I got myself on a squash kick. After posting yesterday I made some Spaghetti Squash for dinner. Spaghetti squash, in my opinion, is one of the most underutilized vegetables in the kitchen. A winter squash like pumpkin, this is a delicious and healthy option for either a main course or a side dish.
When cooked, the insides of the squash come out looking (and tasting) much like spaghetti noodles, making them an excellent low-carb substitute for pasta. It has a very mild flavor and will easily take on the flavor of stronger ingredients like onion, garlic, ginger, etc.
Because it stores well in cool areas, you can find this in your local supermarket all year. When shopping, look for an oblong shaped light yellow shell, free of soft spots, that feels heavy for its size. When stored between 50 and 60 degrees, an uncooked squash will hold for up to six months. When stored at room temperature, it will last for a few weeks to a month.
Baking Spaghetti Squash
- Preheat oven to 375F.
- Cut squash in half length-wise.
- Scrape seeds and pulp to remove. This step is harder when the squash is raw, so you can wait until after it’s cooked, if desired.
- Cook rind-side up for about 60 minutes, or until the insides are fork tender.
- Scrape the “spaghetti” out of each half, running from stem to stem, and prepare as desired.
Boiling Spaghetti Squash
- Place a stock pot full of water on high heat to bring to a boil.
- Cut squash in half or in quarters.
- Scrape seeds and pulp to remove.
- Reduce heat and boil for about 30 minutes, or until the insides are fork tender.
- Scrape the “spaghetti” out of each piece and prepare as desired.
Microwaving Spaghetti Squash
- Cut spaghetti squash small enough to fit into a microwave safe container.
- Scrape seeds and pulp to remove.
- Microwave on medium to high power for 10 to 12 minutes, allowing to stand for a few minutes to steam before scraping the spaghetti strands out.
Whole vs. Cut
Whole spaghetti squash is easier to remove seeds and pulp from, but it will take longer to cook. If you choose to cut your squash into smaller pieces before cooking, you’ll need to reduce your cooking times: about 30-40 minutes in the oven, six to eight minutes in the microwave, and about 20 minutes in boiling water. Also, cutting your squash beforehand will result in shorter strands.
It’s Cooked, Now What?
Once you’ve got your spaghetti squash cooked, you can serve it in a number of ways:
- Topped with your favorite marinara sauce
- Tossed in herbs, butter/oil and cheese
- Tossed with garlic (serve like mashed potatoes)
- Tossed with butter and shrimp, scampi-style.
Don’t forget, the seeds can be dried and roasted just like pumpkin seeds for a special treat.
Baked Sausage and Spaghetti Squash Casserole
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1-1/2 pounds Italian sausage
5 cloves garlic, minced
4 ounces crimini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon oregano
1-1/2 teaspoon salt
1 red pepper, diced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 14.5 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
1 teaspoon sugar
1 bunch fresh spinach, cleaned and stemmed
1/4 c. minced fresh parsley
1 spaghetti squash, cooked and fibers separated
1 cup ricotta cheese
4 ounces cream cheese
1 large egg
1-1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated, divided
1 cup mozzarella cheese, grated
1 cup Asiago cheese, grated
Preheat oven to 375 F. Butter a 9×13 inch baking dish.
In a large saute pan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and saute until translucent, 4 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and Italian sausage. Brown sausage, breaking apart any large pieces, 5 to 8 minutes, until no pink remains. Add mushrooms and saute 3 to 4 minutes, until moisture releases and evaporates, stirring often. Add Italian seasoning, oregano, salt, red pepper, and pepper flakes, and stir to combine.
Stir in crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, and sugar. Reduce heat to simmer, cover and let cook 10 minutes. Add spinach and parsley and stir to combine. Cover and let simmer an additional 10 minutes.
In a large mixing bowl, combine ricotta, cream cheese, egg, Parmesan. Add flesh of spaghetti squash and toss to coat in cheese mixture. Spread coated squash and cheese mixture into bottom of prepared casserole dish. Spoon meat sauce over the top of squash mixture, and sprinkle grated mozzarella and Asiago cheeses.
Bake in preheated oven 25 to 30 minutes until cheese is melted and golden and sauce is bubbling around the edges. Serve immediately.
Chicken Spaghetti Squash Casserole
1/4 cup unsalted butter
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup vegetable or chicken broth
1-1/2 cup milk, divided
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 red bell pepper, chipped
2 cups Colby jack cheese, grated
3-1/2 cups chicken, boned, cut into bite-size pieces
1 spaghetti squash, cooked and flesh removed
1 teaspoon hot sauce, or to taste
salt and pepper, to taste
Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir in flour stirring constantly, until smooth and bubbly. Remove from heat and add the vegetable broth and 1 cup of milk in a thin stream, whisking constantly to avoid lumping. Return to medium heat. Bring sauce to a gentle boil. Continue to boil, stirring constantly, until sauce thickens. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Butter a 2 quart (9×13 inch) casserole dish.
In a large saute pan, heat oil over medium heat. Add mushrooms, onion, celery, and bell pepper. Saute vegetables 4 to 5 minutes until softened.
Melt butter in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms, onion, celery and bell peppers. Cook until the vegetables have softened, 4 to 5 minutes. In a medium bowl, mix 1/2- cup milk and sauce until smooth. Add sauce to vegetables and add 1-cup cheese, stirring to combine. Stir in chicken, flesh of the squash, hot sauce, salt and pepper to taste.
Pour mixture into prepared baking dish and cook in preheated oven 30 to 35 minutes until cheese is melted, golden brown and sauce is bubbling around the edges. Serve immediately.