Tip #8 – Cutting open a spaghetti squash

If you’ve never tried spaghetti squash because you’re scared of cutting it open this tip is for you.  In the past I’ve used a sharp knife and carefully wedged the tip of the knife through the outer skin.  Slowly but carefully I add more pressure and increase the cut I’ve made.  The problem I have with this method is that I’m always scared the squash will roll and I’ll end up cutting myself.

A better method is using a  meat cleaver (ensuring that it is sharp) and cutting off one end of the squash making it as even as possible.  It doesn’t have to be a big slice as you don’t want to waste any of the flesh inside.  Repeat this process for the other end.  The reason I find this an easier method is because the surface area is smaller and you’re not cutting through a thick layer.   Once you have both ends cut off, stand the squash on one of its newly created flat end and proceed to cut through the squash from the top.   You will still need a bit of man power but this method provides you with more stability.  It also helps if you cut the squash on a lower surface so you’re not straining yourself and can put more energy behind it.

Spaghetti Squash with Diced Tomatoes and Goat Cheese

Out of all the variety of squashes out there, spaghetti squash is my favorite by far.  If you’ve never tried it I highly recommend it.

Herbed Chicken with Spaghetti Squash Topped with Tomatoes and Goat Cheesse

Herbed Chicken with Spaghetti Squash Topped with Tomatoes and Goat Cheesse

Spaghetti squash is high in nutrients, including folic acid, potassium, vitamin A, and beta carotene and is low in calories (Wikipedia).  Once it’s cut open, it contains many seeds similar to a pumpkin that you scrape out.  The interior flesh is solid but once cooked, the flesh is easily scraped with a fork into strands similar to spaghetti.  It can be used as a substitute for pasta, salads, or side dishes like the one I’m going to describe below (apologies for the blurry photos).

Ingredients
spaghetti squash
olive oil
salt and pepper

Tomato Layer
6-7 riped tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
1 shallot
fresh basil

Topping
goat cheese
fresh tarragon (optional)

Spaghetti Squash Topped with Tomatoes and Goat Cheese

Spaghetti Squash Topped with Tomatoes and Goat Cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 F.  While the oven is preheating, halve the spaghetti squash lengthwise and scoop out the seeds and membrane.  Drizzle olive oil over the prepared flesh and season with salt and pepper.  Place the squash cut side down on a baking sheet and bake for one hour.  While the squash is baking, dice up the tomatoes, garlic, shallot and basil.  Over medium heat, add a bit of olive oil in a pan and add the garlic and shallots stirring until fragrant, approximately 1-2 minutes.  Add the tomatoes to the mixture and cook until the majority of the tomato juice is absorbed.  Remove from heat and add in 1-2 teaspoons of fresh basil.  After the hour is up, allow the squash to cool  to allow easier handling.  Using a fork, scrape the flesh and stir a bit to evenly distribute the olive oil, salt and pepper you added in the beginning.  Using a food ring, add half of the spaghetti squash, top with the tomato mixture and top it off with crumbled goat cheese and a few leaves of tarragon for garnish.  Slide the ring off and enjoy!