It was the last man standing. Well, actually, it was the last vegetable standing. After the snowfall that snuck up on us like a teenaged farm boy on an unsuspecting, sleeping cow (Do people actually go cow-tipping? Someone please educate this urban gal.), our lone spaghetti squash stood like a stalwart soldier amidst the wreckage of shriveled tomatoes and wilting basil leaves. Thanks to the suggestions of Twitter and Facebook friends, I slipped a piece of cardboard between the squash and moist soil earlier in its growing cycle to stop it from rotting. When my husband cut it from the vine a few days ago, it was a light sunshine yellow with barely a blemish. It was as though it was begging to be cooked and paired with items I associate with autumn – apples and toasted pecans.
One of the most traditional ways to serve spaghetti squash is under a ladleful of tomato sauce. This is a wonderful preparation, one I could never tire of. However, the fresh crispness of the vegetable lends itself to a variety of flavorful combinations. Some of our favorites are southwestern (with chipotle peppers and queso fresco cheese), Mediterranean-style (with feta, spinach and cannellini beans) and a version with Gorgonzola, dried cherries and Pecans. Don’t ask me to pick a favorite. I just can’t do it.
While spaghetti squash can be roasted in the oven like butternut or acorn squash, I like to take the cheater’s route on busy weeknights. Simply place the squash in a microwave safe dish and cook for about 15 minutes. Once the squash is cool enough, cut it in half, scoop out the seeds, grab a fork and start twisting. Out come the thin strands that give this squash its name. Pour in your favorite vinaigrette and toss with any variety of vegetables, cheese or nuts. While this works beautifully as a weeknight side dish, consider it for your next dinner party or as an addition to your holiday feast.
Using a large, sharp knife, pierce a spaghetti squash in several places. Place the spaghetti squash in a glass baking dish and cook in the microwave on high for about 15 minutes, turning the squash halfway through cooking.
Before handling, let the squash stand for 10 minutes. Cut it in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds and fibers. Using a fork, twist out strands of the spaghetti squash flesh and place in a large bowl. Cover and chill.
In a small bowl, whisk together, olive oil, vinegar and salt.
Pour the vinaigrette into the spaghetti squash and toss. Add cheese, pecans, cherries, and most of green onions, and stir well.
Serve and garnish with remaining green onions.
Other spaghetti squash recipes:
Cookin’ Canuck’s Southwestern Spaghetti Squash with Chipotle Peppers, Cilantro & Queso Fresco
Cookin’ Canuck’s Spaghetti Squash with Spinach, Feta & Basil White Beans
A Spicy Perspective’s Slow Carb Spaghetti & Meatballs
Family Fresh Cooking’s Bacon & Gruyere Cheese Spaghetti Squash
From the kitchen of Cookin Canuck. www.cookincanuck.com
- 1 (3 lb.) spaghetti squash
- 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp plus 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 2 medium Gala apples, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1/2 cup pecans, roughly chopped and toasted
- 3 green onions (white & green parts), thinly sliced
- Using a large, sharp knife, pierce a spaghetti squash in several places. Place the spaghetti squash in a glass baking dish and cook in the microwave on high for about 15 minutes, turning the squash halfway through cooking.
- Before handling, let the squash stand for 10 minutes. Cut it in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds and fibers. Using a fork, twist out strands of the spaghetti squash flesh and place in a large bowl. Cover and chill.
- In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, vinegar and salt. Pour into the spaghetti squash and toss.
- Add pecans, apples, and most of green onions, and stir well.
- Serve and garnish with remaining green onions.