We arose Friday morning to an eerily calm world, glazed with ice as thick as your little finger. Tropical flowers encased, like day-glo baubles to be hung around an eccentric woman’s neck. Perfectly fanned palm fronds, limp and lifeless. Ever-swaying prairie grass now stuck in a singular erect position, begging the sky for one warming ray of sunshine. A foolish driver glides gingerly down the road, ice crunching and groaning beneath the tires.

No morning paper, no school buses, no garbage pick-up, no mail. In fact, no one would get on or off the island until the 4.5-mile bridge was safely passable (another day and a half).

{see more storm photos here}

By lunchtime, all that remained of the magnificent display were rapidly evaporating puddles. Indoors we had yet to thaw, and were in need of soul-warming eats.

Enter hot bowls of roasted squash and ginger noodle soup with winter vegetables.

This brothy soup is particularly delicate. It really hit the spot. Earthy and fragrant, it’s served with slurpy soba noodles and lots of oven-roasted butternut squash, mushrooms and brussels sprouts. A touch of spice from a dollop of Sambal Oelek chilli garlic sauce swirled in with our chopsticks.

Wintry weather, meet your match. Try it and see for yourself.

Roasted Squash and Ginger Noodle Soup with Winter Vegetables [serves 6-8]

Printable recipe

5 lbs peeled winter squash, like butternut or kabocha

Vegetable oil

1 large knob fresh ginger, about 4″ long, skin left in tact and cut in half horizontally

10 green cardamom pods

5 star anise

2 cinnamon sticks, 3 to 4″ long

1 T fennel seeds

1 T coriander seeds


6 to 8 c mixed winter vegetables, like wax beans, chard, radishes, brussels sprouts, cauliflower or mushrooms, trimmed and cut into bite size pieces

2 lbs thin noodles, like lo mein or soba — fresh if you can find it

Sriracha, Sambal Oelek or chili oil for serving

Cut 4 lbs squash into large chunks. Cut remaining 1 lb into 1/2″ dice.

Heat oven to 375° F. On a lightly oiled baking sheet, place ginger and diced squash. Bake until soft, about 20 minutes, turning ginger and squash pieces halfway through the cooking.

Transfer ginger to a stockpot and reserve roasted squash. Add the uncooked squash chunks to pot. Add cold water to cover by 2″, turn heat to medium, and bring to a bare simmer. The surface of the liquid should steam but never boil — the heat may need decreasing to maintain this.

In a hot skillet, toast all spices until lightly browned and fragrant. Add to the pot along with 2 T salt. Cook slowly at the bare simmer until squash is very soft, about 2 hours.

Meanwhile, prepare the winter vegetables. Cook until just tender: blanching wax beans, chard or radishes; roasting brussels sprouts or cauliflower; or pan-searing mushrooms.

When broth is done, pour it through a fine strainer and lightly press on squash chunks and ginger to release all the liquid. Discard contents of strainer. Season broth to taste with salt.

Boil noodles in plenty of salted water, then drain. Divide among 6 to 8 bowls. Divide roasted squash pieces and cooked vegetables on top of noodles. Ladle in broth just to cover noodles and serve immediately.

From The New York Times