This Recipe Is: • Gluten Free •
If you’ve never tried spaghetti squash, this is your day! This is the recipe that makes people who’ve never ventured a nibble of spaghetti squash wonder how they shamefully wasted so many years of spaghetti-squash-eating-opportunities. No kidding. Gretchen and I have both watched it happen!
It’s. That. Good.
It’s the kind of recipe that gets passed from friend to friend to friend with murmurs of “Oh, my gosh! You’ve really gotta try this! You won’t believe it!”
Oh – and if you’ve already fallen in love with spaghetti squash, then you’re probably going to wanna kiss us both. (Gretchen and me. Not the squash and me, although I guess it’s really up to you.) Regardless, we just can’t wait for you to try this, no matter how many other ways you’ve eaten spaghetti squash before. Know why? Oh, come on! You know why …
IT’S! THAT! GOOD!
Now, all you spaghetti squash newbies need to know something right up front: despite what you may have heard, it truly doesn’t taste “just like spaghetti”! It tastes like … well … itself. Like spaghetti squash (go figure!). And you’re gonna love it!
My version is loosely inspired by the recipe my mother-in-law uses. (I begged her for it, and she’s always so nice to share – gotta love a good mother-in-law!) She wheedled the recipe out of a dear friend of hers who, for years, has been the head cook for the Presbyterian House, an inn at the Chautauqua Institution in New York. No idea where it came from before that, but I do know where this recipe is headed next … your dinner table! (Please, please invite me over …)
So how about a little spaghetti squash primer to get you started?
The hardest part here involves, you, a sharp knife and a little scuffle with the squash’s tough skin. Use your biggest knife, your fiercest determination, and a bit of caution (we like you with all those fingers!). Slice the squash laterally all the way around. (Whew! You did it!!)
Then scrape away the seeds and membranes just like you’re hollowing out your jack-o-lantern.
A little brush of olive oil and a sprinkle of some salt and pepper, and you’re ready to get cookin’!
There are several ways to cook a spaghetti squash, and you may have seen recipes that involve roasting or even steaming (my mother-in-law’s version of this recipe actually calls for roasting). But I wanted to give you a quicker, easier option that doesn’t require firing up your oven. The microwave does a beautiful job here!
While the microwave is working its magic, you just need to give some garlic and onions a quick sauté, add turkey sausage and then some tomatoes and seasoning. So easy!
By the time your squash is done, your sauce will be ready, and dinner will be on the table in a flash!
“But wait,” you say (a tiny bit of trepidation in your voice) … “How on Earth will I know if my spaghetti squash is ready?” No worries! Simply press it gently but firmly with your thumb. If you can make an indentation in the flesh – it’s done! If not, just cook it for a few more minutes and try that thumb trick again.
Now, for the magic of making spaghetti-like strands (that do not taste “just like spaghetti” – see above 😀 …). This is actually pretty cool, so if you have kiddos, or easily impressed friends, now would be a great time to gather them ’round.
You can either let the squash cool a bit until you can comfortably handle it with your bare hands (if you’ve got that kinda free time) or just use a hot mitt and get to it! Holding the squash firmly with one hand, scrape the flesh gently with the tines of a fork. It should fall easily away in gorgeous, golden strands! Ta-da!
Once you’ve scraped out your squash, all it needs is a little salt and parmesan before being topped with the delicious sauce you just created.
You know what I’m gonna say …
It’s. That. …
Oh, you get the idea!!! Enjoy!
- 1 spaghetti squash (3 1/2 - 4 pounds)
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese (grated or shredded)
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 cup diced sweet onion (about 1/2 a large onion)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 12 ounces sweet Italian turkey sausage
- 2 14.5-ounce cans petite diced tomatoes, drained
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
- extra basil and parmesan for garnishing, if desired
- Split squash in half lengthwise and remove seeds and membranes with a spoon. Brush the flesh of each squash half with ½ teaspoon olive oil, then sprinkle with ¼ teaspoon salt and a pinch of black pepper.
- Place squash, skin side up, in a 9x13 glass baking dish. Microwave on full power for 15-20 minutes, until tops give under pressure when gently poked. Let sit about 10 minutes until cool enough to handle (or handle with oven mitts), and then use a fork to shred squash into a large serving bowl. Add parmesan and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt and stir into squash just until combined.
- Meanwhile, while squash is cooking, heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Saute onion and garlic until onion is beginning to soften, about 3-5 minutes, stirring often so garlic doesn't burn.
- Add sausage and cook until no longer pink, stirring to crumble. Add tomatoes, oregano, ½ teaspoon salt and ⅛ teaspoon black pepper and simmer until heated through.
- Remove from heat and stir in basil.
- Pour sausage mixture over spaghetti squash and serve, garnishing with extra basil and parmesan if desired.
As it sits, spaghetti squash tends to get a little watery. You've got a couple of serving options to deal with that. You can always just spoon up the squash and sausage sauce, leaving the watery little puddle behind in the bottom of the bowl. Secondly, you can give the whole dish a good mix, stirring the strands of squash and the liquid right in with the sausage sauce. This definitely doesn't make for such a lovely presentation, but it tastes just as fabulous and incorporates the squash's liquid right back into the dish as part of the sauce.