Last week I purchased two spaghetti squash and finally cooked one up last night to the sheer delight of my husband; the final product was vastly enjoyed.
The origins of the spaghetti squash are very interesting. Although one might assume that it was indigenous to North America, it was actually introduced to Japan in 1921 from a Chinese agricultural research facility. In 1936 this squash was introduced to North America but it didn’t gain popularity until much later. The name “spaghetti squash” pertains to the eerie similarity to spaghetti once the cooked strands are scraped from the shell.
The similarity ends there though. The nutrients and caloric intake vastly differ between pasta and spaghetti squash.
Your standard spaghetti has 221 calories and 42 grams of carbohydrates in one cooked cup. Our family is full of pasta eaters so I couldn’t even hazard how many cups of pasta we have consumed. On the other hand, spaghetti squash has 42 calories and 10 grams of carbohydrates in one cooked cup.
Although pasta has a higher amount of protein due to the increased carbohydrates, protein can easily be found in other healthier sources. The spaghetti squash is a great alternative for anyone on a low carbohydrate, paleo or diabetic diet.
There are a variety ways that the spaghetti squash can be prepared.
-roasted whole in the oven with skewer holes
-microwaved, cut in half-microwaved whole
-baked in water (for moisture)
I have tried both the microwave and the roasting option. For the recipe I will be posting, I opted to cut the squash in half and roast it as I have found it an easier way to determine whether it is done cooking.
Choose whatever method is best suited for you. I have found personally that roasting in the oven does bring out the best taste of the squash. You will find your squash is cooked through when the fork can easily pierce through the flesh and when the shell dents when some pressure is placed on it.
You made it this far! Now on to the recipe.
Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Parmesan and Basil White Sauce
A Healthy Alternative with Great Taste
- 1 spaghetti squash
- olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 TBSP butter
- 2 TBSP flour
- 1 cup milk
- 2 fresh basil leaves chopped
- grated parmesan
- Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees
- Cut spaghetti squash in half and scrape out seeds
- Brush squash with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste
- Place halves cut-side up in roasting pan/deep cookie sheet/casserole dish. (Another option is to place cut-side down in dish with water covering the bottom of the dish and cover with foil to keep squash moist and tender. Either option works.)
- Bake for 40-60 min depending on size of squash. To check whether the squash is fully cooked, pierce flesh with fork. When it goes easily down to the skin, it is finished cooking. Another tip is to push the skin with a fork–if it dents easily, it is done.
- While squash is roasting, in a small heavy pan create your roux: melt 2 TBSP of butter. Add flour and stir until butter and flour are well combined
- Add 1 cup of milk slowly to the roux, stirring frequently as it thickens
- Optional: add the fresh basil and parmesan (as much as you want) to the white sauce
- Once the squash is finished cooking, lift out of the oven and with a fork scrape the flesh off of the skin. The flesh will leave the skin in long spaghetti strands. Toss in mixing bowl with white sauce and serve with more fresh parmesan grated on top
- Do not be afraid to cook your squash longer if necessary. My biggest mistake has been moving the squash from the oven before it is completely cooked and having to eat it a bit crunchy. Fork a piece of flesh from it if you are not sure and try it out.
- Add garlic, rosemary or whatever other spice you enjoy to the dish. Spaghetti squash has a very gentle taste, so having a nice punchy sauce mixed with it is important.
- Prepare the white sauce when the squash is nearing completion. It doesn’t take much time to make and you will want it fresh and hot, poured over the squash.
Enjoy, my fellow chefs!