‘Fess up. There are ingredients out there that you avoid like the plague. They’re just not in your repertoire, and you’re cool with that.
Not just ingredients, but recipes, too. How many Top Cheftestants have gotten raked over the coals for risotto? I know better than to mess with it myself.
Still, wanting to expand my horizons, I decided to challenge myself. I’d take an ingredient that always scared me, and make it my bitch. For Round 1, I chose spaghetti squash. I put war paint on my cheeks and “Eye of the Tiger” on full blast – until I realized this is a pretty common ingredient, and I’m not Rambo.
But for those of you who also happen to be intimidated by spaghetti squash, here’s a step-by-step guide to demystify this sucker.
Step 1: Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F. Cut the squash in half. (Be careful, it’s tougher than it looks.)
Step 2: Scoop out the seeds and the soft center. This isn’t the actual “spaghetti” like I thought – you scrape that out after the squash has cooked. Once the squash is cleaned, season it with salt, pepper, a little olive oil and some garlic.
Step 3: Line a baking sheet with foil. Place the two halves face down on the foil, and roast in the oven for about 40 minutes.
Step 4: Once your squash has browned a bit and softened up, take it out and let it cool. Take a fork and scrape each half from the top down. You’ll get a lot of “noodles” out of each side! Each half yields about an average-sized bowl of spaghetti squash.
Step 5: You can top your “spaghetti” with your favorite pasta sauce or pesto, or enjoy it straight up. I added some Earth Balance Original Buttery Spread, some fresh ground pepper and a dash of red pepper flakes. Then I put it in this sweet little artichoke-shaped bowl so you would think I was fancy. (Did it work?)
I dug in with my 15-month-old. He couldn’t tell the difference, bless his heart. But I’ve seen him eat mulch, a grape that rolled under the fridge more than a year ago, and (almost) cat poop.
My take? There is a squash taste somewhere in there, but it’s pretty subtle. Good stuff, made better because I knew I was skipping the carbs, and nobody told me to “please pack my knives and go.”
What ingredient or recipe will you dominate, you beast you?