Thursday, March 31, 2011

GTL Thursday: On top of spaghetti...all covered with cheese

I'm an Italian who doesn't eat pasta.

I have early stages of type 2 diabetes. Wah wahhhhh.

While I don't have to shoot up or test my levels every day, I do have to avoid sugar and carbs. When I cheat, I experience awesome sugar highs. When I'm not snacking regularly, I get looow (3-6-9, damn you fine). I can't really drink more than one glass of wine in a sitting without getting giddy, and I can't eat a few forkfuls of pasta without gaining 3 lbs on the spot. Basically, sugar is my kryptonite.

I mean, don't get me wrong, I love love love pasta. But, like so many of my failed relationshps, pasta doesn't love me back. Or maybe, just maybe, it DOES love me back. Too much. And thats why it sticks to my thighs and hips and cheek bones. The more I talk about, the more I realize that me and Pasta have a bad romance...kinda like Ronnie and Sammi Sweetheart...but I digress...

On Sundays, the whole Festino family is feasting on gravy smothered linguini...and I'm limited to meatballs. I sit there. Watching them twirl the languid noodles around their forks.

It is mocking me, this pasta.

And so I become Miss Pissy because all I want is a bowl of the starchy-white-deliciousness of the fresh fusili.

I miss it. Everyday. This is no blogger's hyperbole. I literally ache for a bowl of spaghetti carbonara.

Don't worry. This is not a pity-party masquerading as a GTL post. I actually have some wonderful news for the Guidos out there who don't want the carbs of pasta to counteract and nullify their hard work at the gym.

Tonight, I had a bowl of spaghetti bolognese. And I don't feel sick or guilty or like a passenger on the Good Ship Lollipop. I feel awesome. Perche? Because it was spaghetti squash.

Yea. I know. I didn't believe the hype either. Pasta from a squash? Ewwwww. Thanks-but-no-thanks. I've ignored it for years.

But then, during one Sunday dinner last month my cousin Maria made it for me and I took a bite...with some hesitation...and BAM. Santa Cleopatra! I realized what I had been missing!

The guts of this large vegetable look like spaghetti. The texture, when cooked properly, isn't too different either. And best of all, it tastes like it too. That is, it tastes like nothing...just like the chewy al dente heaven of real spaghetti.

Don't take from me. Try it yourself. Here's what you need to know:

Choose a firm spaghetti squash with no bruises. A four-pound squash will have a yield of about four cups.

Everything I've read says you should scrub the squash very well--even though you don't eat the rind.

To prevent the squash from breaking open during baking, pierce it all over with a skewer. This is especially important if you are microwaving it.

To bake in the oven: Preheat the oven at 375ºF. Halve or quarter the squash, clean out the pulp and place the pieces in a shallow baking pan, rind side up, and bake for 40 minutes or more, depending on the size. Test for doneness with a fork. I've read that you can also bake it whole, but it takes longer.

Sidenote: Do not throw the seeds away. They are good roasted. Simply toss in a little bit of olive oil (not greasy), sprinkle with some sea salt, and bake for about twenty minutes to one hour at 250ºF, depending on quantity. Serve warm.

To microwave: Place in a microwave dish, cut sides up, with about a quarter cup of water. Cover and set the timer for about eight to twelve minutes, depending on the size. Test for doneness with a fork. Let stand for a few minutes before taking the squash out.

To boil: Place the squash in boiling water and let boil for about twenty minutes or so, depending on the size. Test for doneness with a fork.

As soon as sufficiently cool, scrape a kitchen fork over the soft side of the squash and give birth to your faux spaghetti strands. It is that easy!

Serve alone or as a side dish. I recommend covering it in homemade gravy or bolongese and some romano I did here:

Doesn't it look JUST LIKE SPAGHETTI??

Thoughts? Have you ever tried spaghetti squash? Does it just freak you out? Do you have other pasta alternatives worth trying?


  1. it makes a great carbonara, too, Danielle!!

  2. Love your style. Who knew you could make such interesting blogs about spaghetti squash!! I have never tried boiling it and usually use the microwave. Glad you enjoy it.
    Cousin Maria

  3. This looks delicious, thanks for the how to's Danielle! I have had spaghetti squash before, it's delicious. I'm a fan of anything that is low carb. I don't get into pasta much, but I miss bread...and cake...cookies...

    What were we talking about?

    Have you tried cinnamon supplements (and adding cinnamon to everything you eat and drink) and salacia to help with your blood sugar? {My Dad is a Type 2 diabetic, mom's a nurse and I love to research}

  4. Danielle,
    As you know I am aware of nutrition. I've been playing around with spaghetti squash for a few yrs. I actually read something today about baking it with some water (about 1inch) so that it steams itself.Sometimes I am baking it forever so this was a great tip- Lauren J