I love walking through the produce department of box grocers. There is a never ending line of people in sweatpants and socks with sandals grabbing random colored things and looking at them as though they are trying to decipher some ancient code. Okay, okay, okay, that was very snarky of me. It happens in other stores, too, and it happens with other people (remind me to tell you the story of trying to describe over the phone what garlic looks like to a family member.) Regardless, it’s entertaining. But really, who can blame anyone? Some things in the produce department are crazy strange and might border on false advertisement!
Enter: Spaghetti Squash.
WTF is spaghetti squash? It looks like a malformed anemic pumpkin. Nothing at all about it looks like pasta. You try to find a recipe for how to use one and they all seem very simple, so long as you have the abilities of a safe cracker to break into this vegetable that is so challenging it brings to mind images of Fort Knox. After about 20 minutes of hacking at it, 4 cuts that borderline need stitches, and enough sweat to rival a Bikram yoga class, you throw the damn thing in the compost pit and chalk it up to a $3 long term investment in dirt because, it seems, spaghetti squash is, indeed, the flying spaghetti monster and makes just as much sense, so why not? Maybe the folks in the Walmart parking lot with aluminum foil on their heads have the right idea….
I’m here to tell you that there is hope for the spaghetti squash. Not only is there hope, there is love. There is love and awesomeness and even, I dare say, a bit of an addiction to the squashmonster to be had. Yes, yes I’m saying it, when someone dares to tell you the secrets to the Squash Monster Society, it becomes like smack. Or, well, since I’ve never done smack, it becomes good enough to use my patented phrase “So good it makes you wanna jump up and smack your grandma!” Yep.
I have many recipes, but I think this one is sure to hook you. Remember, the first taste is free! (no, it’s not. go buy your own.)
Also … I make this in two steps. I do the squash first and then do the other stuff later when I’m hungry.
1 spaghetti squash
2 Tbsp butter / olive oil / melted coconut oil (butter is best, really)
3/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp Xanthan Gum (or 2 tsp flour)
3/4 cup shredded cheddar
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella
1 Tbsp nutritional yeast
paprika, garlic, onion powder, cayenne, basil, WHATEVER YOU LIKE, and salt, and pepper to taste.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Cut squash in half. Now, this will seem like a nightmare, but there’s an easy way. Take a very sharp LARGE butcher knife (not a cleaver) and do the Norman Bates Psycho hack – point down – in the middle of one long side of the squash. Once the point is buried deep, start to pull the knife from perpendicular to horizontal, affectively cutting halfway through the squash. Turn it around and repeat on the other side until the squash opens in two. if this doesn’t work and doesn’t make sense, i’m sorry. find something on YouTube.
Once the squash is in 2 equal halves, use a spoon or fork to scrape out the seeds and the little bit of guts in the squash.
Place both halves cut side down in a glass baking dish. Use two if you have to (I do.) Fill dish 1/2 way with water.
Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven, remove squash from pan, let cool.
Watch Pop-Up Video for 3o minutes or so until you can handle the squash.
With a fork, use the tines to start scraping the walls of the squash into a bowl. Be amazed at how it looks like spaghetti. Keep going until you’re down to the shell. Compost the shell. Do this for both sides.
Let it all cool while you congratulate yourself on mastering the squash.
Cover and refrigerate if you’re going to be using later.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease a casserole dish (9 x 13 or slightly smaller.)
In a medium saucepan, melt butter (oils.)
Add milk and simmer.
Dust top with Xanthan gum (or dust with flour.)
Wisk like your life depended on it.
When the milk / butter starts to slightly boil, blend in spices to your liking.
Add cheeses, one at a time, continually mixing so it doesn’t get gloppy.
Remove cheese sauce from heat and pour into squash.
Blend thoroughly. Season again with salt and pepper.
Pour into prepared dish
Top with nutritional yeast and additional cheese
Bake for 40 minutes.
Serve and eat until you pass out cold with the most powerful foodgasm you’ve ever had.
It might or might not look like this:
Couldn’t show you a picture of mine unless you xray me, but it did look almost exactly like what you see over there.
So there you have it. Not scary. Not hard. Not grain. Pretty awesome, actually.