- BerkshireTsarina Jan 7, 2009 07:59 AM
I have never tried this; but a grab bag organic basket delivery this week will finally get one inside my kitchen. How do I deal with it? Easy, please, but tasty. We love garlic, onion, etc. Trying to stay off pasta for weight's sake. Suggestions welcomed!
Treat it like all other winter squash. Cut it in half and scoop out the seeds, sprinkle with olive oil, salt pepper, whatever herbs/spices you might like. Roast it in a 350 oven until it's tender enough to pierce with a knife. When you're scooping out the seeds you'll likely already notice some of the strands - that part that later becomes the "spaghetti".
Some recipes will tell you to roast it face down in a pan of water but I think that's entirely unnecessary and it just dilutes the flavor more than roasting it without the water bath.
Once the squash is done and cooled for a few minutes take a fork and scrape the flesh out of the shell, lengthwise. It will fall apart into the spaghetti-like strands that give it it's name. From there you can simply eat it plain or mix it in with other things that you like. You say you love garlic, onion, etc.? Saute some onion, until it's brown, add some garlic once the onions are brown and then toss in the spaghetti squash. Saute everything together until the squash is warmed through (if it's even cooled down at this point) and you're good to go. It's a great vegetable and it's very versatile. You can literally mix it into all kinds of things. Sausage, peas, mushrooms and spaghetti squash was a nice dinner for me a couple weeks ago. A good shaving of parmigiano over the top and it was quite hearty.
Spaghetti squash doesn't taste at all like wheat pasta, but can be used in a similar way. It can take on stronger flavours (ie habanero slices, miso) than traditional pasta because of its bold, sweet, flavour and crunchy texture. We've used a heavier hand for seasoning--more cracked pepper, fennel, etc., with saltier, stinkier, slightly bitter or grassier cheeses (parmesan, hunter's cheddar--yeah! gorgonzola and creamier, sweeter cheeses like brie--nay). Mild cheeses such as fresh mozzerella and ricotta were completely overpowered by the flavour of the squash.
If you can, cut the squash in half, pull out the seeds (put seeds into a deep cup of water to separate from strands; the seeds will rise to the top and can be dried and eaten raw like pumpkin seeds, or toasted; I usually spread them on a pan and put that onto a radiator for drying)
Most recipes seem to call for roasting the squash facing up, but I have them facing down to assist with steaming. In the oven, it takes about 45 minutes at 375F; in the microwave, 20.
(it can baked or microwaved whole, but there's always the potential for explosion even after adding steam holes with a fork or knife). Let it sit for 10-20 minutes, or until you can hold a half with a gloved hand and a fork to separate the strands to put onto a platter.
Minimally, drizzle with olive oil, fresh pepper and sea salt, and enjoy.
I'm a single, so I take my cleaver and hack off rounds of squash, scoop the seeds out of the middle, and then cook for about 5 minutes in the microwave loosely covered with about 2 teaspoons of water, then shred with a fork to get the strands out. After that, I cook with whatever flavor combo I would enjoy with, say, a zuchhini squash.
Spaghetti squash is one of the most enjoyably versatile winter squash varieties I am acquainted with. I've known some who use boiling as a cooking method but I wouldn't recommend that because it picks up too much water and that makes it difficult to use without leaving a puddle of liquid deal with.
I bake mine, cut side up for down doesn't seem to make any difference. HaagenDazs pretty much said it all so you can use the suggestions in that post to prepare it. Like others, I've found that it goes well with just about anything you might think of putting on the pasta spaghetti plate. We like it tossed with browned butter and chopped basil with a sprinkling of Parmesan or other cheese (Mitzithra cheese is especially good) and some good crusty bread.
The outer skin is VERY tough so be sure to stabilize it well when cutting through that outer layer during prep.
"without leaving a puddle of liquid deal with." That's the reason I don't like baking it in water either.
Also, I had some trouble cutting mine in half the last time I used it too. I ended up cutting some of it and then I kind of pried it apart until it broke into 2 pieces. I got lucky and it broke just about perfectly, but they can be a beast to deal with sometimes - be careful!
"spead" = speed
Speed is good in a pinch but I prefer the browning that the oven creates assuming you've got the time. You can always broil the squash with a glaze after it's out of the microwave but spaghetti squash isn't a squash that you eat the same way you would maybe a acorn squash.
