Oh spaghetti squash – where have you been all my life?
Believe it or not, my first experience with spaghetti squash was only 3 weeks ago when my husband ordered a dish in a restaurant, complete with a side of seasonal vegetables. Sure I had seen spaghetti squash before: glanced at recipes on the internet, heard people mention it… I just hadn’t actually tried it. I can’t really tell you why. Perhaps because it never appeared on the table during my childhood? But there it was – looking all yummy – and I just had to have a bite.
My expectation? It would taste like butternut squash. Boy was I surprised. The flavor was very mild – nothing like butternut or acorn squash – and it had great texture. It was then that I realized what all the fuss is about: not only does it represent spaghetti visually, it offers that same perfect base for other flavors.
The very next day, my mother-in-law and I bought a squash and decided to try it at home – she and my father-in-law had never eaten it before either! The seller at the farm stand said to simply cut it in half, scoop out the seeds and bake it at 375 for 45 to 60 minutes…and that’s exactly what we did. I have to say, the baking part was easy – the cutting part was not. My father-in-law had to step in to help. After baking came the best part: scraping the squash out of its shell with a fork and experiencing all its spaghetti-like goodness. It was fun – and we couldn’t wait to smother it in pasta sauce and eat it…and that’s exactly what we did.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut squash in half (you’ll need a very sharp, large knife) and scoop out seeds and strings (I used an ice cream scoop). Place, flesh side down, on a baking sheet or in a baking dish. Bake for 45-60 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes, then scrape flesh out of squash with a fork.
Suggestions for toppings:
- Pasta sauce
- Your favorite vegan margarine, salt & pepper
- Sautéed onions, garlic and tomatoes with fresh black olives and basil.
- Oil and fresh herbs – basil, parsley, sage, etc.
- Vegan margarine and brown sugar (perhaps a little cinnamon and nutmeg)