The promise of fall and spaghetti squash joys
I am desperate for fall to arrive. It officially began September 22 this year, but you wouldn't know it. Summer heat continues, with average high temperatures in the eighties, so my sweaters remain tucked away, the air conditioner continues to run throughout the afternoon, and my thoughts of warm autumnal foods remain just that. Thoughts.
Happily there is one super simple, light fall squash dish that doesn't seem terribly out of place in this unseasonal weather: spaghetti squash with butter, parsley and parmesan. A dish so easy it requires only a quick description rather than a formal recipe. A dish that allows me to cook and consume a vegetable in season, without feeling heavy and weighed down. Plus, it's fun - the cooked flesh pulls away from the yellow skin in long, willowy strands that wrap perfectly around a fork. Mild in flavor, I think spaghetti squash shines when paired with these light ingredients, but it's sometimes tossed with tomato sauce, a dieter's stand in for the more caloric pasta.
I like to roast the squash in a medium oven, but you can cook it in the microwave if you're in a hurry. If you opt to nuke it, split the squash down the middle, remove the inner guts and seeds, and cook with 2 tablespoons water on a microwave safe plate for about 10 minutes. Microwaves differ (as do squash), so it make take a little more or less time. When the squash is soft and the strands pull out easily, you're good to go. They will retain a little crunch when cooked.
Spaghetti Squash with Parsley and Parmesan
1 spaghetti squash, weighing about 3 pounds
3/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 cup parsley, grated
3-4 tablespoons of butter
freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Pierce the spaghetti squash several times all over with the tines of a fork. This will allow steam to escape during cooking - you don't want it to explode in the oven. Bake until soft, about 1 hour. Remove from the oven and split in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon, then use a fork to pull the spaghetti-like strands away from the skin. Place the strands in a bowl, toss with the remaining ingredients, and season with salt and pepper to taste.