Last winter was the first time I can remember ever eating Spaghetti squash. Mom and Dad both said they didn’t like it which is probably why I don’t have any memories of eating it. I’ve heard a lot of people claim that it tastes just like spaghetti. But I disagree. It’s a healthy and delicious alternative and it mimics spaghetti strands. But that’s as far as the similarities go. What it lacks is taste. What it has is texture. When cooked to ‘al dente’ it is firmer than spaghetti and kind of ‘pops’ between your teeth. What this also means is if you want your family to eat it you have to really jazz it up with flavors they like in order to give it universal appeal.
This is a really simple and quick sauce that is just bursting with the flavors of sunshine. Sauteed garlic and lemon peel are combined with olive oil, fresh lemon juice, a bit of butter, and fresh, peppery basil to make a bright and zesty sauce. A generous amount of Ricotta is spooned over the top – the icing on the cake and the key to really putting this over the top. I promise your family will eat their veggies and love them! Now that I’ve discovered spaghetti squash I can’t imagine not eating it on a steady basis when it’s in season. It makes the perfect side dish for just about any kind of meat, although I could eat it all on its own and be satisfied. As for Mom and Dad? They like it now!
This is truly one of nature’s wonders. A squash that starts it’s life looking like any other squash on the block but with a secret. I wonder which came first? Spaghetti squash, the vegetable, or spaghetti noodles, the grain?
Spaghetti Squash w/ Lemon Garlic Sauce & Ricotta
1 Spaghetti Squash, about 4 pounds
4 cloves Garlic, minced
1/3 cup Olive Oil
1 teaspoon Lemon Peel
1/3 cup Lemon Juice
Sea Salt and Fresh Pepper
2 tablespoons Butter
2 tablespoons Fresh Basil, chopped
1 cup Ricotta Cheese
Parmesan, fresh grated for serving
Preheat oven to 375.
Slice the squash in half lengthwise. Place cut side down in a baking dish. Fill with water about 1/2 way up the side of the squash. Roast for about 45 minutes to an hour or until squash is tender. Check by poking it with a fork. Set aside and let cool for 5-10 minutes.
While the squash is cooling make the sauce. Saute the garlic in a tablespoon of olive oil over low heat until tender and fragrant. Add the lemon peel and saute for a minute or two. Add olive oil, lemon juice and season generously with salt and pepper. Whisk and bring to a simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Add butter and bring back up to a simmer. Remove from heat. Whisk in basil. Taste and re-season if needed.
Use a spoon to scrape the seeds from the squash. Pull a fork through the squash lengthwise to shred the squash into strands. Leave the strands right in the squash as a serving vessel or remove to a large serving bowl.
Pour the lemon sauce evenly over the squash. Dollop the top with Ricotta. Serve with fresh Parmesan.
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