Monday, February 17, 2014

Spaghetti Squash: An often overlooked and underrated veggie.

There just isn't much better than a hot spaghetti dinner, with fresh crusty bread and a crisp green salad... unless of course you up your anti (and significant nutritional value) and swap your pasta for squash. Yes ladies, you read me right. Squash! But not just any squash will do, only spaghetti squash will swap for spaghetti... and you have to bake it correctly or you'll get slimy mush. But do try it sometime because it is lusciously and uniquely tasty and satisfying. 

When I am hankering for some comfort food I am always so glad to see the these fresh ingredients on hand. (picture to the right of spaghetti squash, red and green bell peppers and yellow onions...) Add a can of crushed tomatoes, a little bit of ground meat (beef or turkey) or even some spicy pork sausage, several cloves of garlic, some fresh, chopped spinach if I have it and I find myself with a lovely, fragrant and zippy sauce to go over my squash. Making homemade spaghetti sauce is worth the extra effort to me because it holds so much flavor and the nutritional value is much higher because all the veggies (minus the tomato) haven't been sitting around in a can gettin' old. Plus I can add as much garlic and basil as I want... and not have any white sugar or HFCS. (High-fructose corn syrup) Onto the recipes!

Spaghetti Squash
serves 6

1 large or 2 medium spaghetti squash
4-5 Tbsp olive oil
1-2 Tbsp butter
salt and pepper to taste

 method: Wash your squash thoroughly. With a large, heavy knife on a sturdy cutting board, remove the stem. Then stand the squash on the cut end and slice down through the center. This does tend to take a little elbow grease. It's not a melon! Scrape out the seeds and membranes with a spoon and more of the elbow grease. Rinse off the halved, emptied squash. Drizzle with olive oil and lay sliced side down in a baking dish.



Slide your baking dish into a preheated 350-375 degree oven. It's loose because you are roasting and it's fine to take a little shorter or longer. I had success this time baking my squash for about the length of time it took to make a fresh loaf of crusty herb bread. About 25-30 minutes. Check on the close side of that by taking your dish fully out of the oven and with mitts on lift the squash with one hand and gently drag a fork tip across the edge. If it pulls apart easily than your squash is done. Replace it on the pan and let it rest 10 minutes. If it had some resistance and seems too firm give it a few more minutes in the oven and check it again. When it's ready make sure to leave it to rest for 10 minutes. Once your squash is ready to be awoken from it's siesta ... grab your fork and bowl and flake/scrape out the stringy squash into the bowl.

Forking out the squash.

I like to serve my spaghetti squash and sauce with some crusty herb bread and fresh rainbow garden salad. Recipes to follow in their own posts... eventually.

Fresh Rainbow Garden Salad

Crusty Herb Bread

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