Spaghetti squash is so named because of how its flesh forms long, tender strands when shredded with a fork after cooking. Itsmild tastepairs easily with myriad ingredients. Plus, it’s low in carbs, gluten-free, and high in vitamin A and other essential nutrients. No wonder this pale-yellow, oblong-shaped squash is having amoment with fitness fans.
This recipe, adapted from “Listen to Your Vegetables: Italian-Inspired Recipes for Every Season” (Harvest, $45), offers a handy trick for boosting its deliciousness several notches. After the cut halves steam in the oven, the cooked strands are then spread out on a baking sheet and returned to the oven, allowing the flavors to concentrate and caramelize as the moisture evaporates. Mixed with cheese and herbs and heaped back in its shell, then run under the broiler until bubbly, it becomes your favorite spaghetti sauce’s new best friend. Sorry, pasta! Serves 4. RECIPE HERE. – Susan Puckett
- 2 small spaghetti squash (2 to 2 ½ pounds each)
- Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for coating the foil
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves or chopped oregano leaves, plus more for garnish
- 4 ounces burrata or fresh mozzarella, torn into small pieces
- Quick Marinara Sauce (recipe follows) or your favorite pasta sauce, optional
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Set the squash on a cutting board and nestle it in a folded kitchen towel to hold it in place while you cut it. With a heavy, sharp chef’s knife or serrated knife, carefully cut the squash in half lengthwise, rocking the knife gently back and forth after you cut through the skin. (If you’re struggling, you can zap it in the microwave for 3-5 minutes to soften it a bit before cutting.)
- With a spoon, scoop out the seeds and discard.
- Line a baking sheet with foil and brush it lightly with oil. Season the squash halves well with salt and pepper and drizzle with the tablespoon of olive oil.
- Set the squash halves cut side down on the baking sheet. Roast in the pre-heated oven for 30 minutes, or until the squash skins are tender to the touch.
- Remove the pan from the oven, leaving the oven on. Let the cooked squash rest for about 10 minutes, allowing it to steam as it slowly cools, then flip. With a fork, gently pull and shred the squash from the skins, forming spaghetti-like strands. Spread the strands on the oiled baking sheet. Set aside two of the squash skins for later.
- Return the baking sheet with the shredded squash to the oven and roast for 20 to 30 minutes, or until caramelized (but not burned) in places and dried out a bit.
- Place the double-roasted squash in a bowl and toss with 1 cup of the parmesan, the thyme or oregano, and plenty of cracked black pepper. Divide the mixture between the two reserved squash skins and top with the burrata and remaining parmesan. (Squash may be kept at room temperature for a couple of hours before broiling.)
- Just before serving, make sure a rack is set about 4 inches the heat source and turn the broiler to high. Place the squash under the broiler for 5 to 6 minutes, or until golden and bubbling and the skins of the squash are slightly charred.
- Remove from the oven, garnish with more herbs, cut in half, and serve with pasta sauce if desired.
Makes 2 cups
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic (or more or less), minced
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- ½ cup finely chopped parsley (leaves and stems)
- 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano (or 1 teaspoon dried)
- Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
- In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and the red pepper flakes, if using, and sauté for a minute, or just until the garlic begins to turn golden. Stir in the parsley and sauté another minute.
- Add the tomatoes, bay leaf, and oregano and lower the heat to a simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, 15 or 20 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Susan Puckett is an Atlanta-based food writer and cookbook author.