Yeah, so I am one of those people with a food allergy. My body has some sort of immune response to gluten. Not celiac, but still annoying. When I used to go out for Italian food, I always thought it was the garlic and onions that gave me indigestion and a stomachache. I’ve traveled to Italy several times for vacation and work, and while there, I blamed any tummy troubles on the fact that I ate gelato, nutella, panini, prosciutto, cheese, and pretty much anything else I could get my hands on all day, then ended the night with a lot of red wine and a huge meal (usually pasta) eaten at 9pm. I guess it was the pasta.
While I don’t keep a complete gluten-free diet (I was told I didn’t need to do that), I do try to keep my wheat consumption down. Except when I am craving pancakes. Or a Boli from Stuff Yer Face. If you don’t know what I am talking about, Adam Richman from Man v. Food will help you understand why I have to give in sometimes.
So enter the Spaghetti Squash.
While not an exact replacement for pasta, it does give a similar look and feel, and provides a great vehicle for all of the yummy sauces I like to make. Those recipes will follow. Right now, it’s just the basics.
My friend, The Half-Baked Housewife, likes to use the microwave method. I haven’t tried it yet, but I am sure it works great. I have always cooked it in the oven. It takes longer, but you don’t have to pay attention to it for at least the first half hour, and I like the little bit of caramelization it gives. A lot of times I will get the squash cooked while The Bug is napping, and throw it in the fridge. Then at dinner time, I just reheat it in the sauce, if that is the type of recipe I am doing, or throw it in a ceramic baking dish, covered, and warm it in the oven or microwave.
1. Preheat your oven to 400ºF.
2. Wash your spaghetti squash.
3. Hack it in half with a large knife.
4. Scrape out the seeds and the fine, stringy gunk (I use a soup spoon).
5. Place both halves facedown on a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with olive oil or cooking spray.
6. Put the baking pan into the preheated oven.
7. Bake for 30-45 minutes (depending on the size of your squash, maybe a bit longer if you have a really big one), or until the outside is slight browned, and the flesh is soft enough to be scraped out easily with a fork. I usually start poke it with a fork around 30 minutes, and then keep an eye on it if it isn’t ready.
8. Scrape out the “noodles” with a fork (or two).
9. Serve with your favorite sauce and enjoy!
Full disclosure: The squash I used for the “prep” photos is not the same as the one that provided the “noodles” for the last photo. The first one I baked up more resembled a broken-strands-of-angel-hair squash. Not what I was going for, though tasty sauteed up for lunch with a little olive oil, salt and pepper.
Even if you aren’t gluten-free, I hope you’ll give it a try. It is very healthy, tasty, and a great way to work some more veggies into you or your picky kids’ diets. And that is never a bad thing.