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.
- 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?)
- Okay, this is pretty quick. First we cut the squash in half lengthwise and scooped out
- 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.
- 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.
- Meanwhile we sauteed the chopped garlic and chopped tomatoes and salt and pepper. Not
- [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,]
- We threw in the spaghetti squash scooped out from its skin and the asiago and parmigiano
and the scallions and stirred it up.
- 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
- 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?)
- 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.
- In a separate pan, brown the bacon or pancetta and discard the fat. Drain the cooked
meat thoroughly and crumble.
- 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.
- 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.