Spaghetti Squash “Pasta” with Bacon, Mushrooms … and Squash

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It’s only after he spends the evening helping me put all this together that the Pie tells me he doesn’t like spaghetti squash.  Well, too bad.  I like it just fine.  And it’s a great gluten-free pasta replacement.  Plus it’s good for you and stuff.  Not to mention kind of cool.  This recipe involves a bit of pre-preparation, but then you can just toss everything together at the end and it looks like you planned it or something.

Start by preheating your oven to 400°F.  Put a cooling rack on a baking sheet and line it with BACON.  However much bacon you want. Alternately, you could fry this up, but I figured I’d do all the cooking parts at the same time, plus I needed the stove top for the other stuff.

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Take a spaghetti squash, cut it in half and scoop out the stringy bits and seeds.  Brush with olive oil, salt, and pepper and place cut side down on another baking sheet.  I also cut up another, non-spaghetti squash I had lying around and put that on the sheet as well.

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Shove the bacon and the squash into the oven.  Let the squash roast for about 45 minutes, until it’s all tender and smooshy.

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Cook the bacon, flipping halfway through, for 15 to 20 minutes, or until it’s as crispy as you like it.

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Gren tried being extra affectionate with the Pie in the hopes he might get some bacon.  His dastardly plot was unsuccessful.

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While that’s on the go, cut up some other vegetables.  I used an onion, cut into strips, and some mushrooms, sliced.

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I sautéed the mushrooms in a bit of butter and caramelized the onions in olive oil on low heat.

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Then I chucked the bacon (chopped) in the pan with the onions and mushrooms and left that on a low heat while I prepared the squash.

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I cut up the other squash into cubes and tossed that into the pan.

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Then I took a fork and went to work on the insides of the spaghetti squash.

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I love how it really looks like spaghetti.

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Then I chucked all that into the pan as well and tossed it.

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Added in a jar of basil pesto, gave it a good stir.

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Tada.  It ain’t pretty but b’y was it tasty. Especially with a bit of parmesan cheese dusted over top.

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Garbage Soup with Squash, Spinach, Beans and Barley

Don’t let the name of this soup turn you off: it’s just a moniker my mother applied to any soup she made out of what was left in our refrigerator.

This week I had leftover spaghetti squash from my earlier experiment, as well as leftover cavatappi pasta from our spaghetti night.  What to do . . . ?

The nice thing about soups is they’re dead easy.  I filled a large pot with water and set it to boil.  I added a few heaping spoonfuls of Knorr Vegetable Stock (I use the powder instead of the liquid because I usually can’t use a whole carton before it goes bad and I don’t like to waste it).

Let the soup simmer for a couple of hours on medium-low.

I peeled and chopped a large parsnip and a small turnip (actually a rootabega but who’s checking?) and chucked them in the pot, together with a handful of pearl barley and about a cup of dried white beans.  I also added about a cup’s worth of frozen spinach to the mix, as well as the leftover squash and pasta.  There was already a significant amount of basil in the pesto that was on the squash (as well as the hazelnuts and parmesan cheese), so I didn’t add any other herbs to the mix.  When we eat it we usually add salt and pepper to suit our individual tastes.

Once I got the soup boiling, stirring often, I turned it down to a simmer, medium low, for about two hours, until the beans were cooked and the rootabega was tender.

We ate it hot with tabouleh sandwiches, and it was great.

My dad got me these bowls for Christmas. I am Big Al.

I let the rest of it cool and ladled it into yogurt containers for storage.  I find the yogurt container is a good standard measure for freezing, as it contains about two full servings.

Yogurt containers are a good size for two servings.

Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Herbs

me: have you ever made anything with spaghetti squash before?

Cait: since i don’t know what you’re talking about, no

Cait: i think it looks so much like spaghetti that i’d be disappointed when it didn’t taste like spaghetti

me: it tastes like squash

Cait: of course it tastes like squash it’s a freaking squash

The card from my magic book.

The mysterious and elusive spaghetti squash.

I have always been intrigued about the physical properties of spaghetti squash, although until the other day I had never tried it.  We found a squash sale at Sobeys and decided to give it a whirl.  I wrangled up a recipe I had been keeping for yonks out of my magic book of recipes, and I went at it.

The recipe called for 4lbs of spaghetti squash.  My scale only goes up to 500g so I had to give it my best estimate.  It was supposed to serve 4, so I did some mental math and came up with two squash about the size of my feet (while this may not be a standard measurement for you, it works pretty well for me).

I may need a bigger scale.

Cut the squash in half lengthwise.  The recipe said nothing to me about removing the seeds and stringy bits so I left them in and I regretted it later.  I would recommend digging those suckers out with a grapefruit spoon or serrated knife.

Cut side up.

Brush the open squash halves with olive oil, then sprinkle with brown sugar, coarse salt, and ground pepper.

Cut side down. Don't worry about spraying the pan - the oil on the squash is enough.

Flip the squash halves face down on a rimmed baking sheet and chuck them in the oven at 400°F for 45 minutes.  Cool them, in the pan and on a rack, for 10 minutes after that.

Using a table fork, dig out the contents of the squash in stringy little bits – it really is amazing how much this resembles spaghetti – and put the contents in a large bowl.  Drizzle with olive oil, then add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of roasted chopped hazelnuts (fun fact: also known as filberts), 1/4 to 1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese, and 1/4 to 1/2 cup of chopped herbs (the recipe called for fresh cilantro, but I only had a tiny bit of frozen stuff, so I mixed it with some frozen pesto I had made and that was that).  I can assume that you would use any herb you had on hand, really.

Hazelnuts, Pesto, and Parmesan Cheese - my three favourite things.
The leftover squash shells.
Fork the crap out of that thing.

Toss and serve immediately.

I actually wasn’t too happy with this recipe.  The first negative was, of course, the left-in seeds, which, had they been properly roasted like pumpkin seeds, would have been awesome, but because they were still pretty raw, were actually kind of nasty.  I also didn’t feel that the hazelnuts added anything special to this recipe.  Next time, I would go with slivered almonds or pecan bits, for a milder, sweeter taste.  The pesto was excellent of course, but that’s because I have mad skills.  The leftovers were better the next day, but I think I will just chuck the remainder in some sort of minestrone and be done with it.  Recipe to follow, I guess.

Toss and serve.