Monday, October 12, 2009

Squashgetti Dinner- how to make spaghetti squash.

Now I'm not a big squash fan. I like zucchini and love to bake with pumpkin but put a plate of butternut squash in front of me watch me turn into the typical six year old who refuses to eat their vegetables (even with the threat of no dessert).

But the wonders of nature never cease!

This here is a Spaghetti Squash and if you've never tried it you'll be amazed by it. It seriously, no fooling, tastes as good as spaghetti and is now my permanent replacement for it during the fall.

It's really easy to prepare, here's what you need:

  • For two people 1 medium to large spaghetti squash (this is if you are going to have the squash as a replacement for spaghetti as your main dinner- 1 squash could be enough for 4 if you are going to use it as a side dish).
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper.
  • You're favorite pasta sauce
  • Chicken, turkey meatballs or chicken italian sausage (or whatever you like in your spaghetti).
  • Sprig of thyme (optional)

And here's how I make it:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. I also line a baking sheet with foil for easy clean-up.

  • Rinse and dry the spaghetti squash then cut in half the long way.

  • Use a spoon to clean out the middle, removing seeds and loose stringy stuff around seeds.

  • Once the squash is cleaned take half of a peeled garlic clove and rub cut side down all over the inside and cut edges of the squash. Do this for a 1-2 minutes on each half- you want the squash to get nice and garlicy.

  • Brush the inside and cut edges with a little olive oil (I only use about 1/2 table spoon).

  • Salt and Pepper each half.

  • Take the garlic you rubbed on the squash, plus the remaining peeled whole garlic cloves and place them in two piles on a baking sheet.

  • Place a few stems of thyme on top each clove (the thyme leaves should stay on the stem). The thyme is optional- it's adds something nice but I wouldn't go out an buy a bunch just for this. I had it in the garden so I'm using it.

  • Flip each squash half over on top of your garlic and thyme (cut side down on the baking sheet). The garlic and herb will sit under the squash in that little empty cavity while it cooks and add more flavor. As a bonus when the squash is done you get nicely roasted garlic to make a quick garlic bread with!

Bake for 45 minutes or until squash is fork tender and a nice golden brown. I don't even check mine anymore I set the timer for 45 minutes and don't even worry about it.

Now comes the best part- time to "make spaghetti". Take a fork and rake over the flesh of each half- what you'll come away with are perfect spaghetti-like strips of squash. I pile it high on a plate (why not since it's ridiculously low in calories and really really yummy) top with my favorite sauce and whatever else you'd normally put in pasta. I usually toss in some chicken, but I've also used turkey meatballs. But my favorite lately is to grab some of those yummy chicken italian sausages. They go great with the squash and you can afford the higher fat/calorie protein when you have a plate full of veggies!

Hope you try it. They should be easy to find in the grocery store since it's squash season right now.

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