It Shouldn’t Be This Difficult

by Lisa on Tuesday: Feb 26, 2013
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When the beginning of the year hit, and I decided to get moving on a healthier lifestyle, one of the things I resolved to try was spaghetti squash. I LOVE pasta and this always sounded like such a delicious and easy (and not to mention super healthy) meal when I saw other bloggers posting about it. Problem was, my local supermarket didn’t seem to have any available! They had butternut squash and that was the end of that. A quick google search on my phone at the store told me that while you could substitute spaghetti squash for butternut, the reverse was not true. And thus my plans were thwarted for the time being.

Then, lo and behold, last week on my shopping trip I spotted a few! Two and a half to be exact (yes, they were selling one half), so I grabbed one of the whole ones and was on my way.

Last night was the big night. I had some free time and the ambition to cook something new, so I dragged the monster squash out of the fridge and looked up some cooking methods.

squash_recipe_fridge

All the ones I found were like the one above, except some called for cooking it whole while others said to cut it in half. I had decided that I’d be using the microwave technique to cut down on the amount of time it would take, and I wanted to cook one half at a time due to the size of this thing.

Attempt #1

whole_squash

I took out the biggest knife in the kitchen and began hacking away… and nothing happened. This thing was hard as a rock and NOTHING was getting through. I called in D and he had a go at it – still no luck. At that point, I decided to move on to plan B: putting the whole thing in the microwave in the hopes that it would soften up.

Attempt #2

The instructions I had seen online for cooking it whole and in the microwave said to do about 9 minutes, so that’s what i put it in there for. After the 9 minutes passed, I took the squash back out and it was still rock hard. I figured it should at least be a little easier to cut in half now, so away we went one more time. Yet again, I wasn’t able to make any progress. D came back in for round 2 and hacked at that thing like you wouldn’t believe! I was afraid he was going to cut his arm off, but somehow, miraculously, he got the squash cut in half!

Attempt #3

Of course, since the squash was still rock hard, it was not ready to be made into spaghetti, so I went back and tried plan A again: cooking it in halves in the microwave. This time I put a little oil on the open sides of the halves, covered one of them loosely with a paper towel and threw it back in the microwave for 4 minutes. At the end of the 4 minutes, some crazy sizzling noises started coming from the microwave, and yet STILL there was no progress in getting this squash any softer.

Attempt #4
At this point, there was only one thing left to try and that was the oven. Another quick google search told me that I should roast the halves for 45 – 50 minutes at 375. It’s a good thing I had no other obligations that night! So I threw them in the oven and crossed my fingers.

squash_before_oven

I’m happy to say that attempt #4 did the trick! After 50 minutes, the squash was nice and soft and easily shredded into spaghetti-like pieces. I now have enough spaghetti squash in the fridge to last me for many, many more meals and I’m also happy to say that the result was worth it. I paired it with one of my go-to spaghetti sauces (lots of garlic, an onion, crushed tomatoes and spices) and it was a delicious and satisfying meal.

I have to say, this was not the most graceful or elegant meal that has ever been attempted in my kitchen (and that’s saying a lot because I’m VERY messy when I cook). We have a tiny kitchen and after all those attempts at getting this thing tamed, there were pieces of squash, seeds and other mess ALL over the place. Quite a cleanup effort!

It’s possible the squash wasn’t ripe enough when I started, or that it was just so large and oversized that all the microwave time estimations wouldn’t touch it. Either way, it was an adventure and at least I ended up with a good meal out of the deal!

shredded_squash
(The leftovers)

Have you ever made a spaghetti squash? Is it just me, or are those things impossible to break into??

11 Responses to “It Shouldn’t Be This Difficult”

  1. yes my husband likes this squash but i’m not much of a fan. and it is a pain to hack into, although yours looks abnormally large.

    • Lisa says:

      For a while I was wondering if we’d be able to hack into it at all, but luckily it worked out. I wasn’t sure if I’d like it as spaghetti, but it actually turned out better than I expected!

  2. Louise Maine says:

    Love spaghetti squash. They are all hard. I use a short blade, sturdy handle knife and gain an entry point and use it to wedge open a bigger crack to move through. Once a very hard one I had to drop on the pavement outside to get a good crack to work with. So worth it though.

  3. Yep, all winter squash can be difficult and time consuming but a very nutritious and versatile thing. I thing I need to go get one!

  4. I have never eaten squash before, always claiming I don’t like it, so I have never eaten spaghetti squash before but I’ve seen it around the blog world a lot. Whenever I read about it I always hear that it is hard to cut in half. Guess you get a workout in while cooking?

  5. hmm I love doing mine in the microwave, did you put a little water in each side?

    • Lisa says:

      Actually, I didn’t do that step – maybe that’s where I went wrong! I was going to attempt it, but then I couldn’t find a container big enough to put the squash in that would also fit inside the microwave, and that I was sure was microwave safe. I bet that would have helped soften it up quicker.

  6. Meagan says:

    I’m not a fan of the taste of squash (and never have been) so I don’t think this is one I’ll be trying. However, at my meeting today two coworkers were talking about eggplant spaghetti. Ironic that this was the first I’d ever heard of that, and I pop over to your blog today and see squash spaghetti! Apparently I live under a rock 🙂

  7. Amy says:

    I LOVE spaghetti squash (squash in general actually), but I’m terrified to attempt to prepare it. The horror stories of chopping off limbs and fingers and exploding squash have scared me away. Your success story is inspiring though, so maybe I’ll give it a shot!

  8. Caroline says:

    I’ve had this once and didn’t think it was too bad, it was only a small sample though when I was younger. But now I really want to try it again because since I learned more about being healthy, spaghetti squash is all the rage! lol. And I do like pasta, I just haven’t gotten to cooking it! Unlike you I can’t imagine having such patience with food!

    link to curlycaroline.wordpress.com

    • Lisa says:

      I’ve become a big spaghetti squash eater over the years. You should give it another try! Plus, once I cook up a whole squash, I find I have leftovers for days (those things can be big!). Then I get to have leftovers for a few days, which means less cooking 🙂

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