt and pepper and a dash of crushed chillies; sausage meat from the Riverside chopped and mixed in; a couple of cloves of garlic through the crusher, then half a tin of tomatoes. And simmer. And simmer, and simmer. I chop the squash, lopping off the top and bottom, scoop out the seeds, and put it in the oven. Open a bottle of red wine and wait.

Forty-five minutes later, it’s all ready. The squash halves fit neatly onto a plate, the ragu fills the hole where the seeds were. Cheddar sprinkled on the top, because we don’t have parmesan. Then comes the surprise. When you spear the inside of the plant, your fork well doused in ragu sauce, the flesh comes off in little strings, like spaghetti. You can twirl your fork round to get more strings. It tastes lightly sweet, and fresh. It really compliments the sauce. It’s amazing. It’s delicious. It’s Atkins approved. It takes AGES to eat. I’m hooked. And, I’m later told, you can buy them in the supermarket, too. AG

Vegetable spaghetti: just add ragu sauce