by Rita Calvert, the Local Cook
What is it?
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 frequently found in today’s supermarkets. Higher in beta carotene, the orange variety is also bit sweeter than its paler brother. A four-ounce serving of spaghetti squash has only 37 calories.
Most squash termed, winter are actually harvested when the temperatures begin to cool and are also ‘good keepers’. This so-called winter variety is named for the strands which resemble spaghetti when cooked.
Choose squash that are heavy for their size and have a hard, deep-colored rind free of blemishes or moldy spots. Squash grow resting on the ground as a watermelon would, so don’t be turned off by the underside which resembles that of the watermelon. After all they don’t grow on velvet liners.
Sometimes I experiment and puncture the skin quite a few times with a fork and bake the squash whole at 375F for about 1-1 1/4 hour. Or halve the squash lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Place the squash halves cut side down on a heavy-duty rimmed baking sheet, and bake at 350°F until the strands of flesh separate easily when raked with a fork, 50 minutes to 1 hour. Taste a few strands: they should be tender. If not, continue to bake. No matter which cooking technique you choose, always rake the cooked strands with the tines of a fork.
My Test Kitchen:
As my squash test went the steamed spaghetti squash was easier to rake into shreds that the baked squash. The taste was quite similar to the baked version. Make sure to steam in a smaller amount of water rather than boil it so it doesn’t take on too much water and get mushy.
Store the raw whole spaghetti squash for several weeks at cool room temperature or even longer in a root cellar or cool garage with airflow.
- Toss the cooked Spaghetti Squash strands with olive oil and some fresh herbs like rosemary. Top with Baba ganoush or even a bit of hummus.
- Mix cooked spaghetti squash with a little egg and flour. Add fresh minced ginger, white pepper and sliced green onions (but no salt). Fry like a potato pancake and serve with soy sauce. Yum!
- Cook Spaghetti Squash by cutting in half and cooking like a pumpkin or butternut squash in the oven until it can be easily pierced by a fork. Gently scoop out squash ‘noodles’ and serve hot with red sauce or cooled like a noodle salad with your favorite dressing.
- Saute garlic and butter until the garlic is soft. Cut the squash in half and steam the squash until tender. Then separate from the shell by running a fork along the length of the squash to get spaghetti-like strands. Add to the pan and toss to coat with butter and garlic. Top the mound of strands with some plain yogurt, lentils, red onion and mint.
And try this great recipe for Vegetable Ragu on Spaghetti Squash.