I’m hopping on the “Spaghetti Squash as a pasta substitute” train. Many of my friends had parents that made spaghetti squash as a pasta alternative during their childhoods; but mine didn’t. I never actually ate spaghetti squash until I was well into my 20′s – closer to 30 actually. And it just so happened to be my mom who made it the very first time I enjoyed this squash. I can’t really recall what sauce she served over it (something tomato based I believe), but I do remember thinking it was extremely tasty. There was still a slight crunch left in the squash; and it was a delight to have some actual flavour in the “pasta” rather than solely relying on the sauce to make my taste buds dance. This was at least 2 years ago. The first time I prepared spaghetti squash on my own was later in 2012. Finally.
You would think that going gluten free would have meant that I would have cooked up this hearty vegetable sooner than I did; and often. What a great, healthy substitute to the semolina pasta I deeply missed. Nope. I was driven to explore other pasta substitutes instead. Only in the fall – with the abundance of squash in the stores – did I finally throw a spaghetti squash into my cart. I enjoyed the earthy and slightly sweet flavour of the squash when I had eaten it previously; so when I first made it at home, I wanted to serve it with a “sauce” that was subtle, and that would highlight the taste of the squash. Bright lemons and salty parmesan were the sidekicks I chose to pump up the nutty sweetness of the squash; and it’s become a hit in our home. The best part: everything comes together in just a little over 10 minutes.
Parmesan Lemon Spaghetti Squash
Sauce is adapted from Everyday Italian by Giada de Laurentiis
1 3lb spaghetti squash
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup parmesan, grated
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Cut the spaghetti squash in half. Place enough water in a large microwave-safe dish so it comes up at least one centimetre. Place the squash, cut side down, into the dish. It doesn’t matter if all the sides aren’t touching the bottom; this is simply to steam the squash. Microwave for 10 minutes. Check the squash to see if it’s cooked through – if not, put back in the microwave 3-5 minutes at a time. The squash is cooked when it comes away from the rind easily with a fork. Once cooked, remove the squash from the dish and allow to sit for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, zest the lemons; you need approximately 1 Tbsp of zest – set aside. Then combine the olive oil, parmesan, salt and pepper and the juice from the 2 lemons in a small bowl. Set aside while the squash continues to cook.
Using a fork, scrape out all the spaghetti squash into a bowl (careful, it may still be piping hot!). Pour the lemon sauce over the squash, toss together with the lemon zest and parsley.
We ate this with Giada de Laurentiis’s Shrimp Fra Diavlo from Everyday Italian.