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Spaghetti Squash with an Italian Twist

Posted Jun 28 2009 9:01pm
N ormally, I don’t watch the Food Network because something about the cooks just don’t seem realistic enough for me. If I do find myself watching the channel, it usually would be shows like Unwrapped, Secret Life Of.., Iron Chef, or Ace of Cakes. Rarely would I ever sit down and watch Paula Deen anymore, or heaven forbid, Emeril Lagasse. The one day I was babysitting and nothing else was on television besides Ina Garten, I surrendered. The episode was excruciating, but, I survived only because I believed in the principle that she expressed: “I like my lunch to feel light enough to be lunch but heavy enough to feel like I had lunch”. For once, I actually agree with that 100%. Lunch, to me, needs to be substantial enough for me to be full till dinner time or at least hours until I can get a snack. Here, down in the south, things are done a little differently.

On more than one occasion, lunch seems to be a big meal as in lunch at grandma’s house where she prepares the works from meats to cake, buffets, steakhouses – no. The only reason why I cave to buffets is that I whore the salad bar because I am a salad freak. Fresh, raw ingredients on a plate - heck yeah! Other than that, I love light lunches as in a baked potato and a salad, an omelet, salad, or, again, something not to sit heavy on my stomach. I think this is a habit I need to break in Phillip. Alas, when I get my own home, my own kitchen…

I’ve mentioned spaghetti squash beforehand and explained its versatility. The only problem is that it is hard to find a ‘my size’ squash. Spaghetti squash has a very one for one taste as zucchini which indicates its classification of being a summer squash – delicate, easy absorbent to an assortment of flavors, and very versatile. For many gluten free chefs, it is considered a candidate to substitute for pasta; however, you must remember it is still a vegetable. Why? Well, for one, it cooks like a vegetable. Roasting it, in my opinion, is the best process but you can also boil or microwave it as well. Second, there are no carbs in a summer squash, so, there has to be some source of substantial starch as well as protein to round out the dish and this is where I went: a crusty top baked spaghetti squash with Italian seasonings. It was simple. It was light. It was delicious. I had lunch, felt like I had lunch, but have room for dinner and then some.

Molto bello.

Italian Style Crusty Baked Spaghetti with Egg
½ small spaghetti squash, roasted and gingerly removed from its skin
½ cup tomato sauce
1 boiled egg, chopped
A handful of rice crackers, crushed

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

Sauté the onions until soft. Spray a small baking dish or casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray and then add the squash with the onions to the dish. Spice the sauce with the garlic and basil then pour the sauce over the onions and squash. Sprinkle the cracker meal and egg on top of the squash mixture and then to assure the top gets that crispy crust, spray quickly with nonstick cooking spray.

Bake for 15 minutes and then broil for 5 or longer if you wish. Let sit for a few minutes before eating, or, like a true Italian that enjoys cold spaghetti, eat it cold. You could also add cheese if you aren’t lactose intolerant or add a tablespoon or so of soy parm.

Another suggestion is to nix the crusty top and just pour the mixture on top of toast and enjoy. The options and suggestions are only limited to your creativity, especially when it comes to squash.

And, you know, I should change my name to Squash Queen as opposed to Asparagus Thin..heh.
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