Spaghetti Squash & Marinara al fresca
-1 large spaghetti squash, halved (butcher knife works well)
-small amount water
-2 Tbs. butter
-1/2 onion, slivered
-2 zucchini, chopped
-3-4 tsp garlic powder, divided
-2 tsp dried oregano
-2 cans diced tomato, drained
-2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
-salt (to taste)
-2 Tbs. oil (any variety)
-1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (plus more for topping marinara if desired)
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.
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.
(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).
Saute vegetables in butter just until zucchini barely begins to soften, then add 2 drained cans diced tomatoes to the 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).
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.
(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. Serve immediately.