No problem - I enjoy fixing spelling errors that others tend to use "alot". For those who enjoy puns that's a little spelling humor.
As for the sugary bits, you can add anything to anything and eat it the way you like. My only point is that people tend to use butter, sugar, etc. to glaze the squash and create a nice brown crust on the surface, like people might with an acorn squash. With spaghetti squash you don't eat it out of the shell that way (although you can if you want to!) so the typical winter squash additions like brown sugar might get lost in the dish unless you really bump up the amount.
Spaghetti squash casserole -- yum. I cut in half and bake it first as above. Meanwhile, I sautee onions, mushrooms, maybe a few other goodies, and mix those with the "spaghetti" strands once the squash is baked. I add some ricotta and parm, some fresh herbs, some chopped tomato, some bread crums and put in a glass baking dish. Bake at 375 about 40 minutes. YUM. I have been making this for about ten years, and brought it to a Thanksgiving dinner last year. A fantastic main course for a vegetarian or anyone!
Once you've tried it and become familiar with the initial cooking process, you might enjoy playing with it in various recipes. For example, using it in place of lasagna noodles in a lasagna (what else) by creating layers with strands of the squash and otherwise preparing the lasagna recipe as you normally would is a fun change of pace dinner.
I too prefer to microwave because I'm way too lazy to roast it if it's not for company. Halve it lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, and put it on high for 3-6 minutes. I check mine every minute or 2 after the first three--rake it with a fork, and if strands of 'spaghetti' don't come loose, back in it goes. When it's done, rake out the shell in the same way until you have a pile of spaghetti-looking squash on your plate (use a hot mitt--those suckers get hot!)
My three favorite things with it:
Julienne zucchini and saute with olive oil and garlic. Add the pre-microwaved squash at the last minute along with some sea salt. Alternatively, do the same thing with spinach instead of zucchini.
I also like to use it as a healthier, lower-carb pasta substitute. Pour spaghetti sauce on top, top with parmesan, and enjoy! It can get a little watery, so I use a thicker sauce.
My weirdest (but delicious!) use of spaghetti squash is as a sub for shredded coconut in baking. I know. Bizarre. But the texture is kind of similar and I decided to try it. Something that's coconut heavy probably wouldn't work, but I used a layered bar recipe (don't have it now, sorry) that called for mixing shredded coconut with a cake-like base as the bottom layer, and then caramel or chocolate on top of that. I subbed in 100% slightly-undercooked spaghetti squash with a good splash of coconut extract for flavor and could barely tell the difference. I've done this with kitchen sink cookies too. Anything to get in my veggies!
Once I have it baked and scooped out I kinda like treating it like a Thai rice noodle dish by adding:
bird chiles or red curry paste
shredded lemon grass
finely ground pork
minced green onion and or shallot
and some roasted rice powder for a little crunch
Kinda a work in development...if anyone has any ideas on how to improve it feel free to let me know.
I love the stuff. I put cheddar cheese sauce (think mac and cheese without the mac) on it - sometimes adding some tart apples too. Today for lunch I put a puree of black beans, carmelized onions, green chilis, spinach and cottage cheese for a healthy but flavorful meal (served with crumbled low-fat feta). Love to top it with chili. Season it with soy sauce, sesame oil, garlic, chinese black vinegar and serve with shrimp. So versatile.
I usually bake a nice piece of salmon and make a dill pesto to go over both the fish & roasted spaghetti squash and call it dinner :)
Just found another very simple spaghetti squash casserole -- sautee an onion and 8 oz mushrooms (think I'll throw in some tomatoes). Bake squash (I like face down, with salt and pepper and a couple of cloves of garlic for fun) at 400 for 40 minutes. Scoop strands of baked squash and add 3/4 cup sour cream. Top with homemade garlic croutons and freshly grated Parmesan. Trying this tomorrow. :) Report to follow!
"Is it technically hard to accomplish the strands once its cooked? It doesn't seem like the squash would form strands just like that? I almost feel like it would mush up into a clump if you tried to run a fork through it?"
If you've never cooked it then you'll never know! This is why it's called spaghetti squash, not acorn squash or butternut squash. ;-)