Basil Garlic Spaghetti Squash Recipe with Parmesan Cheese

This spaghetti squash recipe is one that my family really likes, and the kids prefer it with tomato sauce spooned on top.

This spaghetti squash recipe is one that my family really likes, and the kids prefer it with tomato sauce spooned on top.

I haven’t had an easy relationship with spaghetti squash. My mom used to make it for us when I was young and I was fascinated by the yellow squash that she would transform with a fork into golden pasta-like strands, and it certainly is much lighter and healthier than flour-based spaghetti.

However, every time I tried to make it, I had an almost impossible time cutting it in half to cook it, and it wasn’t worth the effort anyway because it turned out watery or flavorless, so I had almost given up.

But when we got some spaghetti squash in our weekly farm delivery I decided to give it another go, after doing some research online and with some encouragement from members of The Six O’Clock Scramble on Facebook.

Serve it with Garlic Parmesan Toast and Roasted Portobello Mushrooms.

Prep + Cook = 25 minutes

4 servings, about 1 1/2 cups

Ingredients:

  • 3 lbs. spaghetti squash (1 large or 2 small squashes)
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 shallot (use 2 cloves), or use 1/2 onion, finely diced
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic (about 2 cloves)
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup red pasta sauce (optional)

Instructions:

(Start the mushrooms first, if you are serving them.)  Pierce the squash several times with a metal skewer or the tip of a sharp knife.  Put it on a microwave-safe dish, cover it with a cloth towel, and cook it for 15 – 20 minutes on full power in the microwave, rotating and checking it after 10 minutes and then every 5 minutes, until it collapses or you can easily press in the skin with your thumb.  (Alternatively, bake the squash whole at 375 degrees for 50 – 60 minutes or put it in the slow cooker with a cup of water for 8 – 10 hours) (Meanwhile, prepare the garlic bread, if you are serving it.)  Wearing oven mitts, halve the squash lengthwise, remove the seeds from the middle, and scrape the flesh into a serving bowl, using a fork to separate the strands.

While the squash is cooking, heat a medium skillet over medium heat, add the oil, and when it is hot, add the shallots and cook it for about 2 minutes or until tender and are just starting to brown. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds until it is fragrant, and pour the mixture over the squash.  Top it with the basil and cheese and stir gently to combine. Season it with salt and pepper at the table, and serve it with additional cheese and/or pasta sauce, if desired.

Do Ahead or Delegate:  

Dice the shallot, peel the garlic, chop the basil, and grate the Parmesan cheese, if necessary.

Tip: 

Like pumpkin seeds, roasted seeds from winter squash make a tasty and healthy snack.  When you remove the seeds from the squash, remove the pulp and place them on a single layer on a baking sheet.  Season them with salt and pepper (or seasonings of your choice) to taste.  Lightly bake them for 15 – 20 minutes at 170 degrees or the lowest temperature your oven will go.  Roasting them for a short time at a low temperature helps to minimize the damage to their healthy oils.

Scramble Flavor Booster: 

Add 1 – 2 Tbsp. sliced kalamata olives or capers.

Side Dish Suggestion: Garlic Parmesan Toast

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Heat a small skillet over medium heat. Add the oil and garlic and cook the garlic for 30 seconds, until it is fragrant but not browned. Remove it from the heat. Slice the loaf of bread in half lengthwise (separating the top from the bottom) and brush the oil and garlic over the surface of the bread using a pastry brush.  Sprinkle 1 Tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese over each half, transfer the bread, crust side down, directly to the oven rack, and cook it for 7 – 10 minutes until it starts to turn golden brown on the edges. Cut into thin slices to serve.

Side Dish Suggestion: Roasted Portobello Mushrooms

Lightly rinse the mushroom caps.  Spray a baking dish just large enough to hold the mushrooms with nonstick cooking spray, and place the caps gills down in the baking dish.  Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  In a large measuring cup, whisk together the oil, vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, herbes de Provence or thyme, and pepper.  Pour the marinade evenly over the mushrooms, and flip the mushrooms twice, so the gills remain down.  Marinate the mushrooms for 10 – 60 minutes, if time allows.  Sprinkle the chopped onion around the mushrooms.  Roast the mushrooms and onions for 15 minutes.  Flip the mushrooms and bake them for 5 more minutes until they have shrunken slightly and are dark brown and tender.  Slice the mushrooms into thick slices before serving.

To make the mushrooms in the slow cooker, place the mushroom caps and onions in the slow cooker. In a measuring cup or small bowl, combine the marinade ingredients and pour them over mushrooms and onions.  Cook on low for 5-6 hours or on high for 2 – 3 hours.

Nutritional Information per Serving (% based upon Daily Values):

Calories 217, Total Fat 10.5g, 16.5%, Saturated Fat 2.5g, 12%, Cholesterol 5.5mg, 2%, Sodium 162.5mg, 7%, Carbohydrate 29g, 9.5%, Dietary Fiber 6.5g, 26.5%, Sugar 14.5g, Protein 5.5g

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