At the time the British food writer Jane Grigson’s Vegetable Book was published (1978), Spaghetti Squash was considered a newcomer on the vegetable scene. She found it an embarrassing name and preferred noodle squash or squash novella. It now seems to be taking the U.S. by storm, particularly in Paleo or low carbohydrate circles. It’s called spaghetti squash because the flesh, when cooked, can be scraped out of the skin and resembles strands of spaghetti.
I think the name is somewhat unfortunate as well; it is a type of delicious winter squash and deserves to be treated with more respect. The name suggests that you can substitute it for pasta and the www abounds with lovely pictures of using it in lasagna or with a red sauce. I’ve tried it and don’t think the flavor mixes well with tomato sauce, just my opinion. It looks good with the runny cheese (as you can see below) but that’s where it ends. We didn’t like it that much. Any kind of cream sauce, or sautéed mushrooms or chicken is a different story.
Ms. Grigson suggests poking a hole in the stem end and boiling. I prefer to cut it in half, remove the seeds, and bake it (flesh side down) at 400 degrees F for 30-40 minutes. The time will depend on the size. The squash should retain some crunch but be easy to separate from the shell with a fork. If you intend to stir fry it, let it drain on paper towels in a colander for a few minutes. Otherwise it can be watery.
This is what I consider a ‘non-recipe’, just a loose set of directions rather than a strict ‘how-to’.
Spagetti squash with mushrooms and pesto
- 1 pound of mixed mushrooms, wiped with a paper towel and sliced
- 3 tablespoons of butter
- 2 shallots, diced finely
- 1/4 cup of pinenuts, briefly browned in a dry skillet
- 4 tablespoons of pesto sauce
- Optional, a couple of tablespoons of heavy cream
- Few cubes of fresh mozzarella
- Freshly grated Parmesan
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- Prepare the squash as above, baking at 400 degrees, cut side down.
- When slightly cooled, shred the strands with a fork into a collander lined with a dish towel or paper towels. Leave to drain while you prepare the mushrooms.
- Melt the butter in a skillet over medium high heat.
- Add the mushrooms and saute the liquid is gone and they begin to brown.
- Add the shallots and continue to saute for another 5 minutes until softened.
- Add the cream, pesto and squash to the skillet. Turn off the heat, add the mozzarella, and warm all briefly before turning out onto warmed plates.
- Top the the pinenuts and additional grated parmesan.
I’m going to take this to share with Angie and the gang at Fiesta Friday, sponsored by the Novice Gardener. Please come join the party and sample the delicious food.