Friday, 9 September 2011

Last Nights Dinner: Spaghetti Squash

I am a pretty big fan of squash in general but I have my favourites...Spaghetti and Butternut being easy winners.  This week I decided to make one of my stand-by dishes I make when I am not feeling up to cooking up a storm or if I need something fast --Spaghetti Squash with Garlicky Tomato Sauce

The recipe for the sauce is available on another post so this is more about how to prepare the squash.

After three days this is how different they looked
I had a very strange experience this week.  I lay prideful (arrogant) claims to being a total 'foodie'.  I usually know what the odd vegetables are in ethnic grocery stores (although I love finding stuff I know nothing about) but this week I was totally fooled.  I bought two organic spaghetti squashes at the local health food shop,  I got them both out of the same bin, they looked the same but one was slightly larger and rounder then the other. Other than that they had totally the same appearance from the outside.  Now over the last couple of days in the larder one of them had gotten paler and was now showing marks/scars on the skin of having been handled while the other stayed blemish free and pale yellow. I decided that they needed to be cooked and cut them open to find THIS!!







One of them is a spaghetti squash and the other is a bloody CANTALOUPE!! How was I fooled? The worst part? I HATE cantaloupe!  The smell of it makes my stomach turn........and it couldn't possibly be from the fancy party 15 years ago that I didn't eat before going to where in my nervousness I downed too many Cosmo martinis while wolfing down prosciutto and melon and then spent the rest of the evening with my head in the toilet still in my pretty dress??..........naaaaah......I just don't like it.....





So spaghetti squash....cut it open and scoop out the seeds with a spoon.  Depending on the size you may want to cut it into quarters
Now I put these straight into a large pasta cooking pot, fill with water until the squash is completely covered, salt it and leave to boil...just like noodles. But there is something else you can do...you can make this dish JUST squash or a mix of squash and noodles.  The way to do this is to fill the pot with a lot more water than just covering the squash and when the water is boiling add the noodles and cook normally.  When the noodles are done dump the contents of the pot in a strainer, squash and all.  You are going to want to put the squash a side and let steam dry.  This helps remove the excess water from boiling it and avoid the squash from watering down your sauce.

 Once it is reasonably dry (just not dripping) start shreding it with a fork




















Then combine the shredded squash into the sauce.  Once completely combined pour the entire contents into a lasagna dish and sprinkle with cheese.  I like using mozzarella.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbling.




















Or if you are combining it with noodles, add the shredded squash and noodles in with the sauce and then serve with a sprinkle of cheese



















I have to admit I love how much my whole family loves this meal.  We all clean our plates.  I also love that as I write this my family is sitting watching a movie and polishing off the dreaded cantaloupe to get ride of the evidence

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