As you all know by now, I live in the land of picky eaters. Sometimes it’s hard here considering I have a pretty adventurous palate and I’m open to trying just about anything. The more new things I get to experience, the better!! The members of my household do not agree. However, occasionally I do get them on board with trying something new as long as it’s pretty tame. Now what I have to offer you isn’t overly adventurous however, around here these days this qualifies as making something “funky.”
I have wanted to try spaghetti squash for quite some time now. The idea of a squash that I can top with sauce and might bear some resemblance to my beloved carb-loaded pasta was intriguing to me. Also, swapping a better complex carbohydrate into my meal isn’t such a bad thing either.
At first glance, the spaghetti squash can be an intimidating vegetable. This sucker weighed in at about 6 pounds and was a good 8 inches long. Having never made such a thing before I needed to figure out just how the heck to cook this thing up! Pleasantly, I found that it’s a pretty easy thing to do however, time-consuming depending on how you choose to tackle this project.
First, pick your poison… bake, boil, microwave or even toss it in a slow cooker! Next decide if you’ll cook it whole, halved or quartered. Obviously, cutting the squash into a smaller dimension and putting it in the microwave is your quickest option. However, if you truly want to use it in a spaghetti-esque fashion, I wouldn’t go smaller than half because you want to get some nice long strands. I chose to cook my spaghetti squash whole. Due to its sheer size, halving a raw spaghetti squash could turn into quite a project. You’ll need muscles and a very sharp knife. Anyone who knows me, knows that if I chose to involve myself in that sort of activity surely my evening would take me to the emergency room being that I am INCREDIBLY klutzy and accident prone. Unfortunately, I have found no amount of practice with knife skills can overcome this quality I was born with.
So, let’s start out by piercing the spaghetti squash with a knife all over. Next, place it in a baking dish and bake in a 375 degree oven for an hour. If you choose to boil, it should take about half the time. You can also microwave the squash for 10-15 minutes on high. As for the slow cooker, put a few cups of water in the bottom and cook on low for 8 hours.
After the spaghetti squash has been cooked by whichever method you choose, cut it lengthwise. Cutting the squash will be much easier to accomplish at this point than if attempted while it was raw. Next, remove the seeds and pulp with a spoon.
Using a fork, separate the strands of squash. You’ll notice that it looks a lot like spaghetti!
At this point, you can top it with your favorite pasta sauce or use it in place of pasta in your favorite recipes. You’ll find it a healthier option. Also, I found tossing it with a little butter, salt, pepper and fresh herbs to be a fantastic side dish! You could use fresh basil, sage, chives, parsley… a mixture of a few of them (which is what I did.) It’s a very fresh compliment to many meals.
In our kitchen Maddy welcomed these golden strands. Mike wondered aloud “Why aren’t we just having pasta?” and HB was just glad she wasn’t home for dinner that night. I, on the other hand, think this is an incredible vegetable with many uses and much to their dismay will become a staple in my cooking.