Cooking Spaghetti Squash in the oven
Whether your vegan, on keto diet, carb conscious, or simply looking for a pasta alternative, you might want to consider “Spaghetti Squash”.
Introduction to Spaghetti Squash
I first tried spaghetti squash years back, not sure exactly when, perhaps while attempting a fad diet, or on one of my raw detox stints. Either way, it is a great pasta alternative, and is quite delicious. Generally available in the produce aisle, at least here in South Austin at the local HEB. They are not too expensive, but sometimes can run about five dollars a pop.
I have also had great luck growing them in the garden. They tend to grow better than other squash for me in the central Texas area, and I trellis them along with other vines on my six foot property fence. As they grow, their ripening fruit just dangles until ready to be picked, cooked, and gobbled up.
Recently we were cooking out, and had a few friends over. One of my long time friends who is a chef here in Austin also works with a local culinary farm. He brought me a little surprise. At first glance it looked like a tiny watermelon, but to my astonishment a variety of spaghetti squash I had not seen before. Most of the time they tend to be all yellow. This one was green with dark green stripes running along it.
He explained that it was a green-striped spaghetti squash. He knew I liked spaghetti squash seeing yellow ones in my garden previous years. He told me to save it for when I wanted to use it, so it sat for a few days after our cookout, as we already had a tremendous amount of food in the works for the night.
A few days later I decided it was time. I cooked it the way I do traditional spaghetti squash by baking it in the oven.
Poke holes in it! It is hollow on the inside in the seed chamber, and could crack or explode if pressure were to build up, and that would lead to a horrible mess in your oven.
Most of the time I use a metal skewer, but I couldn’t find one, so a BBQ fork took it’s place and worked just fine.
I poked holes all over it to ensure no veggie bombs were in my kitchen this particular night.
Preheat Oven to 375
While my over preheated to 375 degrees, I prepared a metal baking pan with foil, and directly layed the spaghetti squash in the center of it.
Once it was heated up, I simply put the pan in the oven and set the time for an hour and a half.
Bake For 90 minutes
After the timer went off, I set it aside, as I prepared the rest of my dish. For this particular meal, I was going to dress this imposter pasta, or as my son called it ‘im-pasta-nator’. Yeah, he’s pretty clever.
I cooked up some battered fried slices of eggplant and a roasted garlic sauce. Also added some fresh sweet basil from the garden.
Next step once it cools enough to somewhat handle, is to slice in half longways. You will see a fairly hollow chamber with seed and a little squash mess. Similar to when you clean a pumpkin at Halloween, but smaller, and not as messy.
Using a spoon makes it a really simple and quick job, and you are left with the clean remaining body of the squash in two halves.
From this point is where it gets it’s spaghetti name. Using a fork, softly fork the insides out, and it will fall out with a string shape similar to strands of spaghetti.
This was my first time with this variety, it might have needed to cook slightly less compared to it’s yellow cousin. It seemed slightly (but not much) softer, and less stringy than I am use to. It was still delicious!
I plated it up, for this dish I did spaghetti squash, topped that the fried eggplant, and garlic tomato sauce, and garnished with fresh basil. It was so good, fresh, and such a healthy alternative to the heavy carbs that pasta brings. Nice Italian style meal without feeling weighed down in a coma afterwards.