Hi, I'm Jaden, a professional recipe developer, food columnist and food photographer specializing in fast, fresh and easy recipes for the home cook. Most of my recipes are modern Asian! About meFast, fresh & easy recipes for the home cook.
Monday, November 14, 2011
If you ask Nathan what his most favorite recipe to cook is, he’ll tell you, “p’skeddi squash and steak!” He’s taken quite a liking to p’skeddi squash, and we’ve never tried to correct his pronunciation of spaghetti squash, it’s just too darn cute! Though I can imagine one day, when he’s older and cooking a romantic meal for a special gal, calling it p’skeddi may ruin his chances of a second date.
Due to a little goof while gardening with 35 seed packets and 2 over-zealous kids, we planted 12 spaghetti squash plants in the garden, enough to supply our entire zip code with spaghetti squash for life.
Thankfully, the chickens have a taste for the leaves and the happy-yellow flowers – and we haven’t stopped them from consuming most of the spaghetti squash plants, so now we’re left with 3 plants, one of which is barely hanging on.
The hens are my heroes!
The fastest way to cook the spaghetti squash is to microwave it! If microwaving a solid, heavy squash intimidates you a bit, you can also bake the spaghetti squash in the oven, which takes an hour to do, but is just as easy.
You’ll take a sharp paring knife and carefully, very carefully, pierce the squash in several places all over. It’s a hard squash, so it takes a bit of effort to do this. I guess a better instruction would be to say STAB the squash. But do this carefully, k?! The squash is a round, rolly, hard object.
Microwave on high for 10-12 minutes, rotating the squash halfway during cooking.
After cooking, just let the squash sit there for a few minutes to cool down a bit. Put on some oven gloves and remove the hot squash.
I highly suggest a thick towel or oven gloves – remember you stabbed the squash? Well inside the squash is steaming hot squash and some liquid which may leak through the stab marks.
I use these Pit Mitts – okay, so I look like a dork, but they are amazing – soft gloves that actually fit my hand with rubber grippy grip lines all over. I highly recommend them as I’m not a fan of those traditional oven mitts that make you feel like you’re cooking with Barney the annoying purple dinosaur hands.
The squash should cut open very easily, with no resistance. If not, return it back to microwave and let it go for another couple of minutes.
Once you cut it open, it should look like this. Remove the seeds. If you’re only cooking for a small family, just use half the spaghetti squash, and save the other half for another recipe (see end of post for links to other great spaghetti squash recipes)
Use two fork to scrape out the strands of spaghetti squash. Try a piece of squash – if you feel like it needs to be cooked a little more, don’t worry – we’ll be saute’ing in a pan and you can cook the squash further in the pan. Just make a mental note that you’ll need to add a couple minutes of cooking time in the pan.
Okay, now it’s time to saute the rest of the ingredients – fresh basil, garlic and tomatoes.
Add in the spaghetti squash, toss with tongs. Season with salt, pepper and balsamic vinegar.
Throw in the cheese! Toss again.
Serve right away!
Spaghetti Squash with Tomatoes and Basil Recipe
If you're only feeding 4-6 people, I suggest cooking the spaghetti squash whole, then only using half of the squash when you're ready to saute with the tomatoes.
I like my spaghetti squash not too hard, not too soft. It shouldn't be mushy, you should be able to still separate the strands of squash.
Ingredients:1 spaghetti squash
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tomatoes, chopped
few basil leaves, chopped
salt and pepper
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup grated pecorino or parmesan cheese
1. Using a sharp paring knife, carefully pierce (I really mean stab) the spaghetti squash in a few places (about 6 slashes is good). Microwave on high for 10-12 minutes, turning/rotating the squash halfway during cooking. A fork should very easily pierce through the squash, if there is resistance - microwave for an additional 1-2 minutes.
2. Let squash cool for a few minutes before handling. Carefully (the squash will be steaming hot!), use a chef's knife to cut the squash in half, lengthwise. The squash should be soft and easy to cut. Remove and discard the seeds. Use two forks to scrape apart the strands of the squash. Compost or discard the skin.
3. Heat a large saute pan over medium heat with the olive oil. Add in the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add in the tomatoes and basil and cook for 2 minutes. Turn heat to medium-high and add in the spaghetti squash and toss. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle in the balsamic vinegar. Taste the squash - adjust seasoning and if the squash still needs a bit more time to cook through, cover and cook for 2 minutes. If the squash texture is perfect, toss in the grated cheese and serve immediately.
Moroccan Spiced Spaghetti Squash (Smitten Kitchen)
Recipe for Spaghetti Squash and Chard Gratin (Kalyn’s Kitchen)
Spaghetti Squash with Ricotta, Sage, and Pine Nuts (The Kitchn)
Spaghetti Squash with Sausage (White on Rice Couple)