With spring officially here, the winter season and its best produce are finally on the wane, and it is now time to express my appreciation for the humble spaghetti squash, a vegetable I have grown to love in many dishes.
My first exposure to this vegetable was through either Seventeen or the now-dead Teen magazine in a diet and exercise section that promoted the squash’s health benefits, its relative ease of preparation and its resemblance to spaghetti when forking out the strands inside the squash (the latter being the biggest draw for me, naturally), but it was before I had any influence (or at least thought I had influence) on what my family ate. I’m sure now that if I told my mom that there was a vegetable that I wanted to eat willingly, she would have bought the first one she could, but as it went, I only was able to enjoy the glory of the spaghetti squash upon moving to New Haven.
Since then, the preparation has been relatively simple: halve the squash, poke holes in both the skin and in the flesh, and bake, skin side up on a half-sheet lined with foil, at 425 degrees for 30 minutes (check at 25, depending on the size of the squash and the desired doneness)–the squash should slightly darken in color and appear soft all the way through. Allow the halves to cool, then scoop out the seeds and discard, and use a fork to separate the threads of flesh and empty into a bowl.
Often we’ll throw the mess of squash into a pan with olive oil, garlic, and either basil or parsley–whatever fresh herbs you have on hand–and throw some Parmagiano-Reggiano on top; other times, Michael will make one of his quick-sauces from a can of petite-cut diced tomatoes. Either way, it’s an excellent way to get the flavor without the calories (squash is famously low in calories) but still get lots of fiber. An added bonus: no need for salad!