Sunday, June 17, 2007
Today, I harvested the first spaghetti squash from one of the container plants. It was the first one ripen, even though I planted all of them at the same time. It is pictured above getting ready for stem removal and oven placement.
I have always hated squash. It's just too, well, squashy, but spaghetti squash is different. I had eaten it once before when I worked as a server at Five Star Plantation and thought it was tasty.
This year I inadvertently ordered spaghetti squash, instead of crookneck, which is what you normally find in Alabama gardens. After it started to produce fruits I had to look up what I ordered because I knew it sure wasn't a crookneck. Looked more like a watermelon.
Anyway, I harvested the first one today. I had never cooked spaghetti squash before and so I had to look up a recipe that sounded tasty in order to know what to do with it.
I came across this one called Spaghetti Squash with Vegetables and Cheese and I thought I would share it with y'all because I found it extraordinarily tasty. My kids even gobbled it up, and it is a vegetarian dish, so, I know it is good.
First, you have to know how to cook spaghetti squash. I used the baked method..(is anyone surprised..hahaha)
How To Cook Spaghetti Squash
Bake It -- Pierce the whole shell several times with a large fork or skewer and place in baking dish. Cook squash in preheated 375°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) and removing the seeds. Pull a fork lengthwise through the flesh to separate it into long strands.
1 spaghetti squash, cooked by your favorite method and separated into strands (follow link for instructions)
1 lg. yellow onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
2 T olive oil
1 can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes
3-5 cloves garlic, minced
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
Preheat oven to 375 F. Mix the cheese together, set aside.
Heat olive oil in a skillet and add the onion, pepper and garlic. Sauté 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 cheese mixture, followed by the other half of the squash mixture, then the rest of the cheese. Bake for 30 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and slightly browned. Let cool 10-15 minutes before serving.
I substituted vegetable for olive oil and Italian seasoning for the basil and oregano. I also skipped the crushed red pepper.
This dish turned out to be more like lasagna than spaghetti. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that I grew this particluar squash, but I'm telling you, it was absolutely divine. Better than either spaghetti or lasagna in their traditional form and not reminiscent of squash in the least. That says a lot coming from a girl who likes pork at just about every meal. It was really delicious and I hope that my readers will try it if they are the type that likes to cook.