Spaghetti Squash with Marinara Sauce

It’s that time of year — winter gourds! Of course, you can find some squash year-round, but they’re definitely more affordable right now. I absolutely love the texture of cooked spaghetti squash, even more than actual spaghetti. But then again, I always used to like my noodles al dente.

Spaghetti squash and marinara sauce.

Spaghetti squash and marinara sauce.

One smallish squash (the ones we got were a little over 2 pounds, raw) makes 3 or 4 servings of cooked noodley goodness (depending on your serving size). That’s perfect for dinner for two and some leftovers for lunch.

We cut the squash in half lengthwise (some do it widthwise) and dug out all the seeds and seed-holding goo, like when you carve a pumpkin. (And like a pumpkin, you can roast the seeds.) I rubbed the insides with a little olive oil, sprinkled on some salt and pepper, and put them cut-side down on non-stick foil. I also made a couple of little foil wads and propped up one end of each piece, so air could circulate and the squash wouldn’t hermetically seal itself to the foil (even with non-stick, it can get a bit sticky).

Bake at 400° for 50-60 minutes, depending on size. (I think you can also microwave it in much less time, but I like the roasty flavor the oven gives. Also, it makes the house smell amazing this way.)

When that hour was nearly up, I got out the fry pan and sautéed some onions. Once they got soft, I tossed in a whole can of diced tomatoes, liquid and all. Some salt, pepper, basil (wish I had fresh, but dried had to do), thyme, oregano, and some chopped garlic near the end. It reduced at a simmer for about 10 minutes while the squash cooled to a point where I could handle it.

When the squash is cooked right, all you need is a fork. Scrape the tines of the fork across the meat of the squash, and it comes apart into spaghetti-esque strands. The first time you do it, it’s the coolest thing. Every time after, it’s stil pretty darned cool. Divvy up the strands, top with sauce, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Delicious!

Nutrition-wise: a cup of cooked squash (155 grams) has 45 calories; 10 grams of carb, 2 of which are fiber; and 1 gram of protein. But for those carbs, you’re getting a good dose of vitamins C, B6, niacin, and potassium. And for those of you who swing the other way, it’s also very low-fat (0.3 grams for that one serving).

Next time, I think we’ll try this with Alfredo sauce. Homemade, of course.

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