I did not know I liked spaghetti squash. The first time I had it, I don't know what exactly I was expecting, but I wasn't expecting the slightly sweet squashy flavor that I did encounter. Probably because the first time I had it I ate it with spaghetti sauce, which seemed logical, but it tasted horrible. (Plenty of people prefer it this way, but I couldn't get over the idea that I was expecting pasta under my sauce!) In any case, I thought I didn't like spaghetti squash because of this. That is, until I came across this recipe. It is delicious, let me tell you. Bonus, almost everything in it is absolutely fresh. (Non-fresh items? Olive oil and Parmesan cheese...not too shabby. And I suppose the pine nuts/walnuts. But I digress.)
If you've been on the fence about trying spaghetti squash, or squash in general, I urge you to try this recipe. Your family, and your tastebuds, with thank you.
Spaghetti Squash Italiano, from Easy Everyday Cooking (Better Homes & Gardens)
2 small spaghetti squash (1 1/4 o 1 1/2 lbs. each) (WEIGH BEFORE YOU BUY! I can't find any under 2 lbs. at my supermarket, so I make this recipe with one squash instead of 2)
4 oz. mozzerella cheese, cut into small cubes (1 cup) (Mozzerella, good mozzerella, should be packed in water, or at the very least feel quite squishy. None of this perfect block stuff. Most will be in a ball shape.)
3 med. tomatoes, seeded and chopped (I usually sub in roma tomatoes, which are meatier and have less juice, though they are smaller. If you do this, add at least one extra roma.)
4 green onions, sliced (or more...more is good.)
1/2 c. pine nuts or coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted
1/4 c. fresh basil or parsley (you can usually find fresh parsley mixed in with all the lettuce at the supermarket, and it's much cheaper than fresh basil, and just as good in this recipe)
1 T. olive oil or cooking oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 T. grated parmesan cheese (we didn't use any)
Halve ths squash lengthwise and remove the seeds. Prick skin all over with a sharp knife. Place halves, cut sides down, in a 3-qt. rectangular baking dish. Cover and bake in a 350° oven for 60 to 70 minutes or until squash is tender.
Using a fork, carefully rake the squash pulp to separate it into strands, leaving the strands in the shells. Sprinkle one-fourth of the mozzerella into each of the pasta shells, toss lightly. Push the squash mixture up the sides of the shells.
Meanwhile, for filling, in a medium mixing bowl combine tomatoes, green onions, nuts, basil or parsley, oil, and garlic. Spoon the filling into squash shells. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.
Return to baking dish. Bake about 20 minutes more or until filling is heated through. Makes 4 servings.
Ideally, each shell is one serving. If you find squash like I do, it'll be 2 servings, so again, weigh your squash to check size. Enjoy!