I have a food blogger confession. Truth be told, I used to be terrified of the spaghetti squash. I would gracefully cast my eyes aside as I passed them in the market figuring if I didn’t see them, well then, I couldn’t possibly feel guilty about not cooking them. My fear was mostly over how to cut up the little beasts without lopping off a finger. (Ok, I have been known to sport a rather alarming knife cut or two after my cooking experiments.) How could I, a food blogger, not know how to expertly slice up these beauties to reveal the delicious buttery interior?
This winter, I promised myself I would turn a blind eye no longer. I would conquer the spaghetti squash. My first shy glances turned into actual stares as I passed the pile. And then, it happened. I placed one in the basket. I could feel it taunting me. Well, I took the little beast home and faced my fear head on. I just roasted the entire thing – whole :-)! No knife skills required! It worked beautifully. I was eating those buttery squashy strands in about an hour. It did allow me to overcome my fear however – and since that early winter day, my relationship has evolved to one of awe and gratitude for its delicious, versatile interior. I now can split one of these beauties with (almost) one hand tied behind my back. So, if you too shy away, I suggest you take a deep breath and slip one into your grocery cart. Roast it whole or microwave it even (just please put some slits in its exterior first so it doesn’t explode.) One taste of those buttery strands will hook you as well.
As winter (hopefully) draws to a close, I can report that we have eaten our fair share of spaghetti squash this winter. It is so incredibly deliciously versatile. I have served it as a replacement to spaghetti (duh), roasted simply and served with butter and cheese (yum) and with all sorts of toppings from beans to shrimp. Here I added sautéed fresh local chicken sausage with whatever I could find in the fridge – kale and sundried tomatoes in this case – yet another snow day meal! Although the roasting took about an hour, active cooking time was only about 30 minutes.
Roasted Spaghetti Squash with Sausage, Kale and Sun-dried Tomatoes
1 large spaghetti squash
2 tablespoons olive oil plus more for drizzling
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound sausage, casings removed
3 large shallots, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup dry white wine
¾ cup oil packed sun-dried tomatoes, julienned
1 bunch kale, tough stems removed, roughly chopped
Freshly grated Parmigiano
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Halve the squash lengthwise (carefully!) and scoop out all the seeds and stringy bits. Drizzle a baking sheet with olive oil. Drizzle the squash with olive oil and rub all over the surface. Sprinkle the cut side with salt and pepper. Place the squash cut side down on the baking sheet and roast in the oven until very tender – a good 45 minutes to an hour. When cool enough to handle and using a fork, shred the squash and remove from the shells. Set aside.
While the squash is roasting, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the sausage and cook until browned, breaking up the sausage with the back of a wooden spoon as it cooks. Remove the sausage to a bowl using a slotted spoon. Set aside. Drain all but 1 tablespoon of fat from the skillet.
Over medium heat, add the shallots and garlic to the skillet and cook until soft, about 3 minutes. Add the wine and cook until reduced by about half. Toss in the sun-dried tomatoes and cook until soft, about 1-2 minutes. Add in the kale and cook until it begins to wilt and soften, about 5 minutes.
Return the sausage to the skillet. Stir to combine. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Add the spaghetti squash to the pan and sauté briefly until heated through, about 1 minute.
Remove the pan from the heat. Sprinkle with grated Parmigiano and serve!