Discovering Spaghetti Squash
Discovering Spaghetti Squash
Designed by Cheri Sicard
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Averaging from 4 to 8 pounds, the cylinder shaped spaghetti squash is generally available year-round with a peak season from early fall through winter. While a true spaghetti squash is pale ivory to pale yellow in color, in the early 1990's, an orange spaghetti squash, known as "Orangetti" was developed and this is what is most frequently found in today's supermarkets. Higher in beta carotene, the orange variety is also bit sweeter than its paler counterpart, although both have a mild flavor that is easily enhanced by the food served with or on it. A dieter's dream, a four-ounce serving of spaghetti squash has only 37 calories.
When buying spaghetti squash, look for hard fruit that is heavy for its size, about eight to nine inches in length and four to five inches in diameter and with a pale even color. Avoid any squash with soft spots and green color is a sign of immaturity. The average four-pound spaghetti squash will yield about five cups of cooked squash.
An uncooked Spaghetti Squash can be stored at room temperature for about a month. After cutting, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate up to 2 days. Spaghetti squash also freezes well. Pack cooked squash into freezer bags, seal, label and freeze. Partially thaw before re-using, then steam until tender but still firm, about 5 minutes.
How To Cook Spaghetti SquashBake It -- Pierce the whole shell several times with a large fork or skewer and place in baking dish. Cook squash in preheated 375Â°F oven approximately 1 hour or until flesh is tender.
Boil It -- Heat a pot of water large enough to hold the whole squash. When the water is boiling, drop in the squash and cook for 20 to 30 minutes, depending on its size. When a fork goes easily into the flesh, the squash is done.
Microwave It -- Cut squash in half lengthwise; remove seeds. Place squash cut sides up in a microwave dish with 1/4 cup water. Cover with plastic wrap and cook on high for 10 to 12 minutes, depending on size of squash. Add more cooking time if necessary. Let stand covered, for 5 minutes. With fork "comb" out the strands.
Slow Cooker or Crock-Pot -- Choose a smaller spaghetti squash (unless you have an extra large slow cooker) so that it will fit. Add 2 cups of water to slow cooker. Pierce the whole shell several times with a large fork or skewer, add to Crock Pot, cover and cook on low for 8 to 9 hours.
Once the squash is cooked, let it cool for 10 to 20 minutes so it will be easier to handle, before cutting in half (if it wasn't already cut for cooking) and removing the seeds. Pull a fork lengthwise through the flesh to separate it into long strands. You can do these steps ahead of time, then prepare any of the spaghetti squash recipes whenever the mood strikes.
Spaghetti Squash With Vegetables & Mozzarella1 spaghetti squash
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 T olive oil
1 large can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
3-5 cloves garlic
1 tsp. basil
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper (optional)
1 C grated mozzarella cheese
1/2 C grated Parmesan cheese
Heat olive oil in a skillet and add the onion, pepper and garlic. SautÃ© over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes, basil, and crushed red pepper (if using). Simmer uncovered for about 15 minutes.
Mix squash well with the cooked vegetables and put half in the bottom of a large (13 x 9 inch) baking dish. Top with half the cheeses, followed by the other half of the squash mixture, then the rest of the cheeses. Bake for 30 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and slightly browned. Let cool 10-15 minutes before serving.
Spaghetti Squash AlfredoYou can make this rich Alfredo sauce lower in fat by using reduced fat sour cream and low fat cheese.
1 medium-sized spaghetti squash, cooked and separated into strands
Spaghetti Squash PancakesThese savory little pancakes are great with a little salt, pepper and sour cream for a side dish or appetizer.
6 C cooked spaghetti squash
Serves 6-8 as a side dish or appetizer
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Spoon 1/4 cup squash mixture into skillet. With a fork, press to form an evenly thick cake. Repeat. Cook cakes until bottoms are lightly browned, turn over and brown second side. Continue until youÂ’ve used all the squash mixture. Use additional butter if necessary. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and serve with sour cream.
Note: For a different taste, saute the squash pancakes in olive oil.
Low Carb Spaghetti Squash PattiesA pancake without any starch, these little gems make great side dishes. You can dress them up with all kinds of sauces or dressing, but sometimes they are nice simply cooked in olive oil and sprinkled with a little salt and coarsely ground pepper.
1 medium spaghetti squash, cooked
Makes About 30 Patties
Spaghetti Squash FrittataFrittatas are the perfect thing for a quick, spur of the moment breakfast, lunch or light supper. TheyÂ’re even good cold, so you can pack them for a picnic or a brown bag lunch.
1 C cooked spaghetti squash, separated into strands
Spicy Chicken & Spaghetti Squash SkilletThis spicy sauce, which makes good use of leftover chicken or turkey, is also great on true pastas, as well as spaghetti squash. For a vegetarian version, simply eliminate the meat. If you want a substitute, use extra firm tofu.
1 small spaghetti squash, cooked
Heat the oil in a skillet over medium high heat, saute onion, garlic and green onions for 2 minutes. Add the chicken or turkey and cook for about 3-4 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and wine and bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for about 20 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for another 5 minutes. Pour sauce over heated spaghetti squash and serve.
Middle Eastern Style Spaghetti SquashSpaghetti squash, which has a pretty bland flavor on its own, gets an exotic treatment in this Middle Eastern cuisine inspired recipe.
1 med spaghetti squash, cooked
Serves 6 to 8 as a side dish
Pesto Spaghetti Squash with MozzarellaWho says pesto is only for pasta?
1 med spaghetti squash, cooked
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