I’ve known about using spaghetti squash in place of pasta for some time now, but never tried it. The other day I saw spaghetti squash on sale at the market and decided to give it a go.
I was surprised by how tasty it turned out. At times I’ve tried to make healthy versions of popular foods but they did not turn out tasting as I would have hoped. That was not the case this time.
Spaghetti squash has a wonderful texture and light flavor, perfect for union with a hearty tomato sauce.
Even my partner, an Italian American who likes to eat bread, pasta, and other carb-laden foods, said he did not miss the pasta and wolfed down the whole dish in minutes.
1 spaghetti squash, usually around 3 pounds in weight.
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
6 garlic cloves, sliced or crushed (or more if you’re a garlic lover)
½ a large onion, finely diced
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 large basil sprig
1 bay leaf
1 cup crimini mushrooms sliced thinly
I really like pasta sauce with mushrooms, bay leaf, and crushed red pepper. Feel free to leave any of them out or add something you like that I haven’t included, like oregano.
Step 1. Cut spaghetti squash lengthwise into two halves. Coat each half lightly with olive oil and place on a baking sheet. Most recipes say to bake squash face down, I do it face up so that I can easily take a fork and check how done the squash is.
I usually set the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit and check on the squash after twenty minutes. Then I keep an eye on it, taking it out of the oven at the moment the fork can slide through, so it’s a bit ‘al dente.’ I don’t enjoy mushy squash.
Step 2. While the squash is baking make the sauce.
- In a pan on low heat stir the onions in about 1 tablespoon olive oil until they’re translucent, and then add the mushrooms. Cook until mushrooms are soft.
- Add the crushed tomatoes, garlic, bay leaf, 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, and pepper flakes. Stir and then let simmer on lowest heat with cover on for about 15 minutes.
- If the sauce is a bit runny, let it cook with the cover off to thicken.
- At desired consistency, turn off the heat and stir in basil leaves.
Step. 3 Use a fork to separate the squash into long strands. Transfer them to a plate and top with the sauce.
If you like, you can grate some cheese over the top as I did.