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from a really average woman who lost 100 lbs.
and works every day to keep it off.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2003  

Vegetable Spaghetti
Sweet, crunchy, filling

My mom brought us dinner the other day. A very suspicious act.

Her incredible marinara sauce and a big tub of steamed spaghetti squash.

What gives here? I did nothing to deserve this. It came out of the blue. I can't go along with her "I cooked too much of this" explanation, because there was simply too much food.

I suspect she may be concerned for my husband's well-being now that I'm not cooking as much as I used to. He has dropped quite a bit of weight. She may have made up her mind that it's up to her to save him. This dinner was her rescue mission.

Am I shamed?

No. Not exactly.

Elbowing my husband aside, I dove into the squash, eating it with my fingers, cold, sauceless. Wonderful.

This is the season for vegetable spaghetti, one of the curcurbits, a potassium rich, fiber-full, low-calorie, filling squash. We grow it in this part of the world as a winter squash, and can find it in pale yellow and deep orange varieties in grocers and greengrocers everywhere.

But the first time we had it, back in the 70s or 80s, we considered it strictly diet food. Mom would cook spaghetti squash for us and pasta for the skinnier members of the family. While these sorts of substitutions often left me a little unsatisfied, the squash trick never did.

It's crunchy, sweet, and fun to play with, if you like to play with your food. And who doesn't?

But it's not strictly diet food. Spaghetti squash has gotten kind of hip, and today you'll find it served in the most elegant settings in some very surprising ways.

Try it cold, as I did, but using a plate and a fork if people are around. Later that night I dressed a bit in a grapeseed oil flavored with ginger then topped it with a little chopped basil. Perfect.

Or cook it up in your next frittata, an Italian omelet that you might normally make with regular pasta or potatoes. Skip those starches, and make your frittata with tomatoes, peppers, onions, and squash.

Use it as a nest for roasted meats, seafoods, and fishes. I've seen Emeril dress spaghetti squash with cinnamon and nutmeg to serve with pork. Wow.

Your kids will love it tossed with olive oil and parmesan cheese.

And of course use it to replace the pasta. Spaghetti squash is great with your marinara, Bolognese, or clam sauces.

To cook a spaghetti squash, just half the squash length-wise, and place it, cut side down, in a glass or pyrex chafing dish, with enough water to come about half way up the sides of the dish. Prick the skin all over with a fork. Cover with plastic if you're microwaving, foil if you're baking. Microwave, on high for two sessions of 5-7 minutes, turning between them. Or bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes. The squash will be soft, and the skin will give when it's done. Let it cool, then pull the spaghetti-like strands from the skin. Separate the strands with a fork or your fingers.

And then experiment with it.

Or offer it to someone who looks as if his wife isn't feeding him enough.


Read the label
Cooking with your kids
Spaghetti Squash ideas from

12 days left to support JuJu’s jog for the Canadian Diabetes Association in the Toronto Waterfront Half-Marathon. Every Little bit helps

Uncomfortable donating online? Here are phone numbers and mailing addresses for the Canadian Diabetes Association

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posted by Julie |
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