Monday, February 20, 2012

taming of the squash

A long time ago, someone told me about "spaghetti squash". I had never had it, heard of it, or seen it and wasn't much of a squash eater. She described it as "just a regular squash that, when you cut it open, the inside is like spaghetti!"

I was intrigued, but never tried it. Recently, however, I bumped into a box of these large, intimidating squash at Whole Foods. I decided to pick one up (which was quite a feat because they are pretty heavy).

I forgot to take a picture of mine, but that's what they look like before you tame the beast, in case you stumble upon a bunch of unmarked squashes? squashi? sqeesh? what is the plural of squash, anyway?

After lugging it on the subway, I put it on my counter and there it sat for a few weeks. Good thing squash don't go bad quickly!

One day, I decided it was now or never but had NO idea how to crack this monster. Apparently, there are two ways to go about it.
1. Roast the whole thing and then cut it open
2. Cut it open and then roast it

...revolutionary, really.

I went for the latter, and took the sharpest knife I could find and dug in. It.wasn't.easy. Its a bit like carving a pumpkin, except not as fun and far more dangerous since it has no flat bottom to stand on and seems to slip every time you give the knife a good push...cute

Anyway, I got it open, split in half, VERY unevenly, but it didn't seem to matter.

However, once I looked inside, I was appalled to see that nothing inside it even resembled spaghetti. I was baffled, but upon a bit of research, found out this was okay.

Once you've conquered the beast and opened it, pull out all the slime and seeds, again, similar to the way you'd clean a pumpkin, except far less fun. Then,  stick it cut side down onto a baking sheet and put it in the oven, pre-heated to 375 degrees.

I let it roast for about 40 minutes, and honestly, had NO idea if it was done or not. I pulled it out and it looked practically the same as it did when it was un-roasted, except it now burned my hands and some of the pulp that I was too lazy to clean out was burned.

I held it over a bowl, ran a fork down the center, and I swear, the heavens opened and the angels sang. This stupid little wanna-be pumpkin who had tried to make me cut my fingers off, had just turned into SPAGHETTI. I was thrilled.  ecstatic. shocked. and then I wondered who on earth figured this out for the first time.

But either way, run your fork over the "meat" of the squash from end to end, stem to stem, until the whole thing is just an empty shell and you have a bowl of beautifully yellow spaghetti squash.

I ate mine with only some garlic and shallots, sauteed with olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper. I'm sure there are a million ways that this would be delicious, but I wanted my first spaghetti squash experience to really taste as squashy as possible.

It did not disappoint.

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