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I have a food blogger confession. Truth be told, I used to be terrified of the spaghetti squash. I would gracefully cast my eyes aside as I passed them in the market figuring if I didn’t see them, well then, I couldn’t possibly feel guilty about not cooking them.
My irrational fear was mostly over how to cut up the little beasts without lopping off a finger. I have, after all, been known to sport a rather alarming knife cut or two after my cooking experiments. How could I, a food blogger, not know how to expertly slice up these beauties to reveal that delicious buttery interior?
This year, I promised myself that I would conquer my fear. I embraced my challenge with gusto and faced it head on. I just roasted the entire squash whole – no knife yielding required. Surprisingly, this worked beautifully. The flesh inside steamed to a delicate softness. Fear overcome, I have been cooking spaghetti squash all season. I can now split one of these beauties with one hand tied behind my back. This delicious, versatile and nutritious squash is great in everything from casseroles to sautés and as a worthy replacement for pasta. (Great for all you gluten-free readers out there.)
There are a number of simple ways to cook the spaghetti squash. As I mentioned, you can roast it whole. Just toss it in the oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for about an hour until soft. If you try this method, please be sure to use a small knife to prick the squash all over before roasting so it doesn’t burst.
Once cooked and cool enough to handle, just cut in half and scoop out any seeds. You are left with gorgeous golden strands. I most often cut it in half, scoop out the seeds (which I sometimes roast as well), and roast it cut side down to caramelize the flesh as I did in this recipe. Surprisingly, you can even microwave it. Again, be sure to also prick the squash prior to microwaving so it doesn’t explode. Give it a turn midway. You should be good to go in about 15 minutes.
This recipe combines an easy sauté of some fresh local chicken sausage, kale and sundried tomatoes with the roasted spaghetti squash. Although the roasting took about an hour, active cooking time was only about 30 minutes. Add the squash to whatever you can sauté from the fridge for a quick dinner. And remember – do not fear this wonderfully nutritious and versatile vegetable. It is so worth the effort. Buon appetito!
Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Sausage, Kale and Sun-dried Tomatoes
1 large spaghetti squash
2 tablespoons olive oil plus more for drizzling
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound sausage (whatever type you wish), casings removed
3 large shallots, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
¾ cup oil packed sun-dried tomatoes, julienned
½ cup dry white wine
1 bunch kale, tough stems removed
Freshly grated Parmigiano
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Halve the squash lengthwise (carefully!) and scoop out all the seeds and stringy bits. Drizzle a baking sheet with olive oil. Drizzle the squash with olive oil and rub all over the surface. Sprinkle the cut side with salt and pepper. Place the squash cut side down on the baking sheet and roast in the oven until very tender – a good 45 minutes to an hour. When cool enough to handle and using a fork, shred the squash and remove the strands from the shells. Set aside. Discard the shells.
While the squash is roasting, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the sausage and cook until browned, breaking up the sausage with the back of a wooden spoon as it cooks. Remove the sausage from the skillet to a bowl using a slotted spoon. Set aside. Drain all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the skillet.
Over medium heat, add the shallots and garlic to the skillet and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Add in the sun-dried tomatoes and cook until heated through. Add in the wine and cook until reduced, about 5 minutes. Return the sausage to the skillet and stir to combine.
Roughly chop the trimmed kale. Add to the skillet and cook until they begin to wilt and soften, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Add the spaghetti squash to the pan and sauté briefly until heated through, about 1 minute.
Remove the pan from the heat. Sprinkle with grated Parmigiano and serve!
Joe and Michele Becci are a brother and sister team who love all things Italian. Together, from opposite coasts, they co-author the blog OurItalianTable.com.