The Freelancer’s Cookbook: Spaghetti Squash a la Busiek

This dish, Ann worked up when I was having extreme digestive problems — I couldn’t eat starches, dairy, onions or garlic without great pain, and raw vegetables were rough on me, too, so mostly I was eating tender meats and soft-cooked vegetables. Having burgers, steaks and sauteed spinach sounds pretty good at first, but anything can get tiring after a while, so we looked for ways to vary it up.

Switching out beef for chicken, duck and lamb was one way. And having spaghetti squash as a side dish was another. Originally, we tried it as a substitute for pasta (back before we found out I couldn’t tolerate tomato, either), but spaghetti squash in pasta sauce is an unconvincing pasta substitute. It’s a fine substitute for rice or potatoes, though — it doesn’t seem like you’re trying to fool anyone, so you can just enjoy the squash for what it is.

And it makes a very tasty stir-fry, too.

SPAGHETTI SQUASH A LA BUSIEK

Great for and with leftovers. (Doesn’t hold up to freezing as well. We tried)

Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees (you can heat it up to 375 but you will need to watch a little more closely).

Take a whole spaghetti squash and slice lengthwise. The skin is tough when fresh. You can zap it in the microwave for one minute or two, and cutting becomes a little easier. The larger the gourd the tougher the skin.

Scoop out out the seeds and string from inside (very like a pumpkin at Halloween). Place both halves in an over safe pan or dish, cut side up. Drizzle with a generous amount of olive oil. Season with salt and ground black pepper.

Place in the oven. The squash is done when the inside is tender and the tops begin to get a little golden on the edges. This will take about 45 minutes to one hour.

Take a fork and scrape the insides out into a bowl. The insides will now come out looking like noodles, hence the name. If the insides are still hard, it will need to cook a little longer. You may add some butter if you wish, or a little more olive oil if it’s a little dry.

Ready to serve as a side dish. Holds well in the fridge in a sealed container for several days.

To reheat, warm in the microwave, partly covered, for a couple minutes (more or less depending on the amount). For the stove top, get a sauté pan, drizzle in some olive oil (canola is ok but doesn’t add anything to the flavor) and stir fry until hot, alone or with your favorite leftover meat (beef or lamb is our favorite combo)

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