Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Baked Spaghetti Squash

Sorry again for being MIA. I had a crazy week in school with about a million assignments due. I also stressed about quitting my super crappy part-time job but I finally did it (yay!). Then I went home for the weekend to relax and recover.  Now, I'm back and ready to blog :)

This is the recipe for one of my new favorite things.  Spaghetti squash.

I'm always looking for carb substitutes because if I don't carefully monitor myself, I consume far too many. I love bread and pasta and basically anything starchy.

I had never heard of spaghetti squash until I started looking at food blogs.  And frankly, I wasn't that interested.  It didn't look that appetizing to me and I figured that it must take a ton of work to get squash to look like spaghetti.  Also, I feel that every Italian relative that I have would roll over in their grave if they saw me substituting a vegetable for pasta.

False on all accounts. It's totally easy to make - an hour in the oven and a couple minutes of scraping with a fork.  It's absolutely delicious. It has a sweet flavor on it's own which means you don't have to dress it up too much if you don't want to.  However, it is also plain enough so that you can put any sauce on it. And it's really healthy. So go ahead and throw some creamy alfredo and some extra cheese on there without feeling guilty!

I just cooked the squash, scraped out the insides, and stored it in plastic containers in the fridge. I topped the squash with sauce/toppings only right before eating it so that it wouldn't get soggy and weird. Here are the ways that I have eaten it. Just butter and some Parmesan cheese.  Mushrooms, garlic, and butter. Chicken, pesto, and pine nuts. Marinara sausage. Roasted red peppers, artichoke hearts, and feta. Vodka sauce and sausage. Alfredo and asparagus.  The possibilities are endless! I didn't photograph all of these concoctions because they don't look half as wonderful as they taste.

The only downside I have found to spaghetti squash is that I cannot figure out how to freeze it. I tried all of the ways that I found online and it always came out wet and mushy, like the gunk in a pumpkin.  Luckily, I have no problem eating a whole squash in a timely manner :)

Stock up on some spaghetti squash while they are still in season! They will keep for months if they are kept in a cool, dark-ish place in your house.

Baked Spaghetti Squash 
1. Preheat oven to 375F. Pierce squash a few times with sharp paring knife (to let steam escape). Bake spaghetti squash for 60 minutes, or until a paring knife pierces easily through skin with little resistance. Let squash cool for 10 minutes.
2. Cut squash in half, lengthwise. Use a fork to remove and discard the seeds. Continue using fork to scrape the squash to get long, lovely strands. If the squash seem difficult to scrape, return the squash to bake for an additional 10 minutes.
3. Top with anything that you'd put on pasta! Favorite sauces, meat, veggies... go crazy!

One of my creations.  Mushrooms and garlic butter topped with Parmesan cheese and crushed red pepper.

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