Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Super Simple Spaghetti Squash

Sufferin' succotash, that's a lot of S's, Sylvester!  It could have been worse.  I could have gone all Cindy Brady on you, using the "she sells seashells by the seashore" tongue twister.  As it was, I couldn't think of a better name for this.  It tastes super.  It's very simple.  And, it is spaghetti squash, so you're just going to have to deal with it!

I know that I have mentioned my love of squash before, but I don't think I've really expounded on spaghetti squash.  "Oh, great," you're thinking, "she's going to write an essay about another vegetable."  Okay, maybe I don't need a lengthy speech on the virtues of spaghetti squash.  Perhaps I can sum it up with a few lines, starting with the following question.  How can you go wrong with a squash that masquerades as a pasta?  For those that are trying to cut carbs out of your diet, but love pasta, this is a very healthy alternative.  You can top it with your favorite pasta sauce, and feel a lot less guilt.  No, it doesn't taste like spaghetti, it is still squash, after all, but give it a try.  One of our favorite ways is to make a tomato sauce with Italian sausage, and top the squash with it.  Add a little mozzarella sprinkled over it and put it in the oven to bake for a bit.  Mmmmm, that's good stuff!  Another great thing about it is how truly simple it is to prepare.  This recipe showcases that to perfection.

Although my husband likes the pasta sauce topped squash the best, tonight's recipe is my very favorite way to prepare it.  It doesn't pack a strong flavor punch, but revels in being understated.  No one flavor is a breakout, but they all work together to become something superb.  Fresh sage or dried sage leaves really are the key because squash and sage go hand in hand.  To quote Forest Gump, "They're like peas and carrots."

Here's your Cast of Characters.

1 Small spaghetti squash
2 Tablespoons, each, olive oil and unsalted butter
2 Teaspoons minced garlic
2 Teaspoons chicken bouillon granules
1 Teaspoon McCormick Perfect Pinch Garlic & Herb seasoning
2 Teaspoons freshly ground pepper
1/2 Teaspoon Lawry's season salt
6 - 8 Fresh sage leaves, or dried leaves, crushed
2/3 Cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided

Preheat oven to 400.  Spray a medium casserole with nonstick cooking spray.  Boil spaghetti squash in a covered pot, half-filled with a water, for 25 minutes until tender.  Cut in half and scoop out the seeds.

You can already start to see the "spaghetti" strands!

Use a spoon to go around the edge of the squash, separating the flesh from the skin.

Once you have both sides done, take 2 forks to pull the strands apart, like you are shredding pork or beef.

Place in your prepared casserole.  Add all but 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese.

Stir gently to combine.  Top with remaining 1/3 Parmesan cheese.

Cover and bake for 10 minutes.  Remove cover and continue cooking for another 10 minutes, or until heated through and cheese is melted.

Look at the pieces of garlic and sage!  And, the ooey, gooey melted Parmesan!  Now that's what I'm talking 'bout!