Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Have you met my friend? (spaghetti squash pasta)

Do you know about spaghetti squash? It almost looks like a big yellow mellon and if you saw it in the market and didn't know how to prepare it, spaghetti squash may seem pretty daunting. To back track just a bit, when I was preparing for the cleanse, and making a bunch of vegetables to use throughout the week, spaghetti squash was high on my list. Because we weren't going to be eating any actual pasta, and because tomato sauce with veggies is real flavorful, compared with eating a lot of vegetables and rice. Basically spaghetti squash is named that for a reason, its insides get very stringy in a uniform, non-gross way, when cooked, much like spaghetti. This makes it a very nutritious substitute for pasta.

How to cook Spaghetti Squash

* Bake It -- Pierce the whole shell several times with a large fork or skewer and place in baking dish. Cook squash in preheated 375?F oven approximately 1 hour or until flesh is tender. Or cut in half and place in a baking dish with about an inch of water in it, cover and bake for about 45 min-1 hour.

* Boil It -- Heat a pot of water large enough to hold the whole squash. When the water is boiling, drop in the squash and cook for 20 to 30 minutes, depending on its size. When a fork goes easily into the flesh, the squash is done.

* Slow Cooker or Crock-Pot - Choose a smaller spaghetti squash (unless you have an extra large slow cooker) so that it will fit. Add 2 cups of water to slow cooker. Pierce the whole shell several times with a large fork or skewer, add to Crock Pot, cover and cook on low for 8 to 9 hours.

Once the squash is cooked, let it cool for 10 to 20 minutes so it will be easier to handle, before cutting in half (if it wasn't already) and removing the seeds. Pull a fork lengthwise through the flesh to separate it into long strands. You can do these steps ahead of time, then prepare spaghetti squash recipes whenever the mood strikes.

Spaghetti Squash Pasta
Saute 1-2 cloves chopped garlic
1 chopped leek (or onion)
1 c. broccoli florets
1/2 red bell pepper chopped
1/2 zucchini, cut in matchsticks
1 c. mushroom slices
basil and oregano
s & p to taste
Once vegetables are sauted and softened pour 1 large can of muir glen tomato puree over vegetables
serve over cooked spaghetti squash

Voila Pasta and Sauce!