Spaghetti squash—what a neat vegetable! It’s low in calories, easy to make, and a nice alternative to pasta. And, if you’re like me, that whole low-in-calories thing means you can justify covering it in something like homemade alfredo sauce. The first time I had spaghetti squash, it was prepared this way, and that’s how I’ve made it ever since.
Note: although not included in my recipe below, I highly recommend using shrimp in this dish. (I meant to do so, and then smacked myself in the head when I got home from the grocery store and realized I had forgotten it.) I use around 1 lb. of 31–40 count shrimp. I also like to add mushrooms and avocado, but I don’t recommend doing so if you’re going to have leftovers, as they won’t keep very well.
Spaghetti Squash with Homemade Alfredo
- one 3 1/2–4 lb. spaghetti squash
- 6 large carrots, peeled and sliced width-wise
- 2 large broccoli crowns, cut into spears
- 4 large garlic cloves
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- homemade alfredo sauce (recipe below)
Preheat your oven to 400°. And now for my favorite part: stabbing! With a sharp knife, stab a bunch of holes on all sides of the squash. Place in the oven and bake for around 40 minutes, flipping once half-way through.
While the squash is baking, heat oil in a skillet and saute garlic for 1 minute. Add carrots, cook for 4 minutes, then broccoli and cook for another 8 minutes, or until carrots have softened. Remove from heat and set aside.
When the squash is ready, remove it from the oven and let it cool for 10–15 minutes. (I use this time to prepare the alfredo.) Cut off ends and slice open lengthwise. Be careful! Even though you’ve let it cool, that thing is still h-o-t on the inside, and there’s plenty of steam just waiting to escape. I gave my right hand a proper steam-burning a few years ago while lifting a cookie sheet off a pan of simmering curry. (What? I didn’t have a top big enough to fit.) You do not want a steam burn—take my word for it. Remove the seeds and discard (or set aside, if you’d like to roast them later). Using a fork, begin scraping the squash away from the sides.
Scrape with caution. I go nuts trying to get every last bit of squash meat out, and have accidentally incorporated chunks of the outer skin into the strands. Yuck. Empty squash into a large bowl and mix in your sauteed vegetables. Cover with alfredo and serve.
Homemade Alfredo Sauce
(I can’t recall where I found this recipe originally, but I have tweaked it over the years.)
- 1/4 cup of butter (1/2 stick)
- 1 cup of half & half or heavy cream
- 1 1/3 cups of freshly-grated parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup of fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley, chopped
- a few pinches of nutmeg
Notes: I did not use garlic in the sauce as there was already garlic in the spaghetti squash dish. If there was not, I would have crushed 2 cloves of garlic and added them with the cheese. Also, while I will be lazy from time to time and use whatever cream and butter I happen to have lying around, using the fancy organic kinds will make your sauce that much more amazing. But if there’s one ingredient you definitely don’t want to cut corners on, it’s the cheese. Get yourself a nice big chunk of quality parmesan. I recommend grating it through one of the finer slots, as it blends better when it’s more powder-like. You can also find fresh, finely-grated parm in the cheese section of most co-ops/organic food stores. Please do not use that pasta-aisle, cheese + potassium sorbate & anti-caking agents stuff!
Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add half & half/cream and allow it to simmer for a few minutes. Add cheese and whisk until sauce thickens. Stir in nutmeg and parsley. That’s it!