After that delicious ultimate steakums dinner this week, I guilted myself into craving something a little lighter. I stumbled upon my love for spaghetti squash back in my South Beach days and this is one of the few dishes that still remains in my repertoire. It’s filling, tasty, and very healthful.
The ingredient list is fairly simple and is mostly things I have on hand. A medium sized spaghetti squash, a bunch a ripe roma or vine tomatoes, a medium onion, couple cloves of garlic, a bunch of fresh basil and some extra virgin olive oil.
First off, halve and clean your spaghetti squash. Discard all the seeds and fibers. It’ll look something like this:
Then stick them in a microwave safe container with about a half cup of water, cut side down please, and wrap it tightly with syran wrap. You want to trap all that good steam in there for super fast cooking.
Now nuke it in the microwave for a solid 13 minutes. I know that seems like a mightly long time for anything in the microwave, but it really steams it perfectly. If you’re weirded out by microwave radiation, feel free to roast the halves in the oven, but it takes 5 times as long and I don’t find much of a difference in taste or texture.
While the squash is happily steaming away, nows the time to whip up a quick fresh tomato sauce for it. Give your onion, tomato and garlic a good small dice. Start by sauteing your onions in some extra virgin olive oil over medium-high heat. Give them about a 5 minute head start to get soft before adding the finely minced garlic. Once you can start to smell the garlic, add in all the diced tomatoes and juices. Like this. Be sure to stop and admire Firat’s fine tomato dicing. Oh and photography.
Give this a shimmy shake and let it cook down for 5-10 min on medium heat while the squash halves cool down a bit. Now’s a good time to add in your salt/pepper. Also, if my tomatoes arn’t beautifully in season, I’ll throw in a 1/2 tsp of sugar to help balance out the flavors.
Back to that squash. Those suckers are reeeeally hot, so be careful with this next step. When they’re cool enough to handle (or you’re impatient enough to grab one with a towel) carefully scrape out the strands of the squash with a fork. I like to do one side, then the other, before dumping all the strands from one half out into a bowl. I find it helps keep the strands as long and intact as possible.
Now the final step! Dump the faux spaghetti strands into your sauce and stir to coat evenly with the sauce. I throw in a handful of chopped basil and another swirl of your good extra virgin olive oil to finish it. Make sure to check your salt/pepper seasonings now, since the squash can be a little bland. And don’t forget to throw on some freshly grated parm cheese!
We served ours up tonight with some grilled chicken tenders to complete our light and delicious dinner!
Ok, it probably won’t replace pasta for everyone, but the squash retains a nice al dente bite to it that’s crisp and fresh without being chewy like pasta sometimes can. And its extremely versatile. It can hold up to any pasta sauce, like alfredo or pesto. Some nights we add small bites of fresh mozzarella to the fresh tomato sauce for a caprese style squash side dish. It can be served hot, like a pasta dish, or room temperature like a pasta salad. Any way you make it, I hope you guys enjoy this as much as we do!