Lately I've been on a spaghetti squash kick, and I did a quick search to learn more about this vegetable that's such a recent addition to my repertoire. Spaghetti squash, also called vegetable squash, noodle squash, or -- get this -- squaghetti, is a winter squash low in calories, and high in Vitamin A, potassium, and beta carotene. It has no strong taste of its own, so it pairs well with sauces, spices and more aggressive ingredients that bring their own flavor. You can serve spaghetti squash just as you'd serve spaghetti, and that's what I've done in this recipe. A simple meatless marinara sauce, bumped up with red pepper flakes and tossed with chickpeas and parmesan cheese, makes this as Italian as you're likely to find in any restaurant. All that's missing are the pasta carbs and calories.
Spaghetti squash with spicy tomato sauce and chickpeas
I cooked my spaghetti squash in this Cuisinart 6-quart electric pressure cooker. If you have another type of cooker, you might need to adjust the cook time. Serves 6.
1 spaghetti squash, approximately 2 lbs
1-1/2 cups marinara sauce, storebought or homemade
2 15-oz cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 tsp mild red pepper flakes, or more to taste
3/4 cup shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, optional (omit for vegan)
1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Fresh black pepper, to taste
Cook the spaghetti squash in a pressure cooker (fast) or the oven (not quite as fast).
Pressure cooker method: Trim off the stem end of the squash, and cut the squash in half lengthwise. With a spoon, scoop out the seeds and stringy bits. Place the two halves in the pressure cooker and add 1 cup of water. Cook on High Pressure for 8 minutes, and use the Quick Release method to release pressure (follow the instructions that came with your pressure cooker). When the pressure valve drops, open the lid. Use tongs to remove the squash halves to a platter. Then, use a fork to scrape the "spaghetti" out of the skin into a large serving bowl.
Oven roasting method: Preheat the oven to 375°F. Cut the squash in half lengthwise, and scoop out the seeds. Place the two halves cut side up on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle each half with extra virgin olive oil. Bake for 45 minutes, or until the squash is tender when pierced with a knife. Remove from the oven; then, use a fork to scrape the "spaghetti" out of the skin into a large serving bowl.
In a sauce pan over medium heat, combine the marinara sauce, chickpeas and red pepper flakes. Heat for 5 minutes, until the sauce begins to simmer and the chickpeas are warmed through. Pour the sauce over the spaghetti squash, and top with shredded cheese (optional), parsley and black pepper to taste.
More ways to serve spaghetti squash:
Chicken and spaghetti squash casserole with bell peppers, olives, and cheese
Spaghetti squash with cashew basil pesto and white beans
Other recipes that use these pantry ingredients:
Sausage and kale skillet, from Budget Bytes
Zucchini pasta with chickpeas and fresh basil, from With Style and Grace
Marinara simmered chickpeas with feta, from Not Lazy. Rustic.
Spaghetti squash primavera, from Skinnytaste
Spaghetti squash and meatballs, from Iowa Girl Eats
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