The following post was written by my mom, WWW. Thanks, mom!
Spaghetti squash was all the rage in the 70’s when Moosewood was published and the first big vegetarian movement took off. I tried cooking it once back then and never touched one again…until this week. Baby girl grandbabies have inspired me to try again. (They are the length of these squashes this week). And what I found out is that there are a few tricks to making spaghetti squash yummy. The first is you HAVE to pick out a yellow one, the yellower the better. If they are white or really pale, don’t bother with them…they will have no flavor whatsoever. The other trick is, bake them split in half with some olive oil on them to bring out their flavor (Cut side down is best). And…don’t over cook them…they will get mushy.
Larry’s favorite food is spaghetti and marinara sauce…it used to be spaghetti and meat sauce but since our veggie turn over, I have been making a meatless sauce that we actually like better. I was a little skeptical about serving him the same sauce on squash instead of pasta, but the word from Larry is: “I like this BETTER with the spaghetti squash!” If that isn’t a confirmation from a confirmed spaghetti-phile, I don’t know what is.
To save time, I use a good quality pasta sauce to start with and then add all of my goodies. This way, I don’t have to cook my sauce all afternoon and it turns out delicious! Years ago, we had a neighbor whose family was from Sicily. She taught me always to add a pinch of cinnamon to my marinara sauce. I know it sounds weird, but it does something really special to the sauce so I highly recommend adding it. I don’t like green peppers in my sauce, so I have left them out. Go ahead and add them if you want (sauté them first). Here is my very easy and delicious marinara sauce:
2-3 jars good quality marinara sauce
12 oz sliced mushrooms
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves smashed
½ cup fresh basil, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh oregano, chopped
1 pinch cinnamon
red pepper flakes (if you like it spicy)
red wine to taste
freshly ground pepper
Add to onions as you cook them. Add fresh basil, oregano, marinara sauce, cinnamon, pepper, and a splash or two of red wine (and red pepper flakes if you want them).
Bring to a boil and turn down, simmering until flavorful, about ½ hour. Adjust seasonings to your taste. Sometimes I add more garlic and wine towards the end of the cooking time. Serve over pasta or spaghetti squash (see below).
How to cook Spaghetti squash:
1 ripe spaghetti squash
Cook for about 30 minutes until cooked but not mushy.
Cool a little and then take a fork and scrape out the strands of squash onto a plate.
Serve with your favorite sauce, or simply toss with olive oil, fresh herbs, fresh tomatoes, and Parmesan cheese.