Spaghetti squash is one of those food items that I never purchased in my life until four or five years ago. I mean, like turnips or rutabagas, they are just too intimidating for a school night.
But, after going vegetarian I had to expand my horizons or be stuck with lentils for the rest of my life. Boy, am I glad I did. Spaghetti squash is not only delicious, it is also incredibly easy to make. Do not be intimated. The only hard part is cutting the damn thing in half.
- 2 Spaghetti Squash (for 4 servings)
- 1 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated
- 1 jar Tomato or Marinara Sauce (I like Trader Joe’s Rustico)
- 1 cup fresh Mozzarella Cheese, grated
- Approximately 3 handfuls of fresh Spinach, chopped
- 1 half of large, yellow Onion, diced
- 3 Fresh Tomatoes, diced
- 3 cloves of Garlic, finely chopped
- Olive oil, garlic salt, sea salt, pepper, basil (to taste)
- Roasted pine nuts (optional)
- Preheat oven to 375
- Wash the squash
- Slice in half (lengthwise)
- Remove seeds
- Rub insides with olive oil and garlic salt (optional)
- Place cut-side down on baking sheet
- Add water to baking sheet and bake at 375 for about 30 minutes
- Let cool, then scrape squash with fork to loosen strands
- Put squash “noodles” in medium bowl
- In pan on medium heat, cook onions and garlic in olive oil. Add chopped spinach. Cook until soft. Add jar of tomato or marinara sauce. Salt, pepper and/or basil to taste.
- Poor sauce over squash noodles. Add chopped tomatoes. Mix well.
- Add grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. Mix well.
- Spoon mixture into each squash cavity equally.
- Top with mozzarella and basil
- Put squash on baking sheet in oven. Do not cover. Bake 350 for approximately 30-45 minutes.
- Top with roasted pine nuts before serving (optional). Serve with salad or bread!
Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
Wash the Squash. Since you’ll be using the squash as a sort of serving bowl, be sure to wash it really well. And, by all means, remove the grocery store produce stickers.
Slice the Squash in half. Find a really big and sharp knife and cut the squash in half, lengthwise while trying not to mortally wound your body. If my husband is mostly sober, I often leave this step up to him. Otherwise, you can pop it in the oven for 10 minutes or so to soften the squash and make it easier to cut through.
Assuming you are not in the hospital after halving the squash, be sure to remove the seeds and gushy center. You can roast them like pumpkin seeds, by the way.
Bake for about 30 minutes. Place squash on a baking sheet – CUT SIDE DOWN. I usually rub a little olive oil or butter and garlic salt on the inside of the squash and fill the baking pan with a layer of water. Bake until tender – but NOT too tender since you’ll be popping this sucker back in the oven later.
Let Cool and Scrape. Remove from oven and let cool at least 20 minutes.
(For this reason, this is a great make-ahead meal. Bake the squash the night before, refrigerate, and then do the rest the next night.)
Use a fork to separate the strands of squash and place in a medium bowl.
Try not to eat the strands. They are delicious.
Lower the oven temp to 350.
Saute the garlic, onions and spinach on medium heat. In pan on medium heat, cook onions and garlic in olive oil. Add chopped spinach. Cook until soft. If your kids will eat mushrooms, they would make a nice addition to this recipe – but we haven’t been able to serve mushrooms in our house since 1999.
Add tomato or marinara sauce to the pan. I usually make my own sauce but since this recipe already includes so much prep work, I opt to save time and sanity by just using a store bought marinara.
Beware – as you probably know, most store bought tomato sauces are the spawn of the devil. So, my go-to choice is Trader Joe’s Rustico Pommodoro Pasta Sauce. It’s not filled with crap and has a very unique flavor.
Feel free to use your favorite sauce, unless it’s one of those heinous Ragu meat flavored things. If you do that I will never speak to you again. Add a little extra salt, pepper and basil now, if you want. The spaghetti squash needs it.
Combine sauce and squash in a bowl. Add fresh, chopped tomatoes. Mix well. Add grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. Mix well.
Spoon mixture into each squash cavity equally. Top with mozzarella and basil. Place on baking sheet in oven. Do not cover. Bake 350 for approximately 30-45 minutes.