Spaghetti squash is a fantastic for those trying to move away from too many grains in their diet. The thin strands cook up perfectly in the oven and can be topped with a myriad of different sauces. At the cooking demo I went to the other day, the chef served it with a fresh Puttanesca sauce. Butter and curry also play nicely with this giant gourd. Here a simple preparation of earthy greens and bright lemon combine for a lovely lunch. You’ll never miss the pasta!
SPAGHETTI SQUASH WITH LEMON AND GREENS
1 large spaghetti squash (about 5-6 pounds)
1+1/2 tablespoons olive oil
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
a bit of stock or water
2 cups fresh greens, chopped (I used spinach here, but chard, kale or collards could all be used.)
the zest and juice of 1 lemon
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
a fist full of Italian parsley , chopped
parmesan cheese (optional)
red pepper flakes (optional)
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
Cut the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Place both halves, cut side down, in a large, rimmed baking sheet or dish. (You may need to utilize two pans depending on the dimensions of your squash). Add approximately 1/2 inch of water to the (or to each) pan and bake for about 45 minutes. The squash is cooked when the skin of the squash can be easily pierced with the tip of your knife. Remove the squash from the pan and allow to cool.
Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and cook for only about a minute before adding the chopped greens. It is key that he garlic not burn here so add a tablespoon or so of stock or water, if needed. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan and allow the greens to wilt. Add in the lemon zest and juice and season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Set aside.
Using a table fork over a large bowl, take each half of the squash and strip out the flesh of the squash. It will separate on the fork to form thin strands. Once all the squash is in the bowl, add the lemon-greens mixture and toss well. Adjust seasoning, if needed. Turn it all out onto a platter and sprinkle with freshly chopped parsley and parmesan cheese and/or red pepper flakes, if desired. Serve immediately.
VARIATION: When sweet cherry tomatoes are in season, slice a bunch in half and cook in the garlic oil for a minute or two before adding your greens.