spaghetti squash or squash spaghetti? (or  both!)

Wednesday, spaghetti day! Somehow this phrase was plugged into the postwar boomer generation that spawned dr bob. But can spaghetti in a squash substitute for spaghetti in a box? To be on the safe side, you can combine both.

dr bob loves food that comes with instructions. Like the tilapia fish deal. With the 2 page supermarket owner's manual. Kitchen hints make the product so much more user friendly. This time it was spaghetti squash. Never had any before. And there was this little sticker on the end about how to cook it. For dr bob and the rest of the target market who had no clue what to do with the stuff. In the microwave even (oven, also fits the phrase). So we picked it up. It sat on the refrigerator a while. This yellow football-like veggie with a green sticker. "Do me this way." But the challenge was to do something more interesting with it.

One cookbook said it was perfect for combining with pasta sauces. Since dr bob was already thinking squash-based pasta sauce, he mistakenly took this as confirmation of his goal. But there were no squash-based pasta sauces in that book. Out came the Talismano della Felicita', La Cucina della Felicita', and various other Italian language sources of promised culinary happiness. Useless. The index just lists recipes by name, names which rarely reveal key ingredients, and which are organized by pasta type and not sauce names. These enormous tomes must have lots of secrets which will forever remain safe from the dr bob cooking team. At least they look good on the shelf.

So we went with the spaghetti squash casserole idea from the first American cookbook we had looked at. We even has some nearly deal scallions (= green onions, close enough) hiding in a bag of stuff from the mother-in-law jammed in the vegetable drawer at the bottom of the fridge, called for by this recipe. We improved on the cheese, since asiago was all we had lying around. A TV cooking show informed us that asiago is sort of like pecorino romano, the sharper tasting competitor for parmigiano reggiano. We had gotten it for a risotto with radicchio we'd seen on another cooking show and forgot to use it.

ingredients

1 spaghetti squash
2 medium tomatoes
3 T olive oil
2 or more garlic cloves
1 t salt
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 c coarsely grated asiago cheese
1/4 c freshly grated parmigiano
a few chopped up scallions (green onions?)

instructions

  1. Okay, this is pretty quick. First we cut the squash in half lengthwise and scooped out the seeds.
  2. We put it in a dish with 1/4 c water, covered it with plastic wrap and nuked it on high for 9 minutes face down and 9 more face up.
  3. It probably would have been easier to scoop it out later as advised by the book that we forgot to pay attention to. Seeing spaghetti squash become spaghetti strands for the first time was truly amazing. Once cooked, as you begin to pull out the squash from its skin, it just breaks apart into these spaghetti-like strands.
  4. Meanwhile we sauteed the chopped garlic and chopped tomatoes and salt and pepper. Not long.
  5. [Optional fish detour: Then threw in about 1/4 c white wine. And a couple pieces of white flat fish for the rest of our meal for two. They cooked pretty quick. Once removed,]
  6. We threw in the spaghetti squash scooped out from its skin and the asiago and parmigiano and the scallions and stirred it up.

notes

  1. Not long after this first encounter with spaghetti squash, at a food fair (The Book and the Cook 1993), we picked up an Italian cooking magazine sample giveaway. And they had a whole section on winter squash, including spaghetti squash with spaghetti from a box. The Journal of Italian Food & Wine, Volume III, Number 1, Winter 1993 (p. 27), out of NYC. No trace of it on the web in 2002. Another casualty of the 20th century? Couldn't find the entrance ramp for the bridge to the third millennium? Here's what they said.

spaghetti with spaghetti squash

ingredients

1 spaghetti squash (most are rather large)
3 garlic cloves
5 medium thick slices of unsmoked bacon, or pancetta
3 T chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 t rosemary, leaves only
1/4 c white wine
1/4 c chicken broth
1 lemon, juice of
olive oil
1 lb spaghetti # 8 or #9 (what, they have numbers?)

instructions

  1. Open the squash the long way and remove the "spaghetti" inside. Heat a little olive oil in a frying pan and add the garlic cloves and squash until they become a bit browned. Do not overcook. Boil water for pasta.
  2. In a separate pan, brown the bacon or pancetta and discard the fat. Drain the cooked meat thoroughly and crumble.
  3. Remove the garlic from the squash and add the rosemary, crumbled bacon, 1 T extra-virgin olive oil, white wine and broth. Cook on high heat stirring to coat all the squash.
  4. When pasta is done, pour squash over it, squeeze lemon juice on top, sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve. If it needs moistening, drizzle a little olive oil on top. Serve with parmigiano cheese.
    NOTE: Additions to this dish can be made. Saute onions slowly until they caramelize and add at the end. You may treat leeks the same way. Good tiny peas may be added at the end. The adventuresome might try hot red pepper flakes.
spgsqsh.htm: 8-jan-2002 [what, ME cook? 1984 dr bob enterprises]