Week 16: The Joke's on Pasta
As usual this time of year, summer can't decide if it's staying or leaving. We like it though, the hot days aren't as hot and the cool days are welcomed. Enjoy the early fall produce, new things are harvested almost weekly now.
This weeks focus is spaghetti squash! Although this is an early fall arrival at the farm, it is technically considered a winter squash. Unlike summer squash, which has a relatively thin edible skin and small edible seeds, winter squash has thick skin and large seeds, which can be made edible by toasting.
Spaghetti squash is the oddball of the squash family, getting its name because its flesh turns into long spaghetti-like shreds once baked. The best way to serve it is to shred it with a fork and serve as you would spaghetti. Although it doesn't actually taste like spaghetti, its mild flavor makes a suitable swap for pasta or rice and a nice accompaniment for marinara sauce, curries, or ragus.
Spaghetti squash has a wide variety of vitamins and minerals. Most notably vitamin C, vitamin B6, niacin, potassium, manganese, and even some calcium. This squash has a shorter production life on the farm but it stores wonderfully at home for up to 3 months.
Farm Tip: Don't refrigerate spaghetti squash! Refrigeration will make it spoil quickly. Instead store in a cool dry place.
HOW TO COOK SPAGHETTI SQUASH
There are several ways to cook a spaghetti squash: roasting whole or cut in half, microwaving, pressure cooker, or crock pot. A favorite is cut in half and roasted in the oven, which results in a less watery end product.
Cut the squash in half (lengthwise results in shorter strands, crosswise results in longer strands)
Scoop out the seeds (Farm Tip: Save the seeds for a snack! See below.)
Drizzle inside and outside with olive oil and spread evenly to coat with hands
Sprinkle with salt and pepper
Place cut side down on baking sheet
Roast at 400F until tender and can easily poke through with a knife (~30-60 minutes)
When cool enough to handle, use fork to scrape into strands.
Add more olive oil, salt, and pepper if desired.
SPAGHETTI SQUASH LASAGNA WITH BROCCOLINI
1 spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
1 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
1 bunch Broccolini, chopped
4 gloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp crushed red pepper (optional)
2 TBSP water
1 cup shredded mozzarella, divided
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
3/4 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1 pack sausage, cased or uncased (optional)
Cook spaghetti squash as outlined in recipe above, then preheat oven to 450F after removing the squash to cool.
Meanwhile, heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add broccolini, garlic, red pepper and cook stirring frequently for 2 minutes. Add water and cook stirring until the veggies are tender, 3-5 minutes more. Transfer to a large bowl.
Scrape squash from the shells into the large bowl with the veggie mixture. Stir in 3/4 cup mozzarella, 2 TBSP Parmesan, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper into the mixture. Divide between the shells and top with remaining mozzarella and Parmesan.
Place shells in broiler-safe baking pan. Bake on lower rack for 10 minutes. Move to the upper rack, turn the broiler to high and broil. Watch carefully until the cheese starts to brown, about 2 minutes.
Notes: This recipe is VERY versatile. Feel free to play around with the filling. Try adding cased or uncased sausage to the beginning of Step 2 and fully cook before adding the broccolini. Or try adding a cup or two or marinara or curry sauce. You can also easily add or sub veggies for the broccolini (e.g., bok choy, cabbage, or kale).
ROASTED SPAGHETTI SQUASH SEEDS
Preheat oven to 350F
Rinse the squash seeds and separate from the squash flesh and strings
Boil seeds in salted water for 10-20 minutes until seeds visibly start to absorb the water
Strain seeds and add to a backing sheet
Bake until lightly browned, stirring every 5 minutes or so. Typically 15-20 minutes total for spaghetti squash seeds which tend to be on the smaller side.
Note: Great little extra snack courtesy of spaghetti squash!
Until next week, see you all at the farm! Stay awesome.