Oyamel Restaurant By Chef Joe Raffa

Conquer your squash supply with this soup

This time of year, garden squash grows from a simple plant into a lanky tangle of vines dripping with green and yellow gourds.

And those hearty vines are more than just stems: They're also the base of Oyamel's new, special soup.

Each year, the Penn Quarter Mexican restaurant celebrates the summer orbs with a festival dedicated to squash blossoms. But this year, chef Joe Raffa has created his take on a special Oaxacan soup made with squash vines ($8.50; click here for the recipe).

The soup channels summer's favorite flavors, melding corn and tomatoes with onions and garlic. With the crunch and mildness of a green bean, the blanched vines add a snap of clean, green flavor.

Raffa contracted Good Fortune Farm to grow extra plants this year so that he could uproot the vines for his soup. But home squash growers should have just enough of the long, ropy vines for a batch of the light broth.

If you order the soup at the restaurant, also try a glass of honeydew punch ($10), a tequila cocktail served with melon, lemon, cucumber ice and a squash-blossom garnish.

Oyamel, 401 7th St. NW (at D St.); 202-628-1005 or oyamel.com