Summer may be a while away, but here in Charlotte’s kitchen, the season of sun is already here. One of my favorite light summer dishes is spaghetti squash with basil plucked straight from the garden.
Join me now for a delectable summer recipe, even if the snowy winter clouds are still out.
Before proceeding to the recipe, I must admit that I felt rather dumb when, years ago, I finally found out what spaghetti squash was. You see, I had thought it was simply yellow squash that had been meticulously shaved into strands.
Apparently, though, the spaghetti squash is its own exquisite variety of gourd. Who knew? Well, many people knew … just not I.
This brilliant vegetable is inexpensive and can easily be found in most grocers. It is also packed with nutrients such as folic acid, potassium, vitamin A, and beta carotene.
…Oh, and it’s delish!
We’ll start by slicing it in half, lengthwise. Unlike many other large gourds, such as acorn squash or butternut squash, the spaghetti squash is actually quite easy to slice.
Simply slice, and brush lightly with EVOO. Sprinkle with salt and pepper if you like.
We’ll leave our halved squash in the oven at 425F for about 45 minutes, or until the top is turning golden brown.
Next we’ll warm up some EVOO in a pan on medium heat. Time now to chop some fresh garlic (the more the better!!!) and lemon. Salt and pepper are, as usual, our best friends.
We’ll mince the garlic into large chunks by hand and toss it into the pan. Next we’ll squeeze in half a lemon’s worth of juice.
While that’s simmering in the pan, we’ll carefully scoop out the seeds from our squash, and dig out the strands of “pasta.”
Next we’ll toss our spaghetti squash into the pan. Let it sizzle along with the chunks of garlic and lemon juice, turning occasionally. Salt and pepper as desired.
Now comes my favorite herb of all time: BASIL. I flipping love this stuff. Once Dear Betrothed and I are in the new house, I want to plant a basil plant out back. For now, I’ve got a plant in my studio. An indoor urban garden, if you will.
Next we’ll snip off a few leaves from the top of the plant — washing them, of course — and toss them in the pan.
Stir around for a few more minutes, lowering the heat. We’ll remove our delicious dinner from the pan, salt and pepper it to taste, and top it with some fresh mozzarella.
And there we have it, a yummy, summery, healthy and light Italian-inspired “pasta” dish!
- 1 spaghetti squash, cut in half lengthwise
- 2 cloves fresh garlic, chopped
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- 5-8 fresh basil leaves, rinsed
- 1 ounce fresh mozzarella
- 2 tbsp EVOO, divided
- salt + pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 425 Fahrenheit. Baste squash halves with 1 tablespoon EVOO, and sprinkle with salt and pepper if desired. Bake for 45 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes before handling.
Heat remaining tablespoon of EVOO in a pan over medium heat. Once oil begins to smoke, add chopped garlic and stir. Squeeze the lemon juice in and continue to stir.
While the garlic browns, scoop out the squash strands and add to pan. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. Stir frequently, allowing lemon juice to evaporate.
Add whole basil leaves. Stir over medium heat for an additional 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat, and top with 1 ounce fresh mozzarella, sliced into small cubes.