When picking out a squash at the grocery store, you do not necessarily reach for the largest one. One small spaghetti squash can feed about four people. Instead, focus on picking out a squash that has a rich yellow color to ensure ripeness.
To prepare the spaghetti squash, you place it in the microwave for 3 minutes or so to make it easier to cut into. Some people just microwave the squash to cook it entirely, but I believe that roasting it in the oven is the best way to cook it. To open up the squash you carefully cut it in half lengthwise using a large, sharp knife.
The seeds should be scooped out of the squash with a spoon, similar to a pumpkin. Also similar to a pumpkin, the seeds can be preserved and roasted if you like. After scooping out the seeds, you drizzle the squash halves with olive oil and any desired seasonings, place on a baking sheet, and roast for almost an hour.
Once the squash is soft and can be poked with a fork, you can shred the insides to get the spaghetti-like strands that the squash is named for. You might want to wait until the squash has cooled down enough to handle, or you can use an Ove-Glove, which I secretly love.
I like to make spaghetti squash about once a week because I can do so much with the roasted squash. One night I can make it with pesto, the next night as a slightly more elegant meal in the form of shrimp scampi.
The shrimp scampi takes under twenty minutes to make. This bright and lemony dish is perfect for cold wintry days. Mix the spaghetti squash into the buttery sauce for a delicious and filling dinner.
- For the "pasta"
- 1 spaghetti squash
- Extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried basil
- For the shrimp scampi
- 8 oz. shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 3 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Zest of half a lemon
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place squash in the microwave for 3-4 minutes to soften. Using a sharp knife, cut the squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out the seeds and discard. Place the halves, with the cut side up, on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with seasonings. Roast in the oven for 45-50 minutes, until you can poke the squash easily with a fork. Let it cool until you can handle it safely. Then scrape the insides with a fork to shred the squash into strands.
- After removing spaghetti squash from the oven, melt the butter and olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add in the garlic and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Then add in the shrimp, salt, pepper, and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Cook for 5 minutes, until the shrimp is cooked through. Remove from heat and add in desired amount of cooked spaghetti squash. Toss with lemon juice and zest. Top with parsley to serve.
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