As I drive around rural Northern Indiana I’m noticing a couple of things. First, the leaves are starting to change and the colorful fall landscapes are emerging over freshly harvested fields. The reds, yellows and browns create some of the most beautiful scenes mother nature has to offer and are one of my favorite things to see since returning to Indiana.
Second, the once lush gardens from this summer are being tilled under and the final bounties are being taken in, which means one thing – we're up to our necks in winter squash! I like one variety in particular - spaghetti squash. I use it as a light substitute for spaghetti pasta. I can wolf down a double helping without having to take a full-belly pasta nap afterward.
For this recipe, I roast spaghetti squash and toss it with fresh Parmesan cheese. For extra flavor, I include cherry tomatoes and Italian seasoning, creating a light and flavorful side that will compliment any main course, from meat off the grill to a roast from the oven.
BEHIND THIS BITE
|Spaghetti Squash Parmesan|
We have finally reached the end of the garden cycle. Over the last two months I have been inundated with free fresh food raised by friends and family – the winter squash is the final phase. I didn’t care for squash at all until I discovered spaghetti squash a couple of years ago and it wasn't until this summer that I found an acorn squash preparation that I liked. I think the key for me is surrounding squash with savory flavors rather than sweet, and dry roasting them in the oven.
I have never liked pumpkin pie and most of the time I had eaten any type of squash it was over cooked and loaded with sweet, which is a double whammy of yuck for me. Dry roasted with an al dente texture is the way I like it cooked and why I like to roast squash cut side up – cut side down creates a steaming action that makes the squash mushy if it is not monitored closely. The addition of bold flavors also helps to bully the flavor of the squash to the side, but I must say spaghetti squash in particular seems to have a natural savory flavor and I have grown to like it very much. Something I never thought I would be saying three years ago.
Eat well, cook often ...
|Spaghetti Squash Parmesan|
Serves 4; 50 minutes
1 Spaghetti squash, 4 to 5 lbs
1 C Parmesan cheese, fresh grated
1 pint Cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
Prepare, roast squash
Preheat oven to 375°. Cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Scoop out seeds, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Place both halves on a baking sheet, and roast in oven until cooked through, 40 to 45 minutes.
Remove squash from oven and scrape flesh into a large bowl with a fork. Add parmesan cheese, cherry tomatos and Italian seasoning and toss together until well combined. Adjust seasoning if necessary, then serve.