Thursday, April 22, 2010

Spaghetti Squash

I love spaghetti squash and always have.  It's quick, easy, healthy, and just plain neat.  For those unfamiliar, it's a large, oval, yellow squash that's similar to taste to summer squash... and it naturally forms spaghetti-like strands.  See?  Neat-o.

The most difficult part of preparing a spaghetti squash is cutting it in half (lengthwise).  You'll need a large knife, probably a hard, sturdy surface to pound the squash on, and possibly a friend to help you get the knife out if it gets stuck (it happens).  Do be careful and don't cut off your thumb.

Once it's sliced in half, scoop out the pulpy seeds (just like carving a pumpkin).  Then, fill a microwave safe container (I use a glass casserole dish) with about a quarter inch of water and place the half face down in the pan.  Microwave it for 8-10 minutes until it is tender through.  When it is no longer finger-scalding, scrape out the inside with a fork or spoon.  The strands should come right out.  If, part of the way through, you find the squash to be excessively crunchy (undercooked), you can return it to the microwave to cook some more.

You can put pretty much any sauce on spaghetti squash, but since it is a rather watery vegetable, I much prefer thicker sauces.  Also since it's much lighter than real spaghetti, portions will tend to be larger, so keep that in mind.  A meat sauce will help make it more substantial, as would some cheese.  A few dollops of ricotta hidden under the sauce would be great, and a sprinkling of parmesan on top is classic.

Spaghetti squash can be found year-round at the grocery store, but I especially like it as a warm weather spaghetti alternative.

- Rori

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