Low-Carb Recipe: Spaghetti Squash & Marinara al fresca

24 May

 For a printable version of this recipe and complete ingredients listing, click here.

This is a good one for nights when you don’t think you can stand doing without pasta any longer. Granted, it’s NOT pasta, but with enough parmesan cheese, it will get you safely through another evening at home. 🙂

Begin by cutting a large spaghetti squash in half and scooping out any seeds or extraneously stringy or wet bits.

Place both cleaned halves face down in a glass or ceramic baking dish, if they’ll fit. (If not, and you’re like me, you’ll have to soften them one at a time.)

Add water to the face-down squash until about 1/2″ deep in the bottom of the dish. Cover with plastic wrap if desired (not entirely necessary if you ask me).

Clean that yucky stuff out of the hollow middle.

Nuke it until tender; about 8-10 minutes in my microwave, but everyone’s microwave is different so begin checking early if you’re not certain.

Cook squash halves rind-side-up in a shallow layer of water.

(You can alternatively cook the halves rind-side-up at 375 degrees for 30-45 minutes in the oven, but still put a little bit of water in the pan bottom.)

MEANWHILE, warm a small amount of butter in a skillet over MEDIUM burner heat.

Sliver half an onion and add to skillet. Chop 2 zucchinis and throw in the skillet; sprinkle heavily with garlic powder and oregano (about 2 teaspoons each).

Stir often to judge texture. (You don't want it to turn into mush!)

Saute vegetables in butter just until zucchini barely begins to soften, then add 2 drained cans diced tomatoes to the mixture.

Add cocoa powder to marinara mixture.

To marry flavors, add about 2 teaspoons cocoa powder and stir mixture often until simmer is reached; then reduce heat to LOW or WARM settings until ready to serve. Salt to taste.

Chef’s Note: You’ll need less salt for this dish if you add it to the sauce rather than the cooked squash. Trust me.

Remove squash from oven or microwave; flip halves over to reveal the steamed inside flesh.

Using a fork, begin scraping the cooked squash away from the rind in quick motions. It should separate into small, firm strands about the size and texture of al dente-cooked vermicelli pasta (thin spaghetti).

Toss squash with oil, garlic and lots of parmesan.

Scrape squash strands into a large bowl. Once both rinds have been emptied, toss “spaghetti” with a couple of tablespoons oil, another teaspoon or more of garlic powder, and about 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese.

The perfect disguise.

(You need a lot of parmesan to overcome the “squashy” flavor and fool your mouth that it’s pasta, so make sure if you’re low-carbing it that there isn’t any starchy filler in your grated parmesan cheese.)

Spoon coated squash strands into bowl, top with the skillet vegetable mixture, and cross one more evening of diet-induction madness off your calendar! 🙂

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5 Responses to “Low-Carb Recipe: Spaghetti Squash & Marinara al fresca”

  1. Rheannon May 24, 2010 at 6:52 PM #

    I’m pretty excited about this. I tried spaghetti squash once, we were so so about it. This sounds like a great way to give it a second chance though.

  2. redforkhippie May 24, 2010 at 11:21 PM #

    Yaaaaaaaaay! Leave out the cheese, and it’s vegan-friendly, too. 🙂

  3. Gracie May 25, 2010 at 10:25 AM #

    I go through phases where I want it all the time and then phases when I completely forget this vegetable exists! (As long as the phases coincide conveniently with in season/out of season prices, I’m OK.) 🙂

  4. Sharon Chisholm June 11, 2010 at 10:01 AM #

    I think real butter would be better than oil in the spaghetti squash. Yum!

  5. Gracie June 11, 2010 at 10:24 AM #

    It’s a matter of taste–I’m a weirdo in that I don’t particularly care for buttered noodles at all. So I just use oil on regular noodles, too. But I’m sure buttered-noodle-lovers would enjoy some browned butter on their squash. Good call, Sharon. (And welcome to RKP!)

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