Hi Team! Mr. Cheese is off to fantasy football draft #2, so I took this opportunity to play around in the kitchen with my shiny new spaghetti squash. Well, it’s not so new anymore and as a matter of fact, I’ve already butchered it and scraped out its insides. Spaghetti squash is an almost effortless vegetable to prepare and is unusual to eat because when cooked correctly, it looks exactly as it is named – like spaghetti. The taste is light and gives a faint hint of almost fruity butter. It is also a very versatile vegetable and can be used as a substitute in most any dish that calls for pasta or noodles. It can withstand a sauce, being topped with meat or as a stand-alone with a touch of butter and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. My next stop? Spaghetti Squash Fritters! But not tonight, because my show is coming on. Ciao!
Spaghetti Squash with Italian Sausage, Sun Dried Tomatoes and Asparagus
- 1 large spaghetti squash
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 pound italian sausage, in links
- 1/4 red onion, fine dice
- 2 Tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes, julienned (cut to just about matchstick size)
- 2 cups asparagus, cut into bite-sized piece
Wash the squash and wipe dry, then split open length-wise. Scoop out the seeds and pulp inside, as if you would a pumpkin, though I don’t know how those seeds would taste, toasted. If you try it, let me know. Rub a very thin coat of olive oil on the squash, then sprinkle with salt and garlic powder. Place cut side up, in a casserole dish or oven proof pan with about an inch or so of water on the bottom. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes, or until you can easily poke a fork through the bottom, without force.
While the squash is baking, cut the sausage up into 4 pieces per link and cook in a frying pan over medium-high heat, covered halfway with water. Stir occasionally and once the water evaporates, cut the heat down to medium-low and let cook until browned all over, about another 20-25 minutes. When almost cooked, add the diced onion and cook through. About 2 minutes prior to plating, add the sun-dried tomatoes and stir, to heat through.
To cook the asparagus, heat the remaining olive oil in a saute pan over medium-high heat, then add the asparagus and sprinkle with salt. Stir often and keep an eye on these, they will cook quickly, within about 5 minutes or so, for al dente or to the bite.
Until I entered the world of cooking, I simply detested vegetables. As soon as I stepped into a professional kitchen, it all became clear to me. Most folks I knew cooked their veggies to a poor, pitiful pulp. This not only removes the flavor but will cook out most of the nutrients, as well. So if you are like me and enjoy your vegetables cooked just enough, but crisp and flavorful, watch that asparagus and once it looks and tastes done to you, remove from the heat.
When the spaghetti squash is done, let it cool for about 5 minutes first, then use a fork to pull apart the strings of squash from the insides. Outstanding!! You are ready to plate, but WAIT! If you have not tasted spaghetti squash before, take a taste. Don’t mix it with anything else first, just try it by itself. Pretty good stuff.