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Spaghetti Soup? That doesn't sound right.

But it is! Only it is spaghetti squash soup. Last week, I was so excited to cook my spaghetti squash. The last time I had one, it did not go so well, exploding in my oven and creating a giant mess to clean up. I was so ready to redeem myself this time, and technically I did because the squash did not explode again. Unfortunately though, I over-roasted it. Instead of delicate strands to twirl, I literally had 'squash.' It was sad and mushy, and it did not look very appealing. Disappointed in myself for cooking it wrong for a second time and really set on my initial plan, I was initially very frustrated. However, I tasted it to see if it would give me any inspiration; instantly, I knew I had to turn it into a soup.

Not only was it slightly creamy due to being cooked so long, but the spaghetti squash emitted this nutty aroma that was perfectly complemented by an earthy taste typical of butternut squash, only sweeter and more caramelized. On its own, it was just so warming and comforting, the only problem was the texture. And while I could have made a mash or a purée, the taste was too good by itself to hide under something else - it would require almost no additional ingredients to complete, for the hard work of bringing out its naturally beautiful flavor was already done!

I took my spaghetti squash and put it in a pot along with some leeks, garlic, water to cover, and salt, brought it to a simmer, and let it cook gently for about an hour to infuse the water with the depth of the squash instead of mellowing it out. Then, I blended it with an immersion blender, and that was it! At first, I ate it plain, no garnishes whatsoever. For a late dinner on an almost brisk autumn night, this silky soup hit the spot perfectly. I probably finished it in under 10 spoonfuls, not even pausing to take a breath because I did not want to stop eating.

Since we literally had a spaghetti squash's worth of soup, there was a good amount left over, so the next time I had the soup, I was interested in trying out some garnishes. I wanted to actually savor the soup this time around, and for me, adding in some pops of texture and flavor for intrigue would do the trick. With a little crème fraîche for some added creaminess and tang, dried cranberries for tartness and a little bite, toasted pecans for crunch, chives to bring out the garlic a little more, and Meyer lemon juice and zest for an elegant finish, this soup became one for the books.

I fell in love with this soup more and more with every bite. This more complex version was even better than the first - the squash did not get lost among the additional ingredients and actually allowed them to shine too due to its subtle depth! But the Meyer lemon really did it for me - not having had one for almost a year, it was such a treat to incorporate its one-of-a-kind, fragrant, floral essence to round out and brighten up the soup. Additionally, since you cannot see lemon juice, you often forget it is included, which makes for the loveliest of gratifying surprises with every taste.

I have said it before - many people are so loyal to butternut squash soup. It is familiar, butternut squash are easily accessible, and its orange color is an ideal representation of fall...don't let yourself be one of those people! Butternut squash soup is great, but it is so last year, five years ago, 10 years ago, just so in the past. Spaghetti squash soup is new, it is golden yellow (also a wonderful fall color), it is healthy, it requires almost no cutting, it is too easy to make, it is glorious, and it is exactly what we need to soothe our souls as the warm weather officially begins to end. So immediately go cut a spaghetti squash in half (safety first!), put it in your oven to roast at 400°F, and forget about it! I doubt you can wait much longer to make this soup for yourself!

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