I’d heard of these things called ‘spaghetti squash’ but had never seen them in person.
Sad, but true.
Maybe it’s because things like this are seasonal here in Germany, or maybe they’ve always been buried beneath the mounds of decorative gourds that invade like martians every autumn.
Whatever the case, I paused when I read the sign ‘Spaghetti Squash,’ causing a mini-stau in the narrow aisle.
Actually, there were three placards and therefore three different types of squash for my consideration. I could have quickly googled it on my iPhone, but sometimes, I like to do things the old-fashioned way. So I stood there pondering the squash, while people bumped past, giving me the stink-eye.
Butternut was an easy one since, being the only type sold at our commissary for what seems like years on end, I had previously purchased it for my red lentil stew. The other squash was small, round and green, and thus, I could not imagine what type of so-called spaghetti could come from it. The buttery color of the third made it a prime candidate. Proudly, I scooped up the only two yellowish gourds and hoped for the best.
Upon returning home, a quick google search showed that I had chosen wisely. After reading a number of cooking blogs and realizing that I was too lazy to stand there and boil the things, I sawed them lengthwise in halves, cleaned them, placed them face down on a cookie sheet, wrapped them in foil, and left them to fend for themselves in the oven at 400 degrees.
20 minutes and a pan of pasta sauce later, a new family favorite was born.
2-3 spaghetti squash, halved. As with most squash, it’s hard to cut these bad boys raw. You can just toss them in the oven and clean them later, but I never have enough
patience time for that sort of thing. So, as any good mom would, I had my teenage son cut them for me. It’s good training for him.
Clean out the seeds and gunk in the middle, and wrap the gourd halves in foil. Place on a cookie sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes (depending on how big they are, and if you like them softer or more al dente).
After baking, you’re ‘supposed’ to let them cool, which means I plunge right in, trying not to burn myself on the hot gourds whilst scraping the steaming innards with a fork.
Though the actual name of the gourd was a subtle form of foreshadowing, nearly every person in the house (myself included) exclaimed, “It looks like spaghetti!”
I tossed the stringy meat of the squash into a big bowl and served it hot with pasta sauce.
If you’re in a rush for time, you can simply dump a jar of organic, gluten-free, sugar-free, vegan pasta sauce over it, which I know you always have on hand. But to make this dish truly live up to its vegelicious name, make your own sauce.
The Raw Materials
6-8 tomatoes plucked from your pesticide-free garden, chopped
1 large sweet yellow onion
6-8 white mushrooms, sliced
1-2 red peppers chopped
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 large zucchini, chopped
1 large yellow squash (I didn’t read the placard on that one, though I’m sure it has an official name), also chopped
2 tbsp tomato paste
water or tomato juice, as needed (I ended up adding one large can of organic diced tomatoes with the juice)
1/4 -1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
1-2 tbsp dried oregano
1 tsp cumin
1 dash red pepper
Any other kind of spices or veggies you like
Water sauté the garlic and onion on medium-high until translucent, adding water as needed to prevent sticking, and then add the red pepper.
Saute for 2 minutes and then add mushrooms.
When the peppers begin to soften (about the time you can smell them 2-3 minutes later), add the tomatoes.
Keep adding small amounts of water or tomato juice as necessary to prevent a smoking mess on the bottom of your pan.
When the tomatoes begin to soften and break into mush, add your spices, tomato paste, and enough liquid to make it look like pasta sauce. If it’s too runny, add more tomato paste and/or a can of organic chopped tomatoes.
Bring to a simmer then add your yellow squash and zucchini.
Simmer until the squash and zucchini are just beginning to soften, but remove from heat before they turn to mush (5-8 minutes).
Form your spaghetti squash ‘noodles’ into the most spaghetti-ish arrangement possible, leaving a divot in the middle. Fill the squashetti nest with your vegilicious pasta sauce, and garnish with freshly plucked basil leaves.
Topping this with some spicy Mrs. Dash (known as ‘Mister Dash’ around this house for some strange reason) and some Veggie Shreds (if you can find them), makes this the most Vegelicious Squashetti you will ever have.