I’m not going to lie to you. For those of us who love pasta, who would never consider a diet that didn’t allow us our carbohydrate fix, spaghetti squash is a poor substitute. While enjoying this pasta-inspired spaghetti squash dish, you’ll never entirely forget that you’re eating a vegetable rather than those delectable strands of semolina. There’s a slight crunch and a wateriness that you just don’t get with the real thing.
But that doesn’t mean you should overlook spaghetti squash. It lacks the sweet creaminess of butternut and the nuttiness of acorn, but spaghetti squash is a cinch to make and shredding it into strands with a fork can even be kind of fun. In this case, all it took was a quick microwaving, shredding, and tossing to put together a healthy dish chock full of nutrients and low in calories. Would I rather have a big bowl of capellini? Probably. But instead of looking at this as a pasta substitute, think of it as an alternative for those days when you just want something light and nutritious.
a 3-pound spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise, reserving one half for another use, and the seeds discarded
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup shredded fresh basil leaves plus additional for garnish
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan
1 cup thinly sliced cherry tomatoes
1. In a glass baking dish arrange the squash half, cut side down, pour 1/4 cup water around it, and cover the dish tightly with microwave-safe plastic wrap. Microwave the squash at high power (100%) for 12 minutes, or until it is soft when pressed, and let it stand, covered, for 3 minutes.
2. In a large bowl whisk together the oil, 1/4 cup of the basil, the oregano, and 2 tablespoons of the Parmesan, stir in the tomatoes, and season the mixture with salt and pepper. While the squash is still warm scrape it with a fork to form strands, add the strands to the tomato mixture, and toss the mixture until it is combined. Divide the mixture between 2 bowls, sprinkle the remaining 1 tablespoon Parmesan over it, and garnish it with the additional basil.