Friday, March 31, 2006

Spaghetti Squash with Gruyere and "Bacon"

I have a bad habit of buying squash and letting them sit around for months. I find their variety, their colors and shapes, very appealing and, when I see them in the store, I want to take them home so they can look pretty in wicker baskets in my kitchen.

So yesterday, when I came home with three large squash (two acorns and a spaghetti) and realized I already had a butternut I still hadn't used, I knew I needed to take immediate action. I chose the spaghetti squash because I'd never cooked one before.

I have to tell you the transformation of the spaghetti squash from squash to spaghetti is completely miraculous. If you haven't cooked one of these, you absolutely must try it!

Here's the two cooked halves of the squash - all I've done to the one on the right is run a fork over it and whoa - you got spaghetti!

Why does this happen? The fibers in this squash are so tough that even with extensive cooking they don't break down, thus producing the spaghetti like strands.

The spaghetti squash tastes bland on its own, but responds just like spaghetti to sauces and flavors. We had the squash two ways, with a cheesy marinara sauce and with grated gruyere and Morningstar Bacon strip crumbles. Both were delicious. I preferred the gruyere and bacon version because it had a wonderful smoky depth that was strikingly different (the marinara version was more normal and pasta-like).

Spaghetti Squash
Preheat the oven to 375. Cut the squash lengthwise and scoop out the seeds and inner strands. Spray a cookie pan with light oil and place the squash cut side down. Bake for 45 minutes. Turn the squash over, add a dab of butter, and bake for an additional 10 minutes until the flesh is tender. Allow the squash to cool.

Take the squash and run a fork along the flesh. The squash will miraculously turn into spaghetti!

Warm the squash with butter or olive oil and salt and pepper.

1. Add grated gruyere and top with bacon bits.
2. Serve with marinara and Parmesan or feta.



Anonymous bea at La Tartine Gourmande said...

Lovely and unusual! Thanks for a great idea!

5:29 PM  
Blogger Fran said...

Love this squash. It is so good anyway you fix it.

6:54 PM  
Blogger Catherine said...

Hi bea and fran!

I'd love to hear how others add flavor to this squash. I did try mexican flavors (avocado, cilantro, jalapenos) and it paled in comparison with these other versions.

I thought it was pretty good with just butter and S&P (but plain it was pretty bad.)


7:18 PM  
Blogger nosheteria said...

I too have that problem of letting squash sit around forever. I convince myself that I will use them all before spring here. But when did spring actually begin? Two weeks ago. But...your spaghetti squash looks delicious.

11:02 PM  
Blogger Kalyn said...

If you grow your own spagetti squash and pick them while they are still small and green, they are also quite delicious cooked as a vegetable, just boiled and eaten with butter, salt,and pepper. My family has been doing this for years and we are always surprised it has not caught on more.

7:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My dear wife loves spaghetti squash, and I, well, don't. It's very cool how the flesh becomes ribboned upon scraping. I like the idea of gruyere. Maybe I just need to flavor it more strongly for my taste.

4:45 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

I have the same "buying squash and watching it sit" habit! But this recipe makes me what to run to the store and pick up a spaghetti squash. Thanks!

9:52 PM  

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