Spaghetti and I have a history together. As a kid, I loved to eat spaghetti. I loved to twirl the noodles around my fork or slurp it a la “Lady and the Tramp”. I didn’t care that my mom added soy sauce to the marinara or that the cheese came from a green shaker can. It was fun to eat. Then when I got older and was in school, it was a quick food to make and was easy on the grocery bill. Those frequent quick and easy meals led to the freshman 15 and the sophomore who-knows-how-many. Once the Atkins diet and low-carb meals became popular, I said goodbye to my spaghetti as I prepared to fit into my wedding dress.
Now we’ve reunited and spaghetti is once again part of my culinary circle. I’ve figured out I can have my spaghetti without the pasta thanks to a very aptly named gourd – spaghetti squash. It’s as if mother nature knew that there would be those who love Italian but not wheat and provided the perfect solution. Once cooked, the spaghetti squash is ready to carry any sauce with its long strands. It is so simple to prepare, you’ll wish you switched your semolina for squash ages ago.
The easiest way to cook spaghetti or any other squash (acorn, pumpkin, etc.), is to roast it whole. I learned this tip from The Spunky Coconut Cookbook: Gluten Free, Casein Free, Sugar Free (page 59, How to Cook a Pumpkin or Squash). There are step-by-step instructions and photos and it’s hard to mess up. You skip all the work needed to cut into a hard gourd not to mention that squashy residue that doesn’t want to wash off your hands. Just stick it in the oven and once it’s brown and soft, the squash can be peeled and seeded. In case you don’t have the cookbook, here are some instructions.
Roasting a Whole Spaghetti Squash
- Preheat oven to 350 to 400 degrees F.
- Place a clean squash, uncut, in a baking dish or roasting pan.
- Bake for an hour or more depending on the size of the squash. The skin will turn brown and slightly puffy.
- Let squash cool before peeling. Cut in half and remove the seeds.
- Use a fork to scrape and separate the strands.
My small to medium spaghetti squash was cooked at 350 degrees F for about an hour and ten minutes. Once it was done, this is what I had.
The spaghetti squash is tender but has enough bite to simulate an al dente texture. It makes a great bed for your favorite sauce and meatballs. This is how we enjoy spaghetti now and my daughter is learning how to twirl it around her fork. Then she throws the fork aside and digs in with both hands.
What will you put on your spaghetti squash?