As the squash season starts we thought it is a good time to look at some of the more unusual squash and how to cook them. After all you may have one in your box this week!!
Spaghetti squash has string-like fibres within its flesh which, when fluffed up with a fork, look fairly similar to spaghetti. Hence why this squash flesh has earned a reputation as a pasta replacement.
Searching for ways to cook this squash reveal a range from making holes in it and boiling it in a small amount of water, baking it whole, steaming it and cutting it before roasting it. There is only one way that I think brings out the beautiful slightly nutty flavour and that is cutting it in half (lengthways, is my preference) and taking out the seeds leaving a bowl into which a small amount of oil can be added.
Take care when you cut the squash. Using a sharp knife, cut off both ends so that your knife has some softer flesh to start the lengthways incision. Turn the squash onto the most stable of the ends and carefully cut through the length of the squash.
Use any oil – olive, coconut or any of your choice – and spread it over all the visible flesh with a brush, before seasoning it with freshly ground salt (I use Pink Himalayan salt) and black pepper. Then place it flesh side down on a tray and roasting it in a pre-heated oven at 200˚c/400˚f or gas mark 6.
To make it easier to clean the tray place a sheet of parchment/baking paper on the tray first.
Squash come in all sizes and our biodynamic ones tend to be a bit larger at over 1kg. At this size they are likely to take approximately 40/50 minutes to cook, so that the flesh is softened and the outside is caramelised. I suggest checking the flesh with a fork from about 30 minutes into cooking.
When it is done, turn it over and to serve fork the flesh, either taking the flesh out to another plate or eating it whilst still in its skin.
As mentioned earlier this squash fibre is a great substitute for pasta so you can use it as the spaghetti upon which you place bolognaise or similar. It will probably come as no surprise to hear that it works well with typical Italian ingredients such as tomatoes, pepper, mushrooms and cheese – especially parmesan or vegan substitutes.
Roasted red peppers with cooked onions or shallots and spices such as turmeric or herbs such as oregano are a favourite of mine, sometimes with cheese or a vegan alternative using ground cashew nuts.
Have you a favourite way of cooking and eating this fabulous squash? If so, do let us know – perhaps by a post of Facebook, or a comment here on our Blog page.