The spaghetti squash and I have just made a pact. It will never again pretend to be actual spaghetti lurking beneath my marinara sauce; and I will happily eat it up with tasty partners such as sesame oil, ginger and garlic – or my new favorite: butter, sage and truffle. Though mom & I agree now that squash is a sneaky agent to make many dishes more healthy & delicious for the squash sensitive, as a child I saw right through the marinara disguise. Spaghetti squash is not sneaky. There is no getting around the texture, much different than regular squash that, well, “squashes” up nicely with a fork once cooked. After cooking a spaghetti squash its texture is like strands of al dente pasta, still a bit crunchy and perfect for stir frying with just a few flavors to showcase its uniqueness.
And nutritionally speaking, the spaghetti squash is your friend – Vitamin A, heart-healthy potassium and fiber, and very few calories per serving (21 calories per 1/2 Cup). Look for it at farmers markets or your local cooperative grocery store (PCC). It will be the big, oblong, bright yellow one in the squash bin. It should have fairly smooth & shiny skin, and be heavy for its size.
Somehow all the foods that haunted my plate as a child have been reincarnated as delicious treats! Thanks mom! I can only hope that someday I too will frighten my own young children with squash, tomatoes and tofu.
Spaghetti Squash with Sage and Truffle Oil – Serves 4-6
*Ingredients that are grown or produced locally
*1 medium – large Spaghetti Squash
2 tablespoons Butter
*1/2 teaspoon Dried Sage
1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt
*1/2 – 1 teaspoon Truffle Oil (Fungus Among Us)
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Wash the Spaghetti squash and poke about 10 holes all over the skin. Place in a large baking dish and bake for 30 minutes, turn it over, and cook for another 30 minutes. Check the squash for doneness by piercing with a fork. The outer skin will be like a hard shell by now, but once you get the fork through that, it should pierce the flesh easily. If the inside is still hard, bake for another 15 minutes & check again.
Now pour yourself a glass of wine and relax while you let the squash cool until you can handle it. When cool, cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds and gooey strings in the center. Now get a fork & use it like a small rake to pull out all the spaghetti-like ribbons of squash and place these in a bowl. Compost the squash skins and seeds.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat, then add the butter and melt. Add 4 Cups of the spaghetti squash (you may have more than this from a large squash – save it for later or double the recipe!), 1/2 tsp sage and 1/4 tsp sea salt. Cook this, stirring occassionally for about 5 minutes to warm it through and absorb the butter. Take it off the heat & stir in the truffle oil. This is strong stuff, so start with 1/2 tsp and taste to see if you want more. Enjoy!