Spaghetti Squash Marinara

Spaghetti Squash Marinara

Spaghetti squash is a yellow somewhat oval winter squash. Once baked, the flesh comes out in strings, hence the name as it looks like spaghetti strands. It is delicately flavored—not at all like pumpkin, butternut or acorn squash. Because of its mild, almost tasteless flavor, it is very versatile and its cooked strands can be added to soups, vegetable sautés or made into a cold “pasta” salad. Below are two ways I prepare it during this time of year.

  • 1 large spaghetti squash
  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 2—4 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 tsp crushed red peppers
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • ¾ tsp dried oregano
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 15-ounce can diced or whole tomatoes
  • Parmigiano Reggiano or Romano cheese as needed

1. Preheat oven to 350°. With a small paring knife, poke a few wholes into the whole spaghetti squash. (No need to cut any winter squash in half before baking. Just poke holes in them for the steam to escape while baking.) Bake for 60 minutes, or until soft.

2. Remove from oven, cut in half lengthwise and let cool a bit.

3. Meantime, in a sauté pan, add the olive oil, minced garlic and crushed red peppers. Turn heat to low and let the garlic cook very slowly.

4. When light golden, add the basil, oregano, salt and tomatoes. Break up the tomatoes either with a fork, your hands or if you want, give them a whirl in your food processor.

OPTION: If you don’t like tomatoes or don’t eat nightshade vegetables, omit the tomatoes for a mildly seasoned side dish.

5. Cook tomatoes and herbs over medium heat till flavors blend, about 10 minutes.

6. Once squash is cool enough to handle, scrape out and discard the seeds. Use a fork to remove the stringy flesh to a bowl.

7. Add spaghetti squash strands into the sauce in the sauté pan. Stir to mix.

8. Grate the Parmigiano or Romano over the dish, as desired. Or omit if you don’t eat dairy.

Serves 4—6.

Lesa Heebner