Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Testing Out Spaghetti Squash

I have heard over and over about the benefits of spaghetti squash.  I even bought one with all intentions of cooking it, giving it a test run.  Unfortunately, it sat on my sideboard for so long, I felt it was no longer viable and threw it out.   THEN, I saw a recipe pop up on my Facebook feed that looked SO DELICIOUS, I went to the grocery store and picked up the ingredient.  "Spaghetti Squash Au Gratin."  Doesn't that sound delightful?  Okay, it didn't turn out looking like the picture posted, but home made recipes never do! At any rate, I want to share this recipe with you and maybe you'll give a try yourself.  It is seriously easy to make.

First I took my spaghetti squash, chopped it in half--okay, Matt did it, I didn't have the arm power--and cleaned out all the seeds and gunk.  Some people save the seeds, roast and eat them.  

You can see that I made the cut VERY cleanly and for a good reason.  The thing that most confused me about the squash was how to cook it.  Someone recommended steaming it, but that didn't make sense to me if I wanted to retain a supposed spaghetti look.  Honestly, I didn't believe the squash looked like spaghetti, but I was willing to try it out.  So my cooking method was this: 

I cut the squash cleanly in half, stuck it in a small casserole dish with a bit of water on the bottom.  I also put a bit of water in the squash and put the halves perfectly back together.  Then I microwaved it like so for 20 minutes on high.

NOTE:  In the picture you can see we didn't touch the stem.  I left it on in order to seal the squash properly together for the microwave.  In the future though, I'm going to find a different way to cook it.  I've never been a huge fan of the microwave rays.

Scraped out and ready to be cooked!

This is post microwaving. 

Then I took an onion, thinly sliced it, and cooked it in some butter with fresh thyme and pepper flakes for extra zing.

From what I read in the recipe, it said to take a fork and rake the cooked squash out of it shell, claiming that it would resemble spaghetti if done properly.  I didn't believe it...

Well, now I do.

I then stirred in the cooked onions/butter into the spaghetti squash, added cheese and sour cream, then baked it in the oven for about 20 minutes.

It was delicious! I'm sold on spaghetti squash and I'm sure it's now going to be a staple in my kitchen!  I am trolling Pinterest looking for more easy recipes and will be testing out new methods of cooking the squash while retaining it's spaghetti appearance.  

My only complaint with the dish (and it was my fault) was that I didn't cook the squash long enough in the microwave and it was a bit crunchy upon eating.  Because it was my first time cooking this type of squash, I was unsure on how to know if it was completely cooked.  A hint:  the more cooked it is, the deeper yellow it will become.

Try this recipe out! It's easy and yummy AND healthy :) 

Spaghetti Squash Au Gratin

1 medium spaghetti squash
2 tablespoons butter
1 small yellow onion, cut in half and very thinly sliced
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes, or more if you like it spicy
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
½ cup sour cream
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese

Cut the spaghetti squash in half and remove the seeds. Place in a covered dish with a ¼ inch of water and microwave for 10 -12 minutes. In a medium sized skillet over medium heat, add the butter, onions, red pepper and thyme and cook until the onions are slightly brown in color. Salt and pepper to taste.
Using a fork, scrape the insides of the squash and transfer to a small bowl. Combine the squash, onions, sour cream and half the cheese together and mix well. Transfer the mixture to a buttered baking dish and top with remaining cheese.
Place into a 375ยบ for 15 – 20 minutes until golden brown on top.

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