Now that we are officially in the fall season, I thought I’d share a quick and healthy recipe using spaghetti squash. Although it can now be found in grocery stores year-round, spaghetti squash is typically harvested in early fall. Spaghetti squash is a nutrient packed, providing a good source of folic acid, fiber, potassium, Vitamin A and beta carotene. Spaghetti squash is also low in carbohydrates and calories, with only 7 grams of carbs and 42 calories in a 1-cup serving.
Spaghetti Squash “Pasta” with Olive Oil, Garlic & Red Chili Pepper
Prep Time: 10 minutes, Cook Time: 1 hr, 10 min.
1 medium-sized (approx 3 lb) spaghetti squash
1/4 cup good quality (plus a little extra for baking squash), first press olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes (adjust if you do not like it too spicy)
1/2 pound (medium or large) peeled raw shrimp (tails removed), optional
1 cup broccoli florets
Salt & pepper, to taste
Parmesan cheese (grated), optional
Wash and cut your spaghetti squash in half, length-wise. Scoop out and discard the seeds. Brush the squash generously with olive oil, then season with salt and pepper. Place squash in a baking dish with the cut side facing down. Place in a 375-degree oven for approximately 45 minutes, or until done. To test, pierce the exterior with a fork – if it easily punctures the skin, it is done.
Once the squash is done, remove from oven and allow to cool while you start prepping the rest of your ingredients.
Begin cooking the broccoli florets. I prefer to roast the broccoli in the oven, but steamed broccoli is fine too.
While the broccoli is cooking, saute the shrimp with a little olive oil or butter. Set aside.
Once cooled, you will need to remove the squash from its shell. Simply rake a fork across the inside of the squash to remove the flesh in stringy pieces, resembling spaghetti noodles.
Add the olive oil to the heated pan used for the shrimp. Heat the oil over medium heat, adding the garlic and red pepper flakes once the oil is hot. Stir constantly for just a couple of minutes. You do not want to brown or burn the garlic. Remove the pan from heat. To the olive oil mixture, add the spaghetti squash strands, broccoli and shrimp, and toss to coat. Salt and pepper, to taste.
For an added punch of flavor, add fresh grated parmesan once plated.
This is a great one to keep in your weeknight arsenal of recipes. You can easily cook the squash ahead of time and have dinner ready with only 20 minutes of hands-on time. Simply reheat the pasta with a little water in a covered saute pan or in the microwave prior to tossing with the olive oil mixture.
If you do not like spicy, consider substituting pesto or marinara for the garlic and red pepper mixture. The spaghetti squash is as versatile as regular pasta – be creative!