Cooking

Try Something New: Spaghetti Squash

I’ve tried spaghetti squash before, and really, it’s a very likable veggie. How can you go wrong with anything that can be served like a pasta? For me, once a food meets tomato or parmesan, it achieves hallowed status.

The problem is that I haven’t been able to convince the Tiny Kitchen Assistant that this is true. So how could I prepare the squash in a way that was palatable to preschoolers and adults, while simultaneously hiding the entire production process from him?

The answer came to me in a flash: it was renamed “Noodle Bake” and tossed with sauce and cheese. Genius!

Ingredients

  • 1 medium spaghetti squash
  • 1 cup pasta sauce
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, diced
  • Parmesan cheese to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat a baking dish with nonstick spray.

Wash and cut your squash in half lengthwise.

Spaghetti squash, cut in half.

Scrape out the seeds using an ice cream scoop or my favorite tool, the scraper that came with the pumpkin carving kit at Halloween.

The scraper is the easiest tool for scraping seeds from squash.

Place the squash in the baking dish, cut side down. Bake on the center rack until the rind can be easily pierced with a sharp knife. I start checking at 30 minutes, but most take approximately 45 minutes to cook.

Place them in the dish with their cut side facing down.

Remove the baking dish from the oven and allow the squash to cool at least half an hour. I speak from experience and say that this is a very important step if you still intend to have skin on your fingertips when you’re finished.

Scrape the cooled flesh with a fork. In one of those cool miracles of nature, the squash just shreds into spaghetti-like strands. I still think this is incredibly cool.

It really does look like spaghetti.

When you’re done, you’ll have a bowl of the shredded “noodles.” Toss with pasta sauce to moisten and coat. Layer the squash and mozzarella in a baking dish, and add a touch of parmesan on top.

It appears to be blurry in my oven. Wish I'd noticed that early enough to take another picture.

Bake for about 30 minutes, or until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbly. I like to finish mine off with 3 minutes under the broiler, but that’s completely optional.

The finished product: a saucy, cheesy, “noodley” bake, garnished with another dusting of freshly grated parmesan.

It looks like pasta. It tastes like sauce and cheese. Hooray for hidden veggies!

Results

“So, how do you like dinner tonight?” I asked the Tiny Kitchen Assistant. “I need to know for the blog.”

“Tell them that this one is perfect. And make it again!”

Score one for Mommy!

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