Last summer we subscribed to a CSA (community supported agriculture), and every week we received a box with fresh, locally grown vegetables. While we’ve decided that we won’t be doing it again this year, we learned quite a bit from the experience. For example – it IS possible to have too much eggplant and kale!
One of my favorite new vegetables (I guess technically it’s a fruit, but we’re going to go with vegetable here) is the spaghetti squash. I’d never heard of it before, and actually didn’t even know what it was when we got it. I was skeptical about it, and was leery of tasting it the first time – but it turns out that it’s a great addition to our diets, and I’ve been buying almost one a week from the grocery store since the beginning of this year.
According to Wikipedia, the spaghetti squash contains folic acid, potassium, vitamin A and beta carotene, along with lots of other nutrients. One cup averages about 42 calories, and it’s super filling!
Preparing the spaghetti squash is similar to other squashes, but when you scrape the squash out of the rind, it comes out in rounded strands. I’ll post a picture after I scrape out my latest batch.
The hardest thing about dealing with spaghetti squash is that it’s ridiculously hard to cut, especially if you don’t have a sharp knife, or even the right type of knife. I did a little research, and found that it’s possible to cook it without cutting it first, but it takes quite a bit longer. I usually bake mine for at least an hour when cut in half, so I wasn’t really interested in upping the cooking time (in my life, anything that takes longer than an hour to cook is a rare thing on our plates!).
I found the easiest way for me to cut the squash is to cut it in half the short way first. I then scoop out the seeds, and cut the halves one more time. It shortens the cooking time slightly, but most of all I don’t feel like I’m going to chop my hand off in the process (and it doesn’t take just as long to cut as it does to bake).
My favorite way to eat the squash is just with a bit of Classico alfredo (four cheese or roasted red pepper) sauce mixed into it. I never would have thought of putting a cheese sauce on squash, but it tastes great and it’s better for you than pasta!
I’ve started to research how to store this so I’m not baking one up every week. Freezing seems to be the best route – I’ll update when I try it and when I use the first frozen batch!