When spaghetti squash is cooked, the scooped-out flesh emerges in thin strings, like transparent strands of spaghetti. Its texture is crisp, its taste is mild, and it can indeed replace actual spaghetti in the recipe of your choice. This is especially good news if you’re searching for an alternative to pasta, either because you’re allergic to gluten or simply seeking a more nutritious landing pad for some delicious sauce.
Start to finish: 1 hour (30 active)
Servings: 4 to 6
1 ½ pounds zucchini
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
One 3- 3 1/2 pound spaghetti squash
1 ½ cups sliced onion
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups vegetable broth
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh sage, plus sage sprigs for garnish
4 ounces fresh goat cheese, crumbled
I ounce grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus extra for garnish
1/3 cup toasted pine nuts or nut of your choice
Coarsely grate the zucchini, preferably using the grating disk of a food processor, toss it in a colander with the salt and let it drain for 20 minutes.
Prick the spaghetti squash in 3 or 4 places with a skewer and microwave on high for 5 minutes. Cut in half crosswise and microwave for 5 minutes. Scrape out and discard the seeds and microwave again for 5 minutes or until the strands of squash are easy to scrape out.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet cook the onion in the oil over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until golden, about 8 minutes. Working with one handful at a time, squeeze the zucchini tightly to get rid of excess moisture. Add the squeezed zucchini to the onion and cook over medium heat, stirring for 3 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and reserve the skillet.
Let the spaghetti squash stand until it is cool enough to handle, then scoop out all the strands (you should end up with about 4 ½ cups). Add the vegetable broth, the sage and the goat cheese to the skillet and bring to a boil, whisking. Add the spaghetti squash strands, cover and simmer 5 minutes or until the squash is tender. If the sauce seems too watery, simmer uncovered, for several minutes or until the sauce has reduced. Add the zucchini mixture, the Parmigiano-Reggiano and salt and pepper to taste and cook 1 minute or until heated through. Transfer to bowls and top each portion with a sprinkling of Parmigiano-Reggiano, some of the nuts and a sprig of sage